Do community managers serve the community or the business?
As media companies create new titles like "community manager," "social media editor" and "director of engagement," Jordan Cooper asks whether the people in those positions report to the community or the business.
He says they are ultimately responsible to the business and its objectives but suggests there is an inherent tension that should be part of the internal discussions:
"Many companies have their community managers dive straight into this social abyss with guns blazing – Twitter conversations, Facebook fan pages, user-generated content portals, official forum communities, e-mail contests and any other god-forsaken way the brand can 'play the part' of a customer-centric organization. But [do] they (and perhaps we) sometimes fail to first understand the exact status of a community manager position in relation to both parties in the relationship exchange?"
Cooper does not provide any answers, but this is something each company needs to work out for itself. He says:
"Are we here to serve the customers? Are we here to serve the brand?
"Are we here to serve both – and in what proportion?"