Does Your PR Firm Need an Online Community Manager?
For the past two or three posts here at Everything PR, I’ve been discussing the urgent need for PR firms and others who promote products or companies to keep up with the changing role of marketing and advertising in today’s world. (Those who don’t keep up will be left behind. . .)
We’ve discussed the importance of:
- Social media
- Social media savvy
If you noticed nothing else in the earlier posts, you’ve probably noticed that using new media and new technology effectively for PR takes a lot of work.
That begs the question: who will do all of this new work?
The answer lies with a brand new public relations/marketing professional whose role is still evolving: the online community manager.
Savvy marketers and PR firms are hiring a whole new generation of social media specialists who are fluent in using new media effectively.
What exactly is a community manager? Listen to what the web says about it:
- From Dawn Foster, at Web Worker Daily, Online Community Managers: What Do They Do?
- From Stuart Foster, at Mashable, 5 Essential Traits for Community Managers
- From Jennifer at Freelance Writing Jobs, What does it mean to be a community manager?
- From Ben Parr at OPEN Forum, What is a Community Manager and Should I Hire One?
If you read through any of the above posts (which all contain excellent descriptions of community management, by the way), one thing should be abundantly clear – online community management is a whole lot of work.
While the specific responsibilities of an online community manager will vary from company to company, community management is way too much work for someone to do on a part-time basis or in a haphazard fashion. Yet, unfortunately, too many PR firms and marketing organizations still fail to see the need for full-time community managers.
It’s a costly error – one that can result in a company presenting an inconsistent company image online.
Why don’t more companies use online community managers?
I have to say honestly that I really don’t know.
It could be because it’s a relatively new field that has just evolved in the last few years. It could be because many college marketing programs still do not include online media as part of their curriculum. Or, it could be that companies are hesitant to trust and/or learn new media techniques.
Does your PR firm or marketing organization use a community manager?
Why, or why not?
Share your feedback in the comments.
Are you community manager?
If so, we would like your input on the issue.