Social feeds are continuously being added to, and users are getting even more picky about what, and who, they interact with. Think about it, you’re more likely to pay attention to a brand if they add valuable and interesting insight onto your timeline, right? No matter how unique or out-of-this-world a product is, if the brand doesn’t have the personality to go with it, it’s immediately lost an opportunity to connect with its audience. Users online are becoming more aware of the content they’re being served – they know a sales pitch when they see one. That’s why today, more than ever, it’s important to have a multi-dimensional voice online – one that questions, adds value to conversations and owns the space it specialises in. Whether you’re a consumer or a marketer, what makes a lasting impression is the meaningful content that you connect with. But how can you achieve those meaningful connections? It’s all about community management.
What is community management?
Community management is part listening to the internet, part engaging in industry-related topics, trends, and part joining online discussions that relate to your brand. It’s not uncommon to see self-serving brands shout into the void and unsurprisingly, not get much engagement back. This is because they’re not part of their audience’s community, nor are they joining those important conversations.
Why does community management matter?
Aside from the additional insight you learn about your audience, community management is important for six main reasons:
1. Relevancy – The internet is an evolving space that changes every single day – and your brand is no exception to that. You need a way to keep up with the overload of information your followers are constantly being served. One way to do this is by adding your opinion to a trending conversation. This puts your brand in the midst of all the action, firmly positioning you as “in the know” rather than a side-line observer. This shows that you’re running at the same pace as the trends that come and go, establishing you as a brand who is always on it.
2. Credibility – Social users nowadays are all too well aware of the ‘fake news’ accounts that troll online forums. Information, knowledge and advice adds legitimacy to your brand, and your opinion becomes more valuable the more conversations you contribute to. A way to be recognised as an expert within your field is to act as though you already are; take the consultative approach. Why is this step so important for your social strategy? Scrollers stay loyal to brands they trust and adding credibility to your brand creates a space which people will feel confident to refer back to.
3. Humanise – Automated responses are less likely to create an impression with your audience, just like they wouldn’t resonate very effectively with you. Emotive language is key in coming across as human, real and genuine. Ask questions, pay attention to the behaviour of your audience and involve yourself in their interests. What do they engage with online and who do they follow? Humanising your brand includes being open and connecting with your audience – personal, real relationships hold longevity online, so make sure to speak like a human, not a corporate robot and the right people will start to notice.
4. Thought leadership – It’s so easy to fall into the trap of only talking about your products, your brand, or how unique your services are; but remember, self-serving content will only get you so far. By involving yourself in relevant industry conversations and providing thought-provoking insights puts you firmly in a position of leadership. It’s worth establishing the key evangelist within your company who will become the go-to person to advocate your business through thought leadership.
5. Share of mind – When you search something online, you immediately go to ‘Google it’ without thinking about the other search engines that are on offer because Google’s dominates its industry so effectively, right? This is an example of having a strong share of mind. The idea here is that by associating yourself with specific topics relating to your brand online, consumers will subconsciously start associating your brand with that area.
6. Relationship building – Think of the comments section as a virtual room which gives you the perfect platform to speak directly to a key decision maker that you wouldn’t have otherwise come in contact with. The more conversations you have online, the more relationships you are building with your prospective customers. Use this opportunity to better understand what your customers are looking for and their current pain points. This in turn grows your brand online as you start to build a more varied group of followers who are interested in what you have to say.
How to utilise community management
To get started with community management, we recommend following the 3-step rule:
Step 1: Monitor
Look at keywords, hashtags, news stories, influencers and trends that are being discussed in your industry. Find out who is mentioning and engaging with your brand. Work out who the key social ambassadors are within the company and suggest communities for them to join online. According to Hootsuite, LinkedIn found that employees of a company tend to have 10 times more followers than the company itself, so don’t pass up the opportunity to get your brand noticed on a free platform.
Step 2: Engage
Effective community management is all about being proactive: share content, join LinkedIn groups, reply to comments and find conversations to join. Consider avenues of engagement other than social media, for example in the B2B space, many influencers publish articles in online magazines – you never know who’s reading!
Step 3: Measure
Ensure you are documenting and reporting on your conversations, likes, and reshares. Consider metrics such as the number of followers you had before you added community management to your social strategy, compared to the first month you implemented this step. What does your audience engage with more? Polls or video content? These are important questions to ask yourself when examining your community management efforts.
It’s time to sit up and pay attention
According to Statista, 44% of the world is spending more time on social media. Now, more than ever perhaps, is the time to pay attention to what your followers are talking about – so how can you add value to their timeline?
If you would like to chat to us about how to create a community management strategy for your campaigns, we’d love to hear from you.