Who do you have managing your company’s presence on the web, and what do they do?

Perhaps a conversation with your new Community Manager might sound like this:
It’s important that our stakeholders get to know the “real” us—you will use social media to humanize our brand. As part of your responsibilities, we want you to monitor and manage our online reputation; our marketplace is extremely competitive and the news cycle is 24/7, so we need to keep on top of what people are saying about us and respond immediately. Your work with social media will help with search marketing, as our blog and Facebook page are searchable, and will support our word-of-mouth marketing efforts.

Now, we would like you to write weekly postings for our blog; post on Facebook every other day; send out tweets whenever relevant; set up Google Alerts or purchase a solution to help monitor our reputation online; read comments and reviews about our company, or our people, on the web, and respond appropriately; establish our profile on LinkedIn; educate senior management about social media and make sure they are all on board with this; work with Human Resources and our lawyer to set up employee guidelines for the web; and recruit ambassadors and partners to help create content that is relevant to our customers and other stakeholders.

As you grow our online community, we would like to see you explore new ways to strengthen their loyalty and to have them tell others about us. Finally, would you do some research on Ideas Centers, and determine if this would be a good way for us to tap our customers for new product ideas and to get their feedback?

How’s that for a hefty job description?

Managing your community, or audience as it use to be known, is a lot of work and requires a diverse range of skills and business experience. In your organization, who should be responsible for getting this job done? Should it be public relations, marketing, business development, operations, or a combination of all of them? The new graduate who knows how to use Facebook? Should the legal team get involved? Who does the customer want to hear from?

In our opinion, determining who should manage your web presence and how it should be done will differ from organization to organization. The decision depends on many factors, including: the size of your community (existing and potential); the resources you have available; the legal and legislative climate in which you operate; the media and tools you choose to embrace; your communication goals and expectations; your audience, their needs and demands; the competitive nature of your industry, and, of course, your business goals.

This emerging role of community manager is of significant interest to us.  Clients, colleagues, friends, and others often ask for advice on how to manage their community in this constantly evolving world that demands information anytime and anyplace. We’re planning to explore this further in our blog postings over the next month and would welcome your input…so stay tuned, or call us if you need some direction today.