The Importance of Social Gatekeepers

03.03.16 | By Rachael Datz —

If you’ve worked as a social community manager, you’ve probably been faced with the challenge of trying to explain (in 30 seconds or less) what exactly it is that you do. Whether it’s at your most recent family gathering, your best friend’s wedding, or — more importantly — in front of your boss and senior leadership team, you should be armed with a down-and-dirty list for any situation. The next time someone says, “Don’t you just sit and Tweet all day?” — you’ll be ready.

We’re Always Protecting The Brand

As we’ve seen day in and day out, a good community manager (an actual human, not a robot) is essential to ensuring that your brand is safe and secure on social media. Gut-wrenching social faux pas can be avoided with a strong community manager whose first priority is ensuring that each and every brand message is accurate, cross-checked and fully proofed. Without a community manager, you can end up looking pretty foolish on social media. Technology hasn’t advanced enough where automated responses are able to account for sentiment, so you still need a real person involved to maintain brand voice and authenticity.

maytag_man

We’re Always Monitoring

As community managers, we’re the first to know what people are saying about your brand and how your content is resonating with key audiences. Unlike traditional TV or other forms of marketing, social media allows brands to gauge consumer interest, satisfaction or trends almost immediately. A community manager can monitor and package those insights to help a brand quickly build on a successful campaign, while similarly pivoting away from a less successful campaign — ultimately saving a brand significant money, time and energy.

We’re Always Interacting

With the advent of social media, consumers are able to connect directly with brands at any time of day and from any location. Consumers now expect to hear back from brands within a matter of minutes — and are finding new ways to connect across all social platforms. Community managers are tasked with forging that valuable personal connection with each and every consumer, finding the right voice, tone and answer for anything thrown our way. While a positive interaction can go a long way, an equally negative response can drive key consumers away. In a recent Social Times report, “47 percent of respondents move their business to another company within a day of poor customer service.” Community managers are essential to ensuring that consumers walk away from a social exchange feeling good about your brand.

We’re Always Building Our Network

peer_to_peer_diagram

With a keen eye to the top consumers on social, community managers can help a brand identify its top, authentic brand ambassadors. This has becoming increasingly important, as more than 77% of consumers are more likely to purchase via peer-to-peer recommendation. Messaging that comes from an influential consumer is more authentic, carries more weight and is more likely to make an impact. Community managers can effectively equip and encourage your best ambassadors to spread the brand love far and wide by forging personal connections, sustaining the relationship and rewarding the positive engagements with small gifts. This work ultimately provides a brand with a veritable army of brand ambassadors — all of whom can more effectively spread a message to the larger social community.

We’re Always Curating Content

With the rise of user-generated-content leading to the increasingly coined “people’s internet,” it’s more important than ever to have a community manager identifying and utilizing the content being produced by a brand’s consumers. Brands like Whirlpool and Miller Lite rely on user-generated-content to help fuel their social channels with authentic, relatable brand images. This content is also successfully repurposed in TV and offline ads, lending much-needed authenticity to an entire brand campaign. Community managers are at the forefront of this process, going through the painstaking (but highly-important) process of reaching out for content rights, gaining permission and ultimately leveraging content into something that looks and feels right for a brand.

We’re Always Striving for Relevance

On top of everything else, community managers are always one step ahead of their team. They’re scouring the internet — sifting through all of the junk — to surface the most important trends, pop-culture moments and other newsworthy nuggets. Community managers are consolidating this information into digestible opportunities — whether it’s an innovative product for the media team, a competitive insight for the account team or a trending topic for the creative team. Community managers are constantly interneting… so you don’t have to.

The Bottom Line?

Community managers need to be an inherent part of the strategy and scoping for any digital brand. They are the gatekeepers to your consumer — and have an essential POV and window into your marketing strategies and insights. At the very least — find your community manager. Talk to them. Ask them questions. I guarantee you will be impressed.

Rachael Datz is Associate Director, Social Strategy, DigitasLBi Chicago