Yep, it’s a real thing. Who knew?
In fact the 7th annual Community Manager Appreciation Day takes place on the last Monday of January i.e. today!
Many people, namely young people or those outside this industry, think it would be a dream job “to sit on Facebook all day.” If only it was that simple. Community Managers do more than content management and customer service on social media, although depending on the company they work for responding to messages/complaints/questions online could indeed take up most of their day.
Why are they so important?
Well, apart from the fact that their job rarely stops (because social media doesn’t close at 5pm) they are also the public face of a company. Brand reputation is won and lost on how they answer every Facebook message or Tweet. They are weighing up information pretty much every time their finger hits a button on the keyboard, making more strategic decisions and risk assessments in one hour than some Senior Managers make in a day. They have to know every element of an organisation thoroughly, as well as external issues and terminology, and be able to shorten it/Plain English it for the public. As well as being creative and a skilled writer for the content part of their role, they are required to be mathematical number-crunchers, able to interpret all the statistical data received through numerous programmes and translate it in various formats for reporting to varying audiences.
Although it is now a recognised profession in itself, for many of us in PR/Comms, we are Community Managers on top of all the other roles we perform. Primarily, because too many companies approach social media community engagement like this:
Most of us are self-taught. And it takes an attitude of going above-and-beyond to make it work. I, for one, have had to interrupt romantic dates to answer life-threatening social media messages, take phone calls on holiday because no-one else knows how to handle a potential public crisis and make time on my day off to scan channels or post about a trending topic that we need to be a part of but hadn’t planned for.
And like most of my peers, none of it is inputted onto my timesheet,.
Granted we’re not curing Cancer, but it is an important, often-misunderstood and almost-always underappreciated role. Setting aside one day when someone - read anyone - in the company says thanks for going above and beyond, and actually means it, is a nice thought.
So if you find yourself:
- Being mocked that you never do any work because your Facebook status is always “online”
- Annoying family/friends because you have to respond to urgent messages on your phone
- Huffing everytime your phone beeps and it’s another notification for the brand and not for you
- Explaining to your Mum why you need to spend so much time online
- Taking calls/texts outside working hours because a social media message has freaked everyone out
I would love to give you this by way of reward:
But alas, it doesn’t exist (for those of us who value our integrity). Instead, please follow the instructions below for a “virtual high five” from me to you on #CMAD