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


Social media managers and community managers – both professional groups are well known to us all. But to what extent do the two job descriptions differ? Two different terms for the same job? Or are the fields of activity very different? We want to give you the answer to these questions in this article.

Definition of Community and Social Media

First, let’s look at how the terms “community” and “social media” are defined in general:


“community, a group of people with a sense of belonging or common interests”

Social Media:

“Social media refers to digital media and technologies that enable users to exchange information with one another and to create media content individually or collectively.”

The fundamental difference quickly becomes clear if we compare the definitions: social media refers to digital media and technologies, while a community describes a social structure between people. But what does that mean? Are social media managers technicians by this definition?

So what do companies need to be successful on the web? Let’s take a look at where the areas of responsibility of these two online marketing professions lie and how they differ.

Community Manager Responsibilities

The Community Manager’s job is to build a relationship with the community created by the company. This includes maintaining and communicating with the people, especially with opinion leaders and key people representing a specific value for the company. It is the personal contact between brand and customer and, thus, an essential connection between them. This makes the brand more approachable and unique for the customer, who can identify with it better. In the best-case scenario, this increases the interaction rate of the community with the company’s contributions. A good society is worth hard cash! On average, keeping an existing customer costs 80% less than acquiring a new customer. However, increasing interaction means there must be rules and guidelines for dealings within the community itself and between the community and the company. These must be communicated and controlled,

Tasks of The Social Media Manager

In contrast to the community manager, the main task of the social media manager is to develop the social media strategy and bring it into line with the overarching corporate strategy. It is essential to coordinate with other internal departments to achieve long-term success through the overall process. For the social media strategy, it is necessary that the social media manager weighs the effectiveness of the social media activities and whether it offers the company real added value about the costs. If the answer here is yes, it is time to implement the strategy. This includes content creation, content management and distributing the content to specific target groups. Constant monitoring is a must here. This includes, among other things, the monitoring and analysis of all activities in the individual channels. As a result, the company’s social media presence is continuously improved and further developed.

Community Manager Requirements

Of course, the two job descriptions also differ in which tools are used in everyday work due to different working methods and requirements.

The community manager is mainly on the go in places where the company has a presence or where customers can be found. This can be public social networks such as Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter, forums or social platforms provided by the company. Examples of such platforms are, for example, Yammer or Jive. Depending on the scope and size of the community, different tools must be used. While the in-house tools can still be used in small communities on a few channels, this can become difficult manually in large communities on many different platforms. Here it makes sense to use third-party solutions that support community management centralized in one place and thereby facilitate.

A community manager must have exceptional skills for his job. Above all, this includes excellent communication skills. He has to be empathetic to be able to put himself in the shoes of different people. This is particularly important when it comes to resolving conflicts between the customer and the company, which tend to take place on an emotional rather than a rational level on the part of the customer. This situation also places specific demands on resolving conflicts satisfactorily and fairly for all parties involved. He must also know the various technical possibilities of the individual tools and learn how to use them effectively. Community managers are strategists, technicians, and psychologists rolled into one.

Requirements For The Social Media Manager

Likewise, the social media manager must deal with and be familiar with all standard tools on the web. However, the main focus here is less on actively supporting and maintaining these tools. Instead, he must decide whether the devices are suitable for effectively implementing the current social media strategy due to their properties and functionality. A basic technical understanding is just as important as the will to deal with new trends, such as new networks. Above all, the social media manager needs solid analytical thinking to interpret and analyze critical figures correctly.


What does the company need now? Community manager or social media manager? Quite simply: ideally both. As we have seen, the professional groups have some points of intersection, but each is an expert in their field. An effective team of both represents the optimal solution.

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