The use of new technologies has given rise to jobs that did not exist until now and, despite their widespread existence, the potential applied to Corporate Communications is still being developed in a market in which organizations increasingly realize that their reputation and trademarks depend on their strategic objectives and the ever-changing tastes and preferences of their multiple customers
These new jobs arise from the need to hire highly skilled communications professionals who know these communication technologies and that could take advantage of the tools they provide for the benefit of all the organizations. When selecting human resources for this new job position that is constantly being updated, young people benefit from being digital natives and being skilled media learners. But, as we shall see, these professionals will need not only to be young, but also to be Geeks and Social Media users.
One of those new jobs to which many people refer, but still in development, is: Community Manager. To have a rough idea, we can start by analyzing one of the first definitions available. According to the Spanish Association of Online Communities (AERCO) a Community Manager is "the person in charge or responsible for maintaining, enhancing and, in some way, upholding the organization's relationships with its customers on the web, due to knowledge of the organization’s needs and strategic approaches and customers’ interests. Somebody who knows the objectives and works accordingly to achieve them. A professional who must become the face of his product and of his community. He should identify risks and opportunities and above all, he must ensure the reputation of his product, brand or company through the opportunities that he will find. "(AERCO, 2009).
Besides the great amount of available definitions, it is essential to remember that the role of a Community Manager in organizations is not one of the most clearly defined today, it is constantly being redefined, regularly refreshed and in constant change.
In this context, here is a summary of the most common tasks of Community Managers in their daily work:
Permanent Research, Monitoring and Supervision of what is said about the organization, its brands, products, competitors, members, market share and stakeholders on social networking sites;
Assess, Identify and Evaluate a dynamic overview of the organization’s communicational situation and position in the social networks on the basis of relevant information;
Design, Plan and Coordinate the organization´s strategic 2.0 communications plan for Social Media;
Inform, Make Clear and Integrate the 2.0 communications strategy with all internal and external, direct and indirect, formal and informal publics of the organization to optimize its application and dynamic development;
Share and Take Active Part in all Web 2.0 activities related directly or indirectly to the brand reputation, giving feedback quickly and in a respectful way;
Select, Create and Manage contents of general interest to the community, users and the organization at a horizontal level.
Connect, Help and Cooperate to encourage exchange of opinions that will enable a permanent on-line contact between the organization and its publics;
Evaluate, Analyze and Reprogram the 2.0 communications strategy on the basis of quantitative and qualitative measurements of the organization’s performance in Social Media.
Another important aspect when defining a Community Manager’s job is the context in which he works, the Social Media, and the advantages, opportunities and results that they can provide to Institutional Communication.
When analyzing why a Communications Campaign in Social Media is important, it is worth mentioning that it:
Enhances Institutional Image because it creates a more natural contact with all the stakeholders, adding values such as a sense of belonging, close proximity, horizontal relationship and transparency;
Gives Visibility when working synergistically with the 2.0 communications strategy reinforcing the brand reputation, recognition and its impact on the web;
Innovates offering new marketing, branding and internal communications’ possibilities;
Generates Key Inputs for Risk and Crisis Communication Management on the basis of research and ongoing monitoring of what is said in conversations in social networks, quickly identifying Key Issues and taking preventive or corrective actions in real time;
Increases Competitiveness on the Basis of Cooperation, since the creation of horizontal communication channels enables the business to discover what consumers prefer at all times, and therefore, modify and renew its products and services;
Develops Network Loyalty by connecting emotionally the organization with its multiple internal and external publics.
Finally, it is clear that for contemporary organizations it is of the utmost importance to have a 2.0 Communication Strategy in which a Community Manager will be responsible for using Social Media in Communications Campaigns, baring in mind the strategic objectives in terms of communication that the organization has, the characteristics of the communities involved, the coordination with all the organization’s communication channels and support, the integration with all its stakeholders and the selection of the technology to be used in direct relation to the scale of the campaign to be implemented.
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