Friday, March 25, 2011

The Rise of the Community Manager Role in Spain

The new role of "Community Manager" is emerging in Spain as one of the fastest-growing positions in businesses large and small.

TerritorioCreativo (TC) launched a survey last year entitled “Marketing in Social Media: How Spanish companies use blogs and social networks” (available only in Spanish). The informative study aims to determine how Spanish companies are using web 2.0 and looks at the new role of Community Manager in Spain, among other topics.

What is a Community Manager?

The Community Manager role is responsible for protecting and maintaining a community of loyal followers of a brand or company; and to be the place where the needs of both parties come together: the needs of the community and those of the business. This person should be an expert in Social Media tools. 
(Definition of Community Manager according to AERCO)

Over the last couple years, while companies have been ramping up social media activities, the Community Manager role has quietly emerged.  This new position was created by the need to establish ongoing and interactive communication through these new social channels.

Today in Spain there are always Community Manager positions posted on jobs website. A recent search on turned up over 30 in Barcelona alone. In the time of a financial “crisis”, this number is surprising. I wonder, are there enough people with the skills necessary to fill a Community Manager role available and seeing employment?

social media spain Job Listings

What about the role itself? Is it just a trend or a position that’s here to stay?
For the study, “Marketing in Social Media: How Spanish companies use blogs and social networks”, TC interviewed representatives of 303 companies in Spain that currently use social media, not including companies that are involved in online marketing or are creative agencies.

The study found that the Social media channels used most by companies with Community Managers are: Facebook (85.5%); Twitter (82.8%); Blogs (78.2%); LinkedIn (68%); and 2.0 Services (66%).
The results of the study show that half of the companies (50.8%) involved in social media have a community manager on board. TerriorioCreativo believes that this is a surprising statistic given that the Community Manager role is very new.

However, as we see below, 86% of people in this position handle tasks aside from what would be defined as strictly community management, which leads me to believe that the prevalence of this position in its purest form is overblown. Yet companies must see enough of a need to hire a new employee versus repurpose existing positions.
Among companies that do not currently have a community manager, most do not intend to hire one in the future: Only 30% indicated the intention to hire a Community Manager. Many (21.5%) state that they will likely incorporate these functions into an existing position within the organization. And 36.2% do not know if they will incorporate the position.
Today in Spain, the blogosphere is loaded with “How To’s” on becoming a Community Manager; lists of the Top values or traits of a good CM; and guides to help existing Community Managers in managing social media.

There are a number of new courses (and some so-called “Masters”) dedicated to becoming a Community Manager, most with a very high sticker price. Masters courses are in-depth, usually around three-month-long courses with a price of 2,000-4,000€. In addition, basic courses are often available, offering an introduction to social media, with very simple instructions on using Twitter, Faceobook and LinkedIn. These short courses last anywhere from 20 to 150 hours and have a cost of around 300€. I do not believe they are worth the investment, as teaching yourself the basics is easy and the tools are open to everyone.

(In a future post, I will link to good online training tools and articles for prospective Community Managers. One great guide that comes to mind is the “Rescue Manual for Social Media” (available only in Spainsh) by Ariadna Collazos, which was very popular on Twitter and blogs in early 2011).

TerritorioCreativo has published a white paper called “The Role of Community Manager in Spain: How companies are creating and growing communities” (available only in Spanish) in collaboration with the Asociación Espanola de Responsables de Comunidad.
In the report they highlight the two types of Community Manager in Spain: ‘ad hoc’ managers of online community presence, and those who manage the entire brand community. The former role is more established than the latter, which is growing as the use of blogs, Twitter and social networks like Facebook are becoming increasingly popular. The report offers the schedule of a typical day in the life of a Community Manager and ends with a comprehensive list of useful tools for managing social media (I recommend checking them out on page 13).

I predict that the Community Manager role will evolve a great deal over 2011 and come into its own in 2012. In the future, I expect to see roles such as Chief Social Media Officer or a ChiefiStakeholder Engagement Officer, as suggested in a recent comment by Fred Page, a fellow blogger Fred Page of and departments or sub-departments being formed within Marketing and Communications Departments. At the recent SES Conference in New York City, I learned that some companies have begun hiring a "Chief Listening Officer" who is responsible for monitoring social media and disseminating the information to relevant people and departments.

The emergence and development of the Community Role is a fascinating trend, and one I will continue to follow closely on this blog.  

Are you a Community Manager? I’d love your comments on your role and responsibilities! Leave a comment here

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