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Difference Between Social Media Manager & Community Manager

Looking for an engaging career in social media? Although social media managers and community managers are often thought to perform the same daily tasks, the goals of each position differ greatly.

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Comparing Social Media Managers to Community Managers

While often discussed interchangeably, the roles of social media managers and online community managers are distinct and separate. Although individuals in both positions engage with people through a company's social media pages, the way in which they interact with these individuals serves separate purposes. Discover the differences between the day-to-day activities and overall purpose of both careers.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Social Media Manager Bachelor's Degree $48,307 9% (for marketing managers)
Community Manager Bachelor's Degree $48,225 9% (for marketing managers)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Social Media Managers vs. Community Managers

Social media managers act as the brand when using a company's social media channels, while community managers often use their real names, yet identify as being part of an organization. Community managers act as brand advocates rather than the brand itself. Additionally, social media managers broadcast messaging to their intended audience (followers or potential followers), whereas community managers encourage and facilitate discussions among community members. Although the daily responsibilities of community managers and social media managers look similar, these managers shape their work to reach separate goals.

Social Media Manager

Have you ever wondered who is posting the fun and clever messages on the social media pages of your favorite brands? Chances are that it is the company's social media manager. This individual posts content as the brand or organization (rather than using his or her real identity), and is cognizant of using tone and messaging that is on-brand. Social media managers also decide what content to post, when to post it, and who to target. Experience and education in marketing and communications is a must. Additional skills that are helpful to have as a social media manager include strong writing skills, the ability to plan social strategy, and project management.

Job responsibilities of a social media manager include:

  • Planning and distributing social media content for an organization's social media channels
  • Responding to messages and comments from followers
  • Tracking the success of social media activities and campaigns
  • Staying up-to-date on the latest trends in social media strategy

Community Manager

If you've ever participated in an online chat for one of your favorite brands or organizations, you've likely interacted with that company's community manager. A community manager often moderates discussions like these using his or her real name. These managers work toward the goal of encouraging a brand's community members to engage with one another. They help move members beyond the content that is posted on social media media channels, and create a meaningful experience. The efforts of community managers help educate current and future customers on various topics, create a place for community members to voice their opinions and feel heard, and build trust in an organization's products and services.

Job responsibilities of a community manager include:

  • Facilitating online chats for community members, with the goal of helping members learn more about the brand
  • Monitoring return on investment, or ROI, of planned community activities
  • Engaging with community members as an advocate for the organization/brand
  • Building trust and establishing a positive image for the brand through all social media activity

Related Careers

If you're looking for a career that requires planning, strong communication skills, and a marketing background, you will also likely be interested in a marketing communications coordinator position. Individuals who enjoy engagement and communication with customers might also be interested in working as a customer support specialist.

Marketing Communications Coordinator: Job Duties, Salary & Career Info

Customer Support Specialist: Job Duties & Career Info

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