Every company today has a social media presence. Most likely all of the big three - Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; sometimes also Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. Depending, of course, what type of business you are. This behavior, to be omnipresent on social media, results from the fact that they know their customers are on these channels and they want to reach and influence those customers. But, with great influence comes great responsibility, and customers in turn feel very comfortable today to use companies' social media channels to reach out to the brands. It is for sure a two-way street of communication. But, how do you manage that influx of communication and engagement? 

Hail the community manager!

Albeit a hugely valuable member of any social media team, community managers are often part-time or their responsibilities are added to somebody else's role description. One of the main reasons for this is that many community managers are seen as social content managers. They curate and post content to attract fans. Their success is defined by the quality of their content and how quickly the audience grows. Their work is based on publishing and marketing models. What we need more of are true social community managers. 

We need those community managers that enable collaboration, foster strong relationships, and make members feel comfortable sharing information and help each other. They bring people together, encourage participation, and build relationships. Their success is defined by engagement and trust. 

If you hope to survive in the changing world of news feed algorithms think of community management as gardening. Community managers should cultivate a garden thoughtfully to grow a bountiful harvest. Cultivate with kindness and caring.  Show interested in what customers have to say. Respond to their comments politely, and in a way that indicates you understand them. Most people just want to be heard, and have their opinions count. Care and you shall be rewarded.