Social Media Manager vs Community Manager – What’s the Difference?

Have you ever searched for a position in social media marketing and gotten confused by the different job profiles? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who has been confused by the various, similar-sounding, social media profiles out there.

Two such roles that most people confuse and consider as the same are that of a social media manager (SMM) and a community manager. And, even if you’re not looking for a job, but want to know what jobs to post, you should know the difference.

After all, every business with any sort of social media presence needs a social media manager, but not necessarily a community manager.

In this post, we will detail the key roles and responsibilities of both and how these differ from each other. 


Social Media Managers vs Community Managers - Job Roles

Before we get into the details of how these profiles differ, it is important to understand each job role in detail. In this section, we will discuss the job definition and responsibilities of both social media managers and community managers. We will then move on to the key differences between both positions.

What is the Role of Social Media Managers?

Social media managers are the people who manage all of the social media initiatives of a company. From formulating a social media strategy to overseeing all social media activity for the company, they do it all.

These managers are the ones who are responsible for creating a brand voice and personality and ensuring that it remains consistent. If you see that a brand’s social content looks consistent across various channels, know that there’s a social media manager ensuring that.

A social media manager posts on behalf of the brand and represents the brand’s voice in all social media interactions. They don’t promote the brand, they are the brand.

Job Responsibilities

Their day-to-day job responsibilities may include:

  • Creating, scheduling, and posting content on the brand’s social media accounts.
  • Social media listening to understand brand sentiment.
  • Strengthening the brand’s social media presence and establishing it as an authority in its niche.
  • Identifying and networking with other influential people and brands in their niche.
  • Generating leads from social media and driving them down the sales funnel.

Of course, social media managers do not perform all of these functions themselves. In fact, they have an entire team of social media executives to create, manage, and post all of the social media content. 

They are, however, involved in all aspects of a brand’s social media initiatives and oversee the entire process end-to-end.

What is the Role of Community Managers?

The role of community managers is to promote a brand on social media and ensure that their content gets good engagement. They connect with potential and existing customers, join conversations, and try to form a positive brand image for the brand they are promoting.

Oftentimes these managers are involved in building specific social media communities for a brand like Facebook Groups. So, the role is not very broad and pertains only to community management.

Community managers speak as individuals advocating a brand but do not speak on behalf of the brand itself.

They have their own social media identity and voice and don’t have to follow the brand voice. And, they also interact with other users like any other individual user using their own personal accounts. They often target people who don’t yet know a brand and try to make them a part of the brand’s community.

Given that these managers need to interact with consumers on a daily basis, they should have strong communication and networking skills.

Job Responsibilities

Some key job responsibilities include:

  • Adding and removing members from the brand’s community.
  • Moderating the community content for the brand.
  • Interacting with users and understanding their challenges.
  • Solving queries of community members and providing support.
  • Conducting brand events for community members.
  • Gathering customer feedback for the brand.
  • Formulating and maintaining community policies and guidelines.
  • Moderating the user interactions within the community.

Key Differences

  • Social media managers post as the brand while community managers post as individuals.
  • Social media managers need to maintain the brand’s tone of voice while community managers have their own individual voice.
  • The former is a much broader profile and community managers also fall under their purview.
  • Social media managers oversee the overall social strategy of a brand while community managers need to actually talk to prospects.
  • Community managers are more like members of the community, while social media managers look from the outside in as they represent the brand.
  • Social media managers’ jobs revolve around content while the latter’s revolves around social interactions.
  • Community managers focus more on people who don’t know your brand well while social media managers aim to engage your current audience while.

Social Media Managers vs Community Managers - KPIs for Success

Just like the role and responsibilities of social media managers and community managers differ, so do the parameters to measure success. In this section, we will discuss the KPIs to measure the success for each of the two roles.

KPIs for Social Media Managers

Here are some of the key parameters on which the performance of a social media manager can be judged.

  • Followers - an increase in the number of followers can be attributed directly to the efforts made by an SMM to increase the brand’s reach.
  • Engagement - an increase in the number of likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc. per post can show an increase in engagement rate.
  • Social traffic - the amount of traffic directed from social media channels to the website also speaks volumes about the success of SMMs.
  • Online reputation - this can be measured by analysing the brand sentiment using social media listening tools.

This is not an exhaustive list and may vary depending on the specific job responsibilities of a social media manager.

Overall, a social media manager’s success or failure depends on how strong a brand’s social media presence is and how many leads are being generated from there. 

KPIs for Community Managers

Here are some of the key parameters on which the performance of a community manager can be judged.

  • New community members - the addition of new members to a community is one of the key measures of success for community managers.
  • Community visitors - these are the people who check out your community, but not necessarily enrol as a member. These represent the prospects who can be targeted to join the community.
  • Active community members - a large number of active community members shows that the community manager is doing their job well.
  • Member contributions - the number of contributions by community members is also a measure of how active your community is.
  • Engagement - this can be measured by the number and frequency of replies and comments on a discussion.

This is not an exhaustive list and may vary depending on the specific job responsibilities of a community manager.

Overall, a community manager’s success or failure depends on how big and active the community is. 


Social Media Managers vs Community Managers - A Day in Life

The entire gist of all the differences between the two types of managers can be summarised by understanding a day in their lives. Both have very specific functions and need to perform different tasks to meet their objectives.

While we have already discussed these differences and responsibilities, but this section just aims to summarise it in an easy-to-grasp manner.

So, let’s have a look at what a day in the life of a social media manager looks as compared with that of a community manager.

Social Media Manager

Here are some of the tasks that a social media manager undertakes on a typical day.

  • Oversee the content scheduling and posting process.
  • Reply to private messages on the brand’s social media accounts.
  • Read relevant online content and post anything shareworthy.
  • Comment on posts, tweets, etc.
  • Monitor social media mentions for their brand.

These are just some of the common tasks performed by a social media manager in a typical workday.

Community Manager

While this may differ from day to day, this is just an example of what a typical day usually looks like for most community managers. 

  • Go through the list of recently-posted content and ensure that it meets community guidelines.
  • Comment on posts or discussions, if needed.
  • Review the posts and drive engagement, if required.
  • Answer messages from community members.
  • Direct people to useful content in the community.
  • Read online content to stay updated on the latest happenings in their niche.
  • Post content.

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for a job or want to hire someone to manage your brand’s social media initiatives, this post can help you. After reading this, we hope that you are now clear about what each role means and what are the responsibilities of each type of manager.

You can use this as your reference guide whenever you have any confusion about how the positions are different.

 

Subscribe to our newsletter and get social media resources send to your inbox.