As social media marketing has evolved, community management has become an integral part of any strategy. Even if you were not previously aware of the term, chances are elements of it are already in place for your business.
So, what is community management? Let’s break it down:
Community = Your current fans, potential fans and anyone online who comes into contact with your brand.
Management = Providing customer service and building relationships with that community wherever they are active, mainly social media and review platforms.
This covers everything from replying to enquiries and social listening for brand keywords, to resolving complaints and crisis management.
Why is community management important?
Audiences are online, sharing thoughts, experiences and feedback on social and beyond via the touch of a button. Your brand needs to meet them there, or you risk losing out to competitors who are.
As Sprout Social uncovered in their 2018 insights report, social media is now the channel of choice for customer care. Fans actively reach out to brands, look to see how other customers are treated, and are receptive to brands getting in touch with them on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. As a result, there is an expectation for communication and a lot to be gained from providing it.
There are endless advantages to putting a community management plan into action; we’re going to run through just a handful of them in more detail.
Resolve customer complaints
Even if you deliver impeccable service, chances are you will receive negative feedback on social media or review sites like TripAdvisor at some point. With a community management strategy in place, you can swiftly respond to, and hopefully resolve, any customer complaints.
The benefit of this is twofold: you can turnaround an unhappy customer and show potential fans you care about customer experience.
Turn customers into loyal fans
Having fun, friendly conversations with your customers on social is one of the most effective ways to build brand love. This is at the heart of community management.
Imagine someone tweets praise about your brand’s product and your team quickly respond with a thank you and personal reply. That’s an instant, easily made good impression. Thanks to this, the chance that person will pick you over a competitor in the future has grown significantly.
With 75% of buying experiences based on emotion, this kind of personalised interaction with your community strengthens your sales strategy more than you might think.
Showcase your brand’s personality
The way you interact with fans online is an extension of your content: responses should follow your brand’s tone of voice and promote your brand values and identity. It’s the ideal space to get creative and win fans over with personal conversation.
[takes clothes off and opens a bottle of shampoo]
— innocent drinks (@innocent) September 14, 2018
Listen and learn
Everything that’s said about your brand online has the potential to benefit you, from user generated content to be used in content, to ideas for campaigns and new services. Community management is as much about listening to your audience and acting on what you hear, as what you’re putting out there.
What are the basics of a community management strategy?
A community management strategy can encompass a huge amount, but here are what we consider the essentials:
• Complaints procedure for all social and review platforms
• Tone of voice guidelines for responses
• Crisis management procedure
• Regular social listening
• Timely responses (depending on your business, you might consider out of hours cover)
Put these in place and you will soon see an improvement in your brand’s social presence and audience engagement.