By Nick Johnson - February 27th, 2013

The evolving role of the Community Manager, take a longer look at b2c Facebook adoption, and - in a potentially scary development - sound the death knell for the 'Social Media Manager'...

Should your Community Manager get a promotion to Director-level? 

The guys at Ogilvy have posted an interesting piece on the growing importance of the Community Manager to your business.

As social moves from a marketing opportunity to a fundamental tool in defining and executing broader business strategy, the role of the guy responsible for engaging directly with the social community grows.

Nowadays, the role of Community Manager isn't simply about sending out questions, posting photos or getting back to questions over Twitter. The biggest shift in the role is in tracking and analysis. Social data has exploded, and a clever use of said data can give your business meaningful insight into how to update campaigns, products - and even core strategy. The Community Director role has this tracking and analysis at it's core - which strikes us as an eminently sensible development.

Here's a pretty infographic setting out the core foci of the developing role:

Source: social@Ogilvy


A deeper look at Facebook's position as the platform of choice for b2c marketers

In our upcoming State of Corporate Social Media briefing, we found that 89% of all corporations are now using Facebook. Not only this, but 65% of b2c companies find it to be the most useful social network , and 58% of businesses engage on the network more than once a day.

So I was interested to read a new survey from AdAge on what 701 marketers and media execs thought about the network.

You can see the full findings at the Ad Age site, but below are some of the key findings:

  1. 61% of marketers have moved beyond simply having a 'presence' on Facebook, and are now paying for advertising on the site. This has grown, slowly, from 55% this time last year.
  2. This slow growth is echoed in expectations of budgetary increases - 50% of respondents say that their budget for Facebook advertising will only 'modestly' increase this year (with another 37% saying it will stay the same). 
  3. Satisfaction with Facebook advertising - particularly 'Sponsored Stories' is high. While only 29% of respondents have actually tried sponsored stories, 80% of those that have are somewhat or very satisfied with the results. 84% would use a sponsored story again.

Facebook's dominance of social media campaigns - for b2c companies specifically, appears to be well-founded. That's a high approval rating, and while there is a slowdown in the rush to utilise (and spend money on) the network, the trend is only going one way. Perhaps that is why Google+ this week pushed out a 'Sign In With Google+' functionality, echoing the service already offered by Big Blue (can I be the first to coin 'big blue' as a nickname for Facebook?).

PS: If it would be useful to see a few thoughts on the 'unique benefits of each social platform', then iMediaConnection have you covered.

Is the 'social media manager' facing extinction?

There have been articles proclaiming the death of social media for years now (20092010, 2011, 2012) and as far as the stats above suggest, companies appear to be ignoring its imminent demise.

But there is something to the latest death knell, from Rebecca Lieb. She states that


"Social media" is [a] term that is rapidly approaching the tautological. The more media are digital the more they're social -- either inherently or increasingly -- and linked into a myriad of social networks and social applications that facilitate sharing, commentary, and discovery."

We would agree with this, and we would go further.

From USM's point of view, the use of social media technologies and platforms is going from strength to strength - and will continue to do so until it is simply another way for business to do business. But this in itself will lead to the demise of the 'social media manager'. Historically, social media managers are those who have been responsible for social media execution within business. The more senior the job title, the more power they have in co-ordinating that execution for the whole company. 

But as social progresses, the need for a discrete 'social media department' will diminish, and could even become harmful. We have already seen an evolution in organisational models reflecting this shift, through the move to a hub and spoke model. Here, the specific 'social media department' is reduced to a hub for co-ordination of, and strategising about, social media activity. The 'spokes' are other corporate departments, who are increasingly expected to actually execute this strategy.

It's the only sensible way to go. A 'social media manager' simply cannot be responsible for marketing, for customer service management, for product development and for business strategy. With a centralised 'social media department', that's the logical conclusion.

In the future, social media will cease to be understood as a distinct element of corporate strategy - it will simply be another channel for delivery. The marketing team wil use social as another way to do better marketing, the customer insights team will add date from social into their CRM system, and social elements will be added to corporate intranets for better employee engagement. There will no longer be a 'Social Media Director', responsible for strategy. Corporate strategy will be decided in the c-suite, and social media will help to define it, and will help to ensure it's successful.

Highlights from - Interviews with PetCo and IBM; A series on Brand Advocacy, and a profile of KLM's cutting-edge approach to social

It has been a busy week for USM, and we've published several articles that we thought might be of use:

  1. An interview with the Director of Social Media at PETCO on the big issues for social media execs in 2013: a greater emphasis on customer service, seamless and personalised customer experience, and the development of video content are all on the agenda
  2. IBM's Chief Technology Officer on organisational models of social media: Another point of view on the future of social media organisation within large companies. Quote: "Social media is not the end-game. It's there to support good business"
  3. How to leverage brand advocacy for more influence, reach and consumer engagement: The final piece in our series on brand advocates looks at how to best leverage this resource - with a look at branded online communities, how advocates can deliver invaluable customer insight, and tips on persuading engaged customers to share their passion with their network

That's all for this week. If the above has been useful, why not sign up for our Wednesday Update and get this and much more delivered to your inbox every Wednesday?

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