Social media community management is the process of building an authentic community by establishing a space for customers, employees, and partners to interact. Giving brands the opportunity to have meaningful interactions with their audience and create a network in which they can connect, share, and flourish.
“Customer experience also referred to as customer service has long been a focus when transactions are face to face, but the same can’t be said for online transactions,” Jessica, Communications Director, Oraco.
A community space increases engagement with a brand as customers have a place to share their thoughts, reviews and ask questions. When you engage with your audience you create a sense of belonging and a network of like-minded people who can connect based on their shared interests and/ or goals. “If you choose to invest in community management, your business can transform from an average brand to a personified brand. One that is interested in their audience’s needs and willing to connect, support, and work with them,” Kelsey, Social Media Manager, Oraco.
This allows for the brand to be approachable and welcome interaction.
What does social media community management achieve?
Creating a relationship with consumers has many benefits, including increasing consumer value. Once an audience feels noticed and appreciated by a brand, they will be more inclined to remain loyal, interact and become reoccurring customers.
However, social media community management brings benefits that also stem beyond purchases of a product or service. It opens an opportunity to learn more about consumers, including key insights, demographics, wants, and needs. Having a better understanding of consumer insights allows for informed decision-making when it comes to future planning, defining changing target markets, and executing your brand’s overall goals.
“It takes two to tango, and two parties to create a relationship, and through an effective community management strategy, you can both benefit from these relationships,” Kelsey, Social Media Manager, Oraco. Through community engagement, consumers can support a business, equally as much as the business can support the consumer.
How to implement community management
To start we recommend you work on implementing a communication strategy, how quickly would you like to reply to your consumers? what will your tone of voice be? Is there some information you would rather send via email? Will you check messages every day or on a rotating roster? Will you have a list of frequently asked questions to refer to? Will you set up an automatic reply for when you’re away? Do you have any goals? Community management can be sustained rather simply by firstly putting in the time and effort to establish a community management strategy and routine. Making these decisions early on will set you up with a structure, and help set expectations for yourself, your staff (if anyone supports you with community management), and your consumers.
Once you have your strategy you can work on your schedule, actioning community management at your chosen times. Checking for messages and notifications can be done efficiently using Facebook’s, Business Suite. This platform allows you to view see all account interactions from Facebook and Instagram at a glance, checking Facebook
Business Suite can take only a few minutes and allows you to maximise your time. 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference to your community, so try to make the most of your time. “Being able to engage with your audience simply and quickly could make it a more enjoyable exercise for a busy business owner,” Kelsey, Social Media Manager, Oraco.
An FAQs document can also help you to be more proactive when it comes to answering questions in a timely manner. This can also easily be shared with anyone else on the team.
We’ve developed a template for you to use here. Simply click File -> Make a copy and then you will have your own version to work from.
Tips and tricks
Responding to messages, comments and interactions promptly and consistently show your audience that they are important to you. So, checking messages first thing in the morning, and before the end of the day will increase consistency and response rates.
We encourage you to create a set of answers for frequently asked questions to assist you whilst conducting community management. This can help you increase effectiveness and efficiency when engaging online. Creating a template for responses to these questions and comments will allow for quicker response times, minimising writing and formatting each answer and removing the risk of missing out on important details. If you have support in this area, this will also ensure that all information provided to consumers is balanced and correct.
Online personalisation is another effective, yet simple way to show consumers that you care about them and will take time to assist them online and offline. Employing personalisation in your community management strategy can be as simple as using the consumer’s first name in conversations and signing off with your own name at the end. This allows the consumer the experience of speaking to a ‘real person’ and adds to the expectation of real support from your brand.
You can read more about the customer experience in our recent blog, ‘Customer Experience: Blending the Online and Offline’.
Putting it to practice
Be authentic! Community engagement does not always have to be super formal and structured. Keep in mind, you are messaging another person at the end of the day, so normal human interaction is key, and can open up the transaction to a real conversation. You never know what you can get from 1 conversation with a consumer, or what your audience can really offer you.
As mentioned in our blog, ‘Social Media: A Tool for Customer Care’ too often, comments, questions, and inquiries are not responded to, direct messages are ignored, reviews aren’t acknowledged, or businesses take several days to answer. This practice is not appealing from a consumer’s point of view. Having set times during the week to check in with your community can help you avoid the above. Keeping up to date with community management is crucial to meet consumer expectations a short but sweet response is better than no response at all.
There has never been a brand that hasn’t received negative comments, this is a part of freedom of speech and opinion. You won’t tick everyone’s boxes and that’s okay! Try replying to negative comments in a way that represents your brand values and encourages positive conversation. Although a message might be hurtful or frustrating, try replying with a mature, confident response whilst respecting the feedback. View negative feedback as constructive feedback, switching to this mindset can help position yourself to respond in a way you won’t later regret.
To learn more about how to manage negative feedback and trolls, click here to read our blog on “Online Trolls and How to Manage Them.”
Once you have established a strategy, a routine, and have put it to practice then you can leverage all the benefits of building an online community. Welcoming messages can enable business growth and a better understanding of consumers’ wants and needs. Taking the time to engage with consumers and other stakeholders can increase value. All the reasons as to why we love community management.
Remember to have fun with your audience!
If you need support in this area reach out to us for more information on our services for community and reputation management.