The exponential growth of the social media marketplace has caused the birth of a new position of prominence in today’s workplace: the Online Community Manager. The trend of hiring a Manager that is specifically responsible for online content first erupted in some of North America’s largest corporations, but has trickled down into many medium-sized businesses.

If you are a small and medium sized business owner, deciding how best to manage their online community can be challenging. There are a handful of factors that have to be carefully analyzed before making the decision.

  1. Hours – One of the biggest challenges for filling the role of Community Manager is having a full grasp of how many hours the position would demand in your corporate structure. That takes understanding how many hours your own staff is currently taking to perform a Community Manager’s roles. But it’s not just the number of hours currently being done either, plans for expansion and re-development must also be taken into account.
  2. Internal vs. External – Regardless of how many hours need to be committed to the position, there are definite benefits to hiring someone yourself or hiring a firm to do the work. Having someone in-house allows a person stronger integration with your team. On the other side, hiring an external company provides additional resources for new and innovative ideas for managing your online community.
  3. Cost – How is this hire going to impact your bottom line? Factor in the current cost of managing your online community, think about how you want to expand your online portfolio, and then put together some cost ideas. That could be the ultimate factor for whether or not you hire a Manager or a firm to do the work.

It is vital in today’s business climate to have a person or firm that is dedicated to managing your online community. The right person, or the right firm, can help to build your business, grow your brand, and develop new consumer relationships. It’s one of the best investments your business can make as you look for new ways to compete in today’s business climate.