So Susan Murphy was kind enough to answer my Question of the Week on her Jester Creative blog. She can also be found at SuzeMuse and on Twitter.
I asked if there's still a role these days for social media community managers? As more brands and users become proficient in these tools, I wondered if they could collaborate together and take on the task, or whether it still needed an individual to "manage" (not keen on that word in regards to overseeing a community) that online gathering.
In her answer, Susan writes: "The people I think are the best at managing communities are people who have much more broad ranging experience than just being proficient at tools like Facebook and Twitter. Because just being able to use the tools well doesn’t mean you can communicate effectively with them."
I agree. I believe it's unreasonable and risky to hand off the community manager role to someone who doesn't have a previous background of customer service, or dealing with large groups of people pre-social media.
As I mentioned before: "Whether you talk to them face-to-face or send them an e-mail or a Tweet, be polite, use manners, show courtesy. If a customer walks into an electronics store and wants to know more about your products, you're not going to stand there shouting [at them to] buy this. There's nothing worse than tweeting 'buy my products!' People switch off ... because it's like you're being shouted at with advertising." [Full article.]
Susan also writes: "Likewise, I don’t think that down the road, 'social media consultants' and 'community managers' will thrive if that’s the only thing they know how to do."
I disagree. I think -- in maybe three years tops -- there won't be the words "social media" included in these type of job titles. It will be a given that if you are in the marketing, PR, promotions, communications, online editorial and content management business, then you will use all the NECESSARY and RELEVANT tools available to you to get the best results for yourself/clients/brands/companies or whatever ROE (Return on Engagement) that you planned to achieve. [Full article with some more thoughts.]
So, as the blog post title says, I'm 50/50 on this question at this particular point in time. But thanks again to people like Susan that inspire me to write a few words down each day on subjects such as this!