To some, social media is a mere platform to share your photos of artisanal pastries and organic soy lattes with other people who share photos of artisanal pastries and organic soy lattes. But to marketers, it is a land full of opportunity. Content creation and copywriting are important, of course, but one thing that gets overlooked is community management. In our opinion, community management is extremely important if you want to create and maintain a thriving online community of loyal followers. We gathered several guidelines you can start implementing today…
Clearly define a brand voice/create an online persona
This is probably the first thing you should do. Give your brand a unique tone and personality and create a comfortable online environment where followers feel compelled to interact with you. Generally people aren’t drawn to those that sound like a robot and spew out impersonal, automated responses. They would rather interact with someone personable, helpful, and friendly. Take a look at what other brands are doing for some inspiration.
Provide excellent customer service (even when they’re not asking for something)
If you haven’t figured it out already, community management is all about providing amazing customer service. Use your skills from that mall job you had in high school and be as helpful and caring as you can. Each interaction is another opportunity to show your followers what value your company can provide them.
Use management tools for analytics and insights
There are many analytic tools out there, such as Sprout Social, Facebook Business Manager, Hootsuite, and Buffer. Schedule posts, respond to messages, track audiences and post success – these are just a few of the many things these tools are capable of. Some are free to sign up for while others require a monthly/yearly fee, depending on which version you use. Do your research to find the best fit, but they are definitely worth the investment.
Responding to comments and questions
This one is pretty simple: respond to every question and reply to most comments. In real life, if someone asks you a question in person, you’re not going to ignore it, right? It shouldn’t be any different when you’re online. You also want to respond to almost every comment. If someone comments on your post using an avocado emoji, a unicorn emoji, and a thumbs up emoji, well, that’s what the ‘like comment’ button is for.
What about negative comments? No one likes when these come along, but they do happen from time to time. You have three options: You can respond in a caring and understanding way and give them a diplomatic answer that doesn’t offend them; you can simply ignore it and hope they go away; or, you can delete it. There is no right answer here—we suggest assessing each situation for what it is and using your best judgment.
Make it personal
Adding personal touches goes a long way with people. When responding to direct messages or comments, always acknowledge the person by their name. By simply starting off with “Hey Stephanie!…”, you open the conversation as a friend, and not some corporate robot. Like we said earlier, it’s all about customer service. Make them feel welcomed and they are bound to stick around.
Utilizing user-generated content is a double win—not only do you have free content that was generated from your very own community but it lets your community know that you’re paying attention to them. This makes things more meaningful and will likely inspire others to post about your brand in hopes of getting reposted/retweeted as well.
Interacting with influencers (and potential influencers)
Influencer marketing is a billion dollar market and will continue to grow. It’s the newest and coolest way of getting the word out about your brand. Whether an influencer has 10,000 followers or 5 million followers, utilizing the passion and power of these larger and smaller influencers can be extremely beneficial in creating brand awareness and potential sale opportunities. Take the time to research potential candidates that might be a good fit. Identify these thought leaders within your industry and amongst your community and take the time to build and develop a relationship with them.
So there you have it. Although there are plenty other of Social media community management guidelines out there, these are the ones we feel you should focus on first.