The Differences of Social Media Marketing and Community Management

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: May 31st, 2017 | Updated: July 24th, 2019

A lot of people think that social media marketing and community management are interchangeable terms – and since both deals with social media, it is easy to understand the confusion. You would be surprised at the number of queries we receive about this, as well as if companies should look for a community manager or a social media manager. Here’s what you need to know about the two.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is the act of marketing your brand in social media. Think of it as a traditional marketing job where your role is to make more people purchase your products. This is normally done by increasing your brand’s visibility and reputation on social media and becoming a top of mind solution. What do we mean by that?

Let’s say for example that you are selling an effective pimple treatment out of a Los Angeles clinic. Your goal is to spread your rich to the entire United States, eventually selling your product to the rest of the country, or enticing customers to come over to LA for a treatment. To do this, you must market your product on the popular social media sites that your target audience frequent. You must know your demographics for this, so that you would know if you should market your product on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google Plus, or another medium.

The goal, therefore, is that when people think of an effective pimple treatment, then they would think of your product. You can do this by coming up with concepts that are guaranteed to go viral so that your product would become top of mind.

So when we say social media marketing, we then mean that it involves monitoring, measuring, filtering, and contributing ways to enhance your brand’s reputation and retention on social media. You need to have an experienced social media manager who will help your brand grow.

What is community management?

On the other hand, think of community management as a Question and Answer opportunity for your brand. Community managers usually deal with engagement and interacting with customers, and not the intricacies of marketing per se. They respond to customer inquiries, engage customers, and entice old customers to return back to the fold, or even reach out to new customers who are interested in the product.

Think of them as your ever patient customer service department. They can pacify a customer who is already ranting on social media, and with the help of the social media manager, turn things around so that the rant becomes an opportunity for good publicity for you.

However, customer service is not the only thing community managers do. They also act as forum holders or the gateway to your brand on social media. They are the ones who enrich your community by providing content that is timely and relevant to your target audience.

Which one do you need?

To successfully run a good social media marketing campaign, you would need both experts on your team. Not only that, but you also need an array of professionals who can give your campaign a good direction. To read about the pillars of social media marketing, click here.