Community Management and Marketing

Marketing and Social Media Management:

Media management has become a crucial component of a social media campaign, due  to 24/7 access of the internet through mobile devices. Olivier Blanchard suggests that, “a brands image can be severely impacted by a tsunami of conversations resulting from a single event.” Prior to the flux of social media and the unlimited access to the internet “real-time” was slower. An organization could manage their media in cadence with the news cycle, nowadays brand management is around the clock.

 In Olivier Blanchard’s book, Social Media ROI, he offers four main functions for social media community management.

  1. Advocate: A main function of the community manager is to advocate for the brand and to be the first line of contact when members of the community have problems, questions or comments. Community members engage in conversations and discussions about brands on a variety of social media channels. The community manager should also engage in these conversations and become an active participant. As a participant the community manager is able to provide information and prevent harmful actions and discussions associated with the brand.  
  2. Voice: The community manager will also represent the brand within the organization. The “voice” function requires the community manager to be a liaison between the social community and the organization.  The community manager is positioned to provide feedback to the organization on the information they gather while engaged in discussions and conversations with the community. This feedback is invaluable to the organization and according to Blanchard “contributes to the value of the community manger position.”
  3. Mediator: This function will only happen on an as needed basis although important. Blanchard points out that it’s important for the community manager to stay positive and to not get dragged into the negative conversations.
  4. Informer: It’s important for the community manager to not only advocate, provide feedback and mediate but to also to inform. Community managing also requires producing content to inform members of products and services on a continual basis.

Through the management of these functions, marketing can also happen. These functions allow for the community members to develop a relationship with the brand, the organization and with the community manager. That relationship will begin to foster trust among the community and allow for subtle promotions of the product and services. It’s important to remember that  community management is different than marketing  in the way that the community manager listens, engages and then provides feedback to the organization in turn can be used to market products and services in a meaningful way and to gain ROI.

In my local UW-Extension office it would be necessary for all staff to contribute to all functions. In a previous post I suggested that if my office decides to create a social media plan each program area would be responsible for community manager roles. It would be necessary for each program area to advocate, provide feedback, mediate and inform based on their program area and possibly the support staff would take the responsibility of those functions for the county UW-Extension as a unit.