Technology changes quickly. This has become even more evident as companies leverage mobile and social technologies. I know that when it comes to taking advantage of all the recent developments in collaboration software I’ve talked about the importance of having a Chief Collaboration Officer. Today, I’d like to discuss an equally important role, the social brand manager.
There’s no arguing that social media has reached critical mass, with over a billion users it’s become second nature for companies to routinely post status updates and tweets. As more and more companies have openly embraced social, we’ve seen that it has come with a bit of a learning curve. Part of the challenge is that those on the front lines must have a diverse skill set. They must be excellent communicators, in addition to strong data analyzers. It’s not only challenging for the individuals, but also the organization. Understanding how best to leverage these people, and their unique skill set has become one of the many unexpected challenges social has brought to businesses.
Part of the problem facing businesses is that they are still trying to figure out what department best fits social employees. Is it support, as Facebook is a natural extension of an online community? Or marketing? Maybe PR? I believe that businesses should look beyond the roles of community manager or social media specialist and start looking at this position as a social media brand manager.
Those individuals who are posting status updates, or responding to questions on Twitter play an extremely important role in crafting and maintaining an organization’s brand online. These are the people on the front lines, taking note of every tweet, Facebook post and blog comment. They need to be able to monitor sites and information feeds 24/7 in order to take note of all the positive and negative feedback that is made about the companies they work for. In addition, they must also have a huge sense of customer service when it comes to communicating with loyal followers and customers. However, what differentiates a Social Brand Manager and a Community Manager is that the brand manager is an important proactive team member included in developing an organization’s strategy.
Social Brand Managers have true insight as to what the pulse of their customer base is. Is there a product that people are particularly vocal over? These are the people inside the organization that know. As a result, they should be involved in strategic changes. We all know that no one likes change – especially your customers – and Social Brand Managers will have an innate understanding of the voice of the customer and what they will or will not accept. Additionally, Social Brand Managers can serve as great barometers when testing a new a new campaign. While conversions and form completions are always good metrics to monitor, Social Brand Managers will know if your campaign is jiving with your customers. Are they annoyed with your ads, Social Brand Managers will know. So it’s always a good idea to check in with them.
It’s time for the community manager or social media specialist role to evolve. It’s time for organizations to stop thinking of them as extensions of customer support or part of marketing and start thinking of them as brand managers.