I attended the Digital Marketing and Media Summit last week at the Melbourne Hilton and I repeatedly heard of the emergence of a new role. Many companies have jumped on board the social media wagon and have quickly learned that it does consume serious resources. So to this end we now have a new role in the industry called the Community Manager. This person’s task is to manage the organisation’s social media. The article below from Smart Company demonstrates why the Community Manager is a much needed position.

From Smart Company – 

Australian directors drop the ball on social media

Thursday, 19 November 2009 09:34

Australian companies have a high amount of interest in social media but a particularly low level of awareness regarding new trends and methods, the author of a report on social media use in businesses has said. Deloitte partner Katherine Missi says Australian companies should develop plans and strategies for using social media in order to keep customers actively engaged online. The comments come after the company conducted a comprehensive review of social media use in US companies, and found about 39% of respondents are having so much success they are instructing full-time employees to manage their online communities.

Compared to the US, Missi says, Australian companies have some way to go in adopting social media in day-to-day operations. “The US are certainly a few years ahead in terms of being actively experimenting, and also using it in quite a serious way. I think their adoption of broadband, ecommerce and online has led to them being an early adopter of social media also.” The company conducted a “straw poll” of companies within the ASX200, and found businesses are interested in social media but unaware of how to implement new ideas. “These directors…hadn’t read a lot about it, but the take out was that they were going to speak with their boards about how social media is changing the way they will interact with customers.” “Of course if you go to other levels in these organisations, certainly there would be a higher awareness with employees, but it was just intriguing that these trends hadn’t filtered up to the board.” Missi said one of the biggest obstacles to starting up a social marketing campaign is “reluctance to relinquish control” of how customers view the company, but says businesses must nevertheless start campaigning online.