What is community management?
Community management covers a number of different things, but in essence, it’s all about two-way conversation between a brand and its followers wherever they exist online. This could be any number of social media channels; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn. Community management is a way in which a brand can humanise itself and bring a business to life on social media, showing personality behind every interaction.
Although there’s always common ground, community management will look different for every brand. Some will focus on opportunities for customer service, others might use it for disruptive marketing. In recent years customers have come to expect responses and interaction from brands on social media, as much as 83% believe they should get a reply within 24 hours or less. So, it’s no longer just a consideration but a critical part of any successful social media strategy.
Why is it important?
First and foremost, it has huge potential for customer service.
Around 67% of consumers have engaged with a brand on social media for the purpose of customer service. Many brands such as Spotify adopted this mindset early on, using social media to engage their communities across the globe and advise of ongoing issues. They’re now reaping the benefits, staying ahead of the curve and even winning awards for their levels of social media customer support.
There are lots of different options when it comes to customer service strategies on social media, if you aren’t sure what will work best for your brand, check out our blog post.
Community management can help build advocacy
Most social media platforms make it really easy to find out who your super fans are, the ones who are always liking, sharing and commenting on all of your posts. Rewarding these types of people will help show others in your communities that enthusiasm for the brand may result in special treatment.
There’s also an option to involve brand advocates in your creative process or allow them to view products and releases early. This could help you gain invaluable feedback directly from your core audience.
How to handle a social media crisis
It’s reactive – blink and you’ll miss it
Few people will have missed the splash on social media caused by Greggs announcing the launch of their new vegan sausage rolls, which has been an incredibly successful campaign for the brand - the pastry was trending on Twitter for nearly 3 whole days. What’s important to recognise here though, is that most people weren’t talking about the video or the copy. The most memorable part of the campaign came from the replies on social media.
Another easy way to get your communities talking is by engaging with other brands online. This could be something light hearted, like this hilarious thread between Tesco Mobile, Jaffa Cakes, Yorkshire Tea and Cadbury.
Or, if you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, another option is to go out and pick a fight. But best be warned, in 2019 most companies will give as good as they get, as Leeds United Football Club found out recently after a little spat with Pizza Hut.
It helps increase the reach of your content
Simply put, engaging with your followers can result in a higher reach for your posts. Organic reach on social media has decreased dramatically over the last few years, it’s considered to be in the region of around 1-2% on Facebook after the latest algorithm change in 2018. Many believe the changes are an attempt to bury organic content and make more brands consider paid advertising. In any case, simply broadcasting content is no longer an option for those looking to reach their audience for free. Our marketing manager recently highlighted how social media algorithms work, showing that engagement and meaningful interactions with your content can help boost its reach.
Community management can be done the old-fashioned way, manually scrolling though your content, looking through comment sections, searching hashtags, news feeds and competitor posts, but there are also lots of tools available which could make your life a lot easier. Here are a few we’d recommend checking out:
Lastly, here are our top 5 tips for new community managers:
Nurture your communities: engage as much and as often as you can! Encourage members to help support each other.
Create guidelines for your communities and community managers; many situations will blur the lines but it’s always helpful to have rules for how members should behave and clear guidance on things you should and shouldn’t engage with. (Don’t feed the troll 👹).
Listen and Learn; Engage with the people talking to you but also search for those talking about you, this will help you gather insight on key themes from your customers.
Identify and utilise brand advocates: Who comments first and most often? Who always shares your content? These people are worth their weight in gold.
Use your communities to validate content: find out what posts or themes your core audience engage most with.