March 19, 2015

Build Relationships, Not Just Lists


(Photo: “Nordstrom,” by flickr user via Attribution 2.0 License)

If you’ve worked in a corporate agency, you’ve probably heard the term “community management,” but how many of you have also used this term interchangeably with “social media management”? Probably quite a few of you! I hate to break it to you, but I’m about to shatter the dreams of all those self-proclaimed social media gurus out there that have actually been using this terminology incorrectly.

A social media manager is the individual in an organization trusted with strategy — they create and curate content for social networks, track successes and failures and use data to inform decision-making. A community manager on the other hand, is truly a builder of relationships — the virtual bleeding heart of the brand (or as we know him, the Tom Frank of the internet). So which is more important? The true answer is that they must work in tandem. The former does the research and identifies opportunities, while the latter grows, builds, guides and supports an online community, so they both are equally important. Oftentimes we see that the strategy piece exists, but the follow-through falls short.

A great example of a brand that kills it in this category is Isel’s shining star, Nordstrom. Their mission is “to deliver the best shopping experience, helping customers possess style—not just buy fashion,” and they fulfill this statement throughout all of their social distribution channels. They go well beyond the standard for customer service by not only responding to queries and comments, but also engaging in candid conversation and following up after issues have been resolved. Now that is what we call PLUS-ing the work.

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