Should social media community managers focus on sales?
Certainly the “online community manager” is one of the hottest jobs around these days but it may be time to re-examine the orientation of these positions, especially in a B2B environment.
While a leading function of the job has been to build, grow and manage content and communities around a brand or cause, there seems to be an overlooked opportunity to provide more direct sales and marketing support.
In his article “Four Tenets of a Community Manager, Jeremiah Oywang describes typical job functions based on an examination of actual job descriptions:
1) A Community Advocate — Being active in understanding what customers are saying in both the corporate community as well as external websites.
2) Brand Evangelist — Promote events, products and upgrades to customers by using traditional marketing tactics and conversational discussions.
3) Editorial — Manage forums, blogs, podcasts, Twitter, etc.
4) Community Input — Gathering customer requirements for product teams.
While all of these tasks are worthwhile, they might miss the more direct and impactful opportunities of:
- Managing SM-generated sales leads
- Directing social-related CRM
- Supervising the “Listening” outpost and analytics
- Providing constant training to sale associates on how
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to use tools like LinkedIn to create sales leads
Another aspect to consider is your industry and the realistic expectation for “community” and commentary on a B2B blog or Facebook site. Typically there will not be much — another possible reason to focus on traditional sales instead of inbound leads.
It seems to make good business to sense to have a rational view of your sales opportunities through the social web before following the lock-step conventional wisdom of focusing precious human resources on community-building.