The 8 Hats of a Successful Social Media Community Manager

Social media has evolved from a megaphone for brands to a two-way channel for building relationships with customers and fans. As a result, the role of the social media community manager has become much more complex and strategic.

A great social media community manager today wears many hats — they need to be equal parts copywriter, data analyst, customer service rep, trend watcher, and more. Here‘s a closer look at eight key facets of this multidisciplinary role and why they matter:

1. The Wordsmith

At their core, social media platforms are about communication — and that starts with the written word. A social media manager needs to be a skilled copywriter who can craft everything from short, snappy tweets to long-form LinkedIn articles.

Good social media writing is:

  • Concise: Attention spans are short on social. Get to the point quickly.
  • Conversational: Write like you speak to make your brand relatable.
  • Compelling: Use strong verbs, vivid imagery, and storytelling techniques to draw readers in.
  • Adapted for each platform: A Facebook post should sound different than a tweet.

Beyond one-off posts, a social wordsmith needs to define and maintain a consistent brand voice. According to research from Sprout Social, 40% of consumers say memorable content makes a brand‘s social presence stand out.

2. The Multimedia Maven

While the written word is still important, visual content is king on social media today. According to HubSpot, visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than other types of content.

A social media manager needs to be proficient at creating or sourcing:

  • Eye-catching images and graphics
  • Short videos optimized for mobile
  • GIFs and memes
  • Platform-specific formats like Instagram Stories and TikTok videos
  • Live video content

This means having a basic proficiency with tools like Canva, Adobe Creative Suite, and smartphone videography and editing apps. Even if there‘s a separate design team, a social manager needs to know what makes a good visual.

3. The Number Cruncher

Gone are the days of chasing vanity metrics like follower counts and likes. An effective social media manager is fluent in data and knows how to tie social efforts to real business results.

Some key social media metrics to track:

  • Reach and impressions
  • Engagement rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Share of voice
  • Sentiment analysis

But tracking data is just the first step — a good analyst can extract actionable insights and recommendations from the numbers. They know how to set up and run experiments to test different variables like post times, formats, and CTAs. And they can present their findings to stakeholders in a compelling way.

4. The Customer Champion

Social media has become the front line for customer interaction. A 2020 study found that 79% of consumers expect brands to respond within a day on social media, and 40% expect a response within an hour.

A social media manager needs to be a skilled, empathetic communicator who can:

  • Respond quickly to questions and concerns
  • Troubleshoot issues and provide solutions
  • Keep their cool in the face of frustrated customers
  • Know when and how to escalate issues to other teams
  • Proactively reach out to happy customers to build advocacy

This means working closely with customer service and product teams to stay on top of common issues and feedback. The best social media managers are true customer advocates within their organizations.

5. The Conversation Catalyst

With social platform algorithms increasingly prioritizing "meaningful interactions," simply broadcasting content is no longer enough. A community manager needs to actively spark and moderate discussions.

Some ways to do this:

  • Ask questions in your posts to prompt responses
  • Create polls and quizzes
  • Respond to comments to encourage further discussion
  • Host AMAs (Ask Me Anything) or Q&A sessions
  • Create Facebook/LinkedIn Groups around interests or topics
  • Run contests and giveaways that require engagement to enter

The key is to make your followers feel seen and heard, not just talked at. As the saying goes, social media should be more like a cocktail party than a megaphone.

6. The Trend Tracker

Social media is a fast-paced world, with new memes, hashtags, and challenges cropping up daily. An agile social media manager needs to stay on top of trends and know how to incorporate them into the brand‘s content in an authentic way — aka "newsjacking."

Some tips for staying in the know:

  • Follow industry publications and influencers
  • Set up Google Alerts for key terms
  • Check trending topics daily on Twitter
  • Subscribe to trend newsletters
  • Attend (or host) Twitter chats
  • Join relevant Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit communities

The goal isn‘t to jump on every trend, but to selectively participate in the ones that align with your brand. When done well, newsjacking can earn media coverage and boost engagement.

7. The Full-Funnel Marketer

Social media isn‘t just for top-of-funnel brand awareness anymore. A strategic community manager knows how to leverage social at every stage of the marketing funnel.

Some examples of funnel-aligned content:

  • Awareness: Branded videos, influencer partnerships, viral challenges
  • Consideration: Product demos, customer testimonials, blog post shares
  • Decision: Limited-time offers, customer reviews, retargeted ads
  • Retention: Community groups, exclusive content, social customer care

Employees can also be leveraged as trusted voices to share company content and build awareness and credibility.

According to LinkedIn, sales reps who share content are 45% more likely to exceed quota. And leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7x more frequently than other leads.

8. The Juggling Project Manager

With so many moving parts, a social media manager has to be an expert planner and project manager. This means:

  • Developing (and sticking to) a content calendar
  • Coordinating asset creation with designers, copywriters, and other teams
  • Routing content for review and approval
  • Scheduling and publishing posts (often with the help of tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social)
  • Monitoring and moderating conversations across multiple platforms
  • Reporting on results and iterating the strategy

It‘s a lot to juggle, which is why organization, communication, and collaboration skills are musts in this role. The best social media managers have a system to keep all the plates spinning.

The Face of Your Brand

As you can see, a social media community manager is much more than just a Facebook poster. They are strategists, analysts, creatives, customer advocates, and trend spotters all rolled into one.

In many ways, they are the face and voice of your brand — the first line of interaction with customers and prospects. That‘s why it‘s so important to find someone with the right mix of hard and soft skills to fill this critical role.

When hiring a social media community manager, look for someone who:

  • Can write compelling copy in your brand voice
  • Understands visual storytelling and platform-specific content formats
  • Knows the right metrics to track and how to glean insights from data
  • Puts the customer first and is skilled at diffusing tense situations
  • Is proactive about sparking conversations and engaging the community
  • Stays on top of social trends and knows how to tap into cultural moments
  • Can think strategically about full-funnel social media marketing
  • Is organized, detail-oriented, and able to manage multiple moving parts

With social media becoming increasingly pay-to-play, it‘s also helpful to find someone with experience in social media advertising and influencer partnerships.

Investing in a skilled, well-rounded social media community manager is investing in the growth and health of your brand. Make sure you give them the resources, support, and seat at the table they need to succeed.