Social feeds provide a constant stream of content, 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 insights to 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 immediately loses an opportunity to connect with its target 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 asks questions, adds value to conversations and owns the space it specializes in. Whether you’re a consumer or a marketer, what makes a lasting impression is the meaningful content that you share to connect with others. But how can you achieve those meaningful connections? It’s all about community management.
What is Community Management?
Community management is exactly what it sounds like. It’s engaging with your community on social media in a timely manner by responding to comments and questions, liking posts, sharing valuable content and overall fulfilling the needs of your online audience. It’s all about fostering relationships and engaging not only your current followers, but also your target audience. Social media community management is an essential element in your marketing and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Community management has three parts to it. The first is listening to the internet. Second includes engaging in industry-related topics and trends. The third and last part requires 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.
Community management requires your brand to practice social listening. Tools like Meltwater and SparkToro are built specifically for social listening and offer metrics around social conversations your brand is trying to tap into. Online community management starts with a bit of research on what your customer is interested in when scrolling through his/her social channels. By incorporating social listening into your community management strategy, you’ll likely spread more brand awareness and turn potential customers into active brand participants.
Why Does Community Management Matter?
Aside from the additional insight you learn about your audience, community management is important for six main reasons:
The internet is an evolving space that changes every single day – and your brand is not immune to change. 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 being “in the know,” providing actionable insights, rather than being a sideline observer. This shows you’re running at the same pace as the trends that come and go, establishing you as a relevant brand that is a valuable resource.
Social users nowadays are all too aware of the fake news accounts that troll online forums. Information, knowledge and advice add legitimacy to your brand, and your opinion becomes more valuable the more conversations you contribute to. A way to be recognized 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 where people will feel confident to refer back to.
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 behavior of your audience and involve yourself in their interests. What do they engage with online and who do they follow? Humanizing your brand includes being open and connecting with your audience through authentic conversation. 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. Authenticity is what converts a one-time buyer to a brand loyal customer.
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 on your corporate social channels. Remember, self-serving content will only get you so far. 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 brand’s reputation through thought leadership. A member of a brand’s upper leadership team often serves well as a micro-influencer for a brand by vouching for a brand’s credibility while also being a more personable resource. This can be achieved by having your brand’s CEO post about your brand’s new product release, upcoming event or recent blog post on their personal Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
5. Share of Mind
When you search something online, you likely immediately go to “Google it” without thinking about the other search engines out there because Google 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 that 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 awareness online as you start to build a more varied group of followers who are interested in what you have to say.
How to Utilize Community Management
To get started with incorporating more community management into your marketing strategy, 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 on each social platform your brand is targeting. 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, such as getting involved in online events or contributed content. The right message to the right person at the right place and time always applies after all.
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. Setting measurable and valuable KPIs is key.
It’s Time to 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?
Social media management requires more than posting self-promotional content, such as product and service announcements. It’s all about building relationships and creating a loyal following. If you don’t feel confident in executing a management strategy, then let’s get in contact and chat about our community management service. Our team of experts can craft a community management strategy for your campaigns, especially to help your brand come out of this pandemic on top.