The Integration of Social Media and Community Management

By Christie Fidura  

For the past several years, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly of social media campaigns. I’ve read hundreds of articles in important and industry-specific publications which explained what happened when it went wrong, and even a few who tried to analyse why it all went wrong when the campaign went viral. I’ve seen brand after brand spend countless marketing dollars on important campaigns, involving multiple stakeholders across the business. And I’ve seen spotlight attention given to a guy dancing with a cat on YouTube while marketers who spent thousands hoping to win the viral campaign jackpot gnash their teeth.

So why does this happen? Unfortunately, there is no tried and true method for making a campaign ‘go viral.’ Sometimes it just happens: there’s no magic bullet, no matter how much we all may want one.

Social media agencies are saddled with this burden. They’re asked to create social media campaigns, and they rely on their in-house talent to come up with wonderful ideas. They work closely with the brand to determine the right channel for the content, and they work hard to measure it after it goes live.

Unfortunately, despite all this work, once that launch button is pressed, it’s all in the hands of the gods.

Or is it?

In the past three months, I’ve seen something remarkable occur. I’ve seen social media agencies and industry pundits start talking about community management. There seems to be a general shift towards understanding the intrinsic connection between a tier of community advocates and a successful social media campaign. In London last week, I attended Social Media London (see #smlondon on Twitter for the backchannel). I was astonished and gratified to see that there was an actual session on Community Management.

I was even more astonished to see a packed room.

There they were. Multitudes of creative, young, well-dressed, enthusiastic and engaged social media agency types, all wanting to learn more about not only why they should be interested in community management, but also how to talk to their potential clients about it. Nancy Kinder of Feverbee did a great job of explaining the value of generally managing community for brands. But I could see she left them wanting more. Check out this Tweet from social media consultant Pippa Akram:

Pikka
Pikka

So what does this mean? I think we’re seeing the intersection of social media and community management, and that it will soon lead to an integration. Instead of community managers only using social media to interact with their community, social media agencies will start looking to understand who these advocates are, which channels they’re using to communicate and their tone of voice. Eventually, they’ll build community management into their service offering.

It’s the start of a revolution. I hope Community Managers worldwide are preparing themselves for a whole new team of people connecting with their community.

It’s going to be an interesting ride.

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Senior Consultant at The Perfect Circle

Former Community Manager of the number 2 ranked B2B Online Customer Community out of the Top 106, Christie is an award-winning and internationally recognized Senior Community Manager. She builds, manages, nurtures, grows, engages, empowers and activates Communities to improve the customer/corporate relationship, delivering benefits to both sides. Christie is a natural communicator and enjoys using social media to connect. She resides in London with her digital marketing husband and her natively digital 9-year-old daughter.

Connect with Christie on Twitter at @cfidurauk or on Google+.