The Importance of Social Media Community Management
19th Jun, 2020
If you are serious about having an effective and successful social media marketing strategy, it is vital to concentrate on Community Management.
What is Community Management?
Community Management is just a fancy term for "looking after your people". It refers to the process of engaging with the audiences who like and follow your social media pages or comment on the content you publish.
Too many businesses in South Africa have adopted the notion that Social Media platforms are just channels that you load with product and price or content that is always sales related. They then proceed to ignore any forms of engagement they receive from the community that they are actively trying to build.
This approach will never work in the long run. You might miss a comment now and then but a good social media strategy is ultimately about building a community of people who have an interest in the "things that you do or sell". Turning these people into brand advocates then becomes the evolution of the journey.
Community Management is therefore a by-product of Social Media... and it's not going away for a while.
It's great for "real-time information", conversations, latest updates, stories and promotions, giveaways, and general assistance. In the long run, it is also a vital element for driving brand advocacy, and when this happens "word of mouth" becomes your brand annuity.
It assists you to keep your existing customers engaged and can be used to encourage repeat purchases as your customers interact with your brand throughout their user journey. Turning the people who choose to follow your brand into life long customers.
Why is it important to manage your communities?
One of the most effective ways in which to keep your current customers happy and attract new ones is to provide good customer service.
Your social media community consists of a wide range of fans, customers, potential customers, and followers. Amongst this community, there will be certain folks who have a large social media following, and positively engaging with these people (who can also promote your brand's content) can really help to leverage your marketing reach.
Without this strong relationship with your community, it will be very difficult to create a good image for your brand.
A community, by nature, enables information to flow fast but if you really want to ensure that your social media platforms are engaging and relevant, you need to have a detailed plan on how and when to post high-quality content at the right time. This can be managed internally or outsourced to an agency that has people who are trained to do this on your behalf.
When your social media channels have engagement-rich content they stand a far better chance of attracting potential customers as well as keeping your current audience informed and engaged. This effort, however, should be carefully managed if you wish to continue being successful and also gaining more followers,
Building relationships with customers, followers, and fans are essential for every community management strategy and every manager should look at how they best use every available opportunity to interact with their communities on social media outlets.
Feeling a sense of engagement with followers is a great way to manage your target audience and community. This can help to create brand ambassadors who are active on social media platforms and in online chats. An active community is also great to ensure you understand exactly who your target audience is.
A good community manager knows that in this fast-paced world where people expect immediate responses to questions and amazing customer service, that it is important to make sure that your response and reactions to customer engagements are always timeously. Social media managers, therefore, need to respond quickly to any questions, complaints, concerns and general inquiries as this will make people feel valued and important to your brand/business. When brands don't respond fast enough (according to the person posting the query), they will be likely to have a negative impression of the brand and would probably not recommend the brand to family and friends.
Remember that people form opinions of your brand not on facts but on feelings and subjectivity. In addition, since PR and word of mouth is a crucial part of building a trustworthy brand, we recommend focusing strongly on good community management
No one enjoys feeling as if they are simply a number or yet another customer to a business. Customers want to feel valued and important and your social media platforms can help to humanise your brand. This is done by creating a direct and positive connection with your target audience that is personal, professional, and friendly (without being over-familiar). When customers have positive feelings towards a specific brand, they feel more comfortable about approaching them and, ultimately, doing business with it.
The biggest mistake businesses make with their social media strategy is constantly talking about themselves. This is not great if you are trying to drive engagement. A great example of this is retailers who just shove product and price messages all the time.
Interesting and valuable information:
Other forms of engaging content on social are - tips and tricks, interesting articles related to specific products and service, Latest updates, How your products add value to the users.
User-generated content and modern customers often read online reviews before deciding to make a purchase. Encouraging your customers to write reviews is, therefore, a great idea. But what if you receive some negative reviews? Well, all is not lost if you receive one or two negative reviews, it's how you manage your response to the negative reviews that matter (your community will see this). A basic gauge to tell when you should panic is when you only get negative reviews. All businesses will get bad reviews at some stage but the idea is to maintain a more positive review sentiment from your customers.
Another important aspect of effective social media community management. This is because it gives your website users and customers the power to talk about what is on their minds, ask you questions, and engage with you. The bigger this community of people who generate content grows, the more they engage with each other (and not just you), and become true brand ambassadors. With a large group of folks discussing your brand online, this helps to build credibility and a positive image for your brand.
Types of content to focus on:
With social media being about discussions and back and forth engagement, your content should never give the impression that it is talking at your audience. This dehumanises your brand and approach and you will be overlooked as a business that is worth buying from. Modern customers enjoy collaborating and conversing with brands on social media platforms and this has the benefit of helping you to understand your target audience more (what do they really want? is there a need for something that I don’t yet provide?).
A brand’s content strategy assists in bringing forth the general idea, ethos, and intent of a brand. Without interesting, relevant, and engaging content, it is very difficult to manage your community. Since community management is all about educating the public about your brand, if you cannot gain their attention, your digital marketing strategy is all but useless. Building relationships forms a huge part of community management and if you have strong and positive dealings with your target audience, you are helping to foster a respectful, loyal and trustworthy reputation for your brand in the long run. As you can tell, this is not done overnight, but over a long period of happy and professional dealings with your customers and potential customers.
Remember, the meaning of social media. It is named exactly this, to encourage people to socialise.