SMM vs Community Manager

SMM vs Community Manager

In 2023, you can no longer schedule a post and call it a day.

I’d argue that you could never do this and see results, but it’s even more important now.

This is where social media managers and community managers come in — to help increase engagement, navigate what’s working in real-time, drive connections with new followers, and so on.

But these two terms — SMMs and community managers — are often confused with one another. It’s not hard to see why.

They work on similar tasks, their projects overlap, they show up on the same systems, software, and platforms. And while you could have one person who does both, it’s important to know the roles of each to ensure the best results.

So what’s the actual difference between a social media manager and a community manager? Let’s dig into it.

What’s a social media manager?

In short, the social media manager makes your brand’s social media machine run.

Their job includes a lot of…

  • Copywriting for captions and video scripts
  • Creating and editing Reels, TikToks, and YouTube videos
  • Researching and analyzing their audience
  • Creating a social media content strategy
  • Campaign reporting
  • Creating and monitoring ads
  • Diving into analytic reports to find what’s working and what isn’t

I’d associate social media managers with one word: analyze.

They look at the data from their posting efforts and figure out how to strengthen your brand presence from those insights. They ask questions like, “Are these Reels actually the best way to connect with our audience? What do the numbers have to say about it?” or, “Is this trend going to JUST be a trend? Or can it be a tool that we use to grow our reach?”

To a social media manager, it’s about digging deeper and doing more to reach the right people. They’re obsessed with producing content that has numbers to back it up. And they’ll get fired up when you ask them to explain why posting just to post is a problem.

What’s a community manager?

A community manager’s purpose is to build and nourish your online communities, whether that’s in a closed or private group or your social media channels in general.

They mostly…

  • Develop and engage communities within your brand
  • Work to increase engagement among your audience and inside these groups
  • Connect your audience with resources to help facilitate participation
  • Respond to questions, comments, DMs
  • Engage with followers on their own content to build a repertoire
  • Gather community feedback and take it to the social media team to improve on

When you think of community manager, think connections or conversations. To do their job well, they have to be able to bridge the gap between brand and consumer, brand and audience. They strive to keep people around rather than trying to find new people.

They care about the health and wellness of your communities, even those in a private group setting. They want to build connections across every single social media channel you have.

So, you’ll see them responding to the questions and comments within these spaces too. It’s social media with a side of customer/client support.

Which do you hire: SMM or community manager?

Knowing whether or not you need a social media manager or a community manager really depends on whether or not you have a solid strategy down first.

It’s hard to “manage a community” when you’re posting erratically, not seeing much reach, and aren’t really posting content that’s getting you results.

If you don’t have a social media strategy, I’d vote that you need to focus on social media management first. Bring on or train someone to monitor your accounts, analyze the data they receive, use that to reach new people, and start gaining your brand some traction. 

If you have a pretty strong social strategy and you’ve established your presence, it’s probably time to recruit a community manager — or shift your social media manager’s role to also include community management. This is necessary when you’re getting comments on posts, more followers by the week, DMs potentially, tags in UGC, and so on.

And let’s be real: sometimes you need both. You need someone who knows how to strike up a conversation with a total stranger online, but also knows how to keep people engaged. You want someone who understands the need for strategy and the need for connection.

Can you have both? Does that person exist? Simple answer…yes.

Need to hire for both strategy and community?

Finding someone to help you with both strategy and community-building is a tall order, I won’t lie. But it is entirely possible, with the right training.

Our World's Best Community Manager course is a comprehensive training and exhaustive toolkit, designed to get the greatest returns and maximize brand exposure through partnership strategy and relationship management.

This course comes complete with daily checklists, standard operating procedures, and step-by-step tutorials to empower your community manager to build connections that last. Tap into growth-driving partnership and relationship marketing strategies you won’t find anywhere else, and extend your reach by building a high-performance hashtag strategy that takes just minutes a day to maintain.

And give your brand the tools you need to succeed — with tips on how to create insightful and actionable reports that can inform product development and growth-accelerating brand campaigns

Your community manager will get Immediate, on-demand, and life-time access to the training, tutorials, and tools described. It also comes with community support and a 14-day money-back guarantee.

If you and/or your team want to dive deeper into the strategy, come join me for an F* the Algorithm Workshop! Paired with community manager training, you’ll be able to blend strategy + connection for a truly unstoppable social strategy.

See you there, yeah?

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