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Social Media Strategist Vs. Community Manager

With the many career positions now available in social media, it is crucial to understand the differences between each role. Take a look at the key distinctions between social media strategists and community managers.

Comparing Social Media Strategists to Online Community Managers

Although they are defined properly within organizations, many individuals do not have a clear understanding of the differences between careers in social media. If you are considering a career in social media, you may be unsure of the key differences between available roles. Discover the day-to-day duties of social media strategists and community managers.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Social Media Strategist Bachelor's Degree $53,468 9% (for marketing managers)
Online Community Manager Bachelor's Degree $48,179 9% (for marketing managers)

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

Responsibilities of Social Media Strategists vs. Online Community Managers

While both social media strategists and online community managers spend the majority of their work days on top social media websites, their core duties are quite different. As the job title suggests, social media strategists are responsible for the planning and delivery of an organization's social media strategy. The goal of their activities is to promote the company and boost sales. Online community managers, however, are responsible for managing a brand's existing social media community, often using their real identities (rather than speaking as the brand itself). These managers act as an advocate for the brand, and encourage discussions within the online community. Social media strategists and community managers are responsible for tracking the metrics and success of their efforts.

Social Media Strategist

Have you ever wondered who is behind the online promotions, advertising, and social media posts for your favorite brands? If you've ever interacted with a brand on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media website, you were likely communicating with that company's social media strategist. Social media strategists typically work in medium- to large-sized companies, and have between 1-4 years of experience. These individuals are in charge of developing the social media strategy for all social media platforms used by a business. Successful social media strategists will have education and experience in advertising, social media marketing, writing, and strategic planning.

Job responsibilities of a social media strategist include:

  • Working with managers from other departments to develop social media strategy
  • Retaining existing customers through engagement and special promotions
  • Attracting new customers and sales through advertisements and special promotions
  • Tracking metrics to assess the performance of current social media strategy

Online Community Manager

Love to interact with people on social media while utilizing your knowledge of marketing and communications? Online community managers are brand advocates who get existing customers (the community) talking about various aspects of that brand. They communicate with people on social media channels, moderate online chats, and track the success of these interactions. Rather than directly attracting new customers or boosting sales, community managers build trust and a positive online presence. Online community managers most often have between 1-4 years of related experience, and have a background in writing, public relations, and marketing.

Job responsibilities of an online community manager include:

  • Answering questions from online community members using their real identity
  • Building trust in a brand by providing accurate, timely, and professional communication
  • Working with other company social media team members to ensure consistent communication
  • Tracking and reporting the success of online interactions to other managers and social media team members

Related Careers

If you have strong planning, leadership, and marketing skills, you may also want to consider a career as a marketing manager. If you enjoy the constant public interaction involved with the online community manager role, you may also enjoy a career as an outreach coordinator.

Marketing Manager: Career Info & Requirements

Become an Outreach Coordinator: Education and Career Roadmap

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