by Nathan Egan
on September 21, 2010

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:

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.

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