Community Manager vs. Social Media Manager

Social Media Manager (1)

Your small business might be on social media, but do you have the right people running your accounts? Two positions that appear to overlap and aren’t always acknowledged as separate roles are the community manager and the social media manager. Each has a specific purpose, and it’s a good idea to use both in order to have a fully formed social media program.

Social Media Manager: Strategy and Content

Social media managers create and curate the content that gets published on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They develop and manage content calendars, write copy, schedule posts, and will oversee the creation of social content (like photos and video) that will be made in-house. A strategy is developed to deploy this content at the right time, to the right audience, in order to promote the best engagement rates. Social media managers also handle a brand’s online reputation by creating content, responding to comments, and answering questions as the brand.

Each channel is always changing, as social media managers work to improve content using the data they collect. They will analyze the past successes and failures from previous efforts, research new ideas, and reorganize their strategy in order to get better results moving forward. They are constantly trying to improve engagement rates and optimize brand messaging. Social media managers also collaborate with different departments, like marketing, PR, and sales, to provide a universal strategy that can speak to each part of the company.

Measurement of success: According to SumAll, “A social media manager measures success by how much content is published, how people engage with it, what kind of content performs best and what fuels the increase in followers.”

Community Manager: Listening and Customer Service

Community Managers build relationships and provide human insight for the brand. They act as a humanizing face and are the internal advocates for customers. They dig deep into the online community to connect with potential customers, and work to maintain a good rapport with them. Community managers also promote social media events and contests, in order to establish a continuous presence for a brand with their audience.

From a customer service standpoint, they communicate with users who are at different points of the sales funnel. They understand the needs and questions of both customers and non-customers, in order to deal with all inquiries quickly and effectively to provide a resolution. Social listening is an important part of their job as well because they are constantly monitoring all channels for customer feedback.

Measurement of success: SumAll also says that “Community managers focus on earned media and word of mouth. They do this by keeping influencers and potential customers engaged, welcoming new audience members into their communities, and expanding the brand’s visibility through guest posts and opportunities like Twitter chats.”

Many believe that the social media manager and community manager are the same position– while their responsibilities may intertwine, they are two separate, integral pieces of a strong and robust social media plan. Curata has the data to back up how essential it is that brands start investing in the management of their social media platforms, as 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy.

According to Albert Costill at Search Engine Journal, the top content marketing challenges business owners face today are “…a lack of time to create content (51%), producing enough content variety/volume (50%), producing truly engaging content (42%), measuring content effectiveness (38%), and developing consistent content strategy (34%).” Both the social media manager and community manager roles work together to strengthen your company’s outreach, and it’s important to not only invest in them, but to identify the goals and metrics for each.

 

How You Can Incorporate 3D Printing Into Your Small Business

Print

3D printing has been on the rise in the industrial tech industry for several years now, but only recently has it become relevant to the consumer side of the business. As the price per unit and maintenance costs decrease, more small businesses are seeing 3D printing as a conceivable part of their operations. The global market is swelling and is expected to reach $16.2 billion by 2018, making the 3D printers an important resource for small businesses in many different ways.

Prototyping

Cheaper units and material will obviously help small businesses reduce the cost of production, but 3D printing has had a tremendous effect on the prototyping process. Businesses like Spuni have used 3D printers to create multiple prototypes in quick succession in order to avoid the slow pace of traditional manufacturing and produce them at a cheaper rate. A prototype can now be designed and produced in a matter of hours, instead of several days.

The company produced over 30 different designs of their baby spoon before finally going to market, and CEO Marcel Botha believes that process helped them create a better product. It cost about $5 to print one spoon, saving Spuni 10 times the amount it would have cost from a manufacturer.

Production

Instead of prototyping, many companies are using 3D printing to manufacture their final product. Whether it means printing out important parts, or reducing the amount of pieces needed, 3D printers are changing the world of industrial production. A company called MrSpeakers prints essential parts of their headphones, allowing them to shift toward in-house production as they handcraft their merchandise. It might increase the cost of production, but it does allow them to commit to a certain level of quality, which customers appreciate. Obviously, every business is different, but if the tradeoff is worth it to your customers, it might be an idea worth pursuing.

According to author John Hornick, 3D printing is allowing many small businesses to compete with large corporations. 3D printing is huge in the aerospace industry, and the U.S. Marine Corps believes that the practice will allow many small businesses to compete with the big players in the defense contracting industry. High production costs can take many fledgling companies out of the competition, but 3D printers will help reduce that price and level the playing field for many.

Service

For a small business, creating a design, sending it off to the manufacturer, getting it shipped, and making it available for purchase can take months. A special order that can take weeks to come might scare away potential customers, but by taking things in-house, you can take full control over your own business. 3D printing allows you to eliminate the middleman, making production faster and less expensive.

As traditional production is being replaced by 3D printing, new jobs are being created. Many have started small businesses that create 3D printings directly for consumers. Whether it be prototypes, designs, parts, or simple trinkets, fast and cheap production has its value, and is a good business model to support. There are many ways to make money off of 3D printing, you just have to choose which is right for your small business.

Brian Placios at Big Think believes that “the technology and capabilities of consumer machines and industrial machines will start to merge over time.” Right now, industrial 3D printing is far ahead, with bigger size machines and the capability to print various materials. Airbus expects to be 3D printing thirty tons of metal airplane parts by 2018, and it’s this type of dramatic development which would represent a real game-changer for so many industries. There are many opportunities for small businesses to take advantage of 3D printing, and those opportunities are only going to continue to grow. 3D printing for the small biz owner is the next big leap.