You Can’t Afford NOT to Hire a Community Manager to Handle Your Online Marketing Plan

by Joanne Steele on March 26, 2010

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Yesterday, after leaving you all in a slump with my post, Why Social Media Marketing is Hard for Rural Tourism Business, I spent several hours with an adventure business client reviewing her online marketing plan that we’ve developed over the past three months.

She is in overwhelm. Her season is about to start and, in her own words, “This online project is a part time job and I already work full time!”

It is. And together we came to a solution: a part time helper. After she left, I discovered that our solution even has a job title:

Community Manager

Social Media expert, Tamar Weinberg, talks about it in her book, The New Community Rules, Marketing on the Social Web.

And Community Manager, Itamar Kestenbaum talks about the role in his post, 10 Community Manager Responsibilities that Don’t Involve Twitter and Facebook.

With the economy in a slump worldwide, it’s hard for a very small business to see its way to hire one more person, but in this case, the return on investment could be profound.

Big companies have community managers, and small rural businesses need someone fulfilling these roles. If you can’t manage the time yourself for the following vital work, you need to manage your money to hire someone to do it.

Here’s what my adventure business client and I came up with as a good start on her online marketing plan, work that she will soon pass on to her part time community manager.

  • Blog once a week.  This is a newsy, interesting weekly take on her industry and related things that are of specific interest to her Perfect Customer.
  • Link the weekly blog post to her Facebook page. I suggest doing this manually to allow for a personal comment on the post geared to the Facebook crowd.
  • Twice weekly post additional info on her Facebook page.
  • Set up both Facebook and the blog to post automatically to Twitter.
  • Tweet something of immediate interest at least twice more throughout the week. More if there’s time and something great comes up to share.

Then:

Once monthly, send out an email newsletter filled with interesting info, updates, and specials with at least several relevant links back to the web site.

Update and improve the newly redesigned web site as needed.

Also in her online marketing plan:

  • Increase her following on social sites.
  • Build links to her web site by creating and nurturing online relationships.
  • Monitoring the communities where her customers spend time.
  • Leaving relevant, helpful comments on other blogs and forums.
  • Responding to comments, reviews and information requests.
  • Responding to questions about her areas of expertise with helpful information.
  • Interlink and create online collaborative networks with the businesses in her region that also serve her Perfect Customer.
  • Keep track of stats to see which efforts are improving return on investment (ROI).

My client has learned how to do all these things, and now she will train her capable Community Manager to take over these roles.

This is one solution to the turning around the situation I described yesterday in my post, “Why Social Media Marketing is Hard for Rural Tourism Business.”

How are you implementing your online marketing plan?

Photo by WebTreats. Visit webtreats’ flickr photostream

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