Community Management 2.0: 8 tips
The ideal social media community manager knows his target audience from the inside out and can tell which content and formats perform well within the brand’s online community. He engages with his community on social networks, in forums and on review platforms. Next to listening, answering questions and moderating conversations, community management is all about creating content that stimulates interaction and involvement. Importantly, he also closely monitors everything that is happening on social media and keeps internal stakeholders informed. In short, the community manager is the voice of the organisation, but also the eyes and ears.
Community management is a diverse function that requires a good strategy, a good engagement and monitoring tool and cooperation with the rest of the organisation. With the next 8 steps you can take your community management to an even higher level!
1. Create social media guidelines
Communication on social media, like on any other communication channel, should be in line with the corporate values and goals of the organisation. The public character of online media, such as Facebook and Twitter, makes it even more crucial for companies to communicate in a consistent way. Therefore you should set up social media guidelines that define how to communicate on social networks, which tone of voice should be used and how to deal with inquiries, comments, complaints and compliments. What do you react to and what should be ignored? How do you behave in a crisis situation? When should things be escalated to other departments? In addition to the rules of conduct, the Social Media Guidelines also contain strategic questions regarding goals, KPIs and use of the individual platforms.
2. Understand the characteristics of your social media community
In order to build long-term relationships, keep fans and followers happy and communicate successfully, the community manager should know his community well. Start with looking at the demographics and interests. What are common characteristics and what are differences within the group. As a next step, analyze the behaviour of individual members of the digital community. Who reacts a lot to posts, who has a lot of followers? This analysis helps you identify influencers and potential brand ambassadors that can help you grow your audience even more. It’s common practice to add these individuals to an influencer list, so that you have them at hand and can reach out to them for marketing activities and campaigns.
3. Keep an overview of FAQs and complaints
It is also important to keep a good overview of frequently asked questions and complaints. These should be shared regularly with other departments as they provide important input for service and product improvements. Also keep track of who has complained several times already and what has been discussed? Have other channels been used to contact you? What was discussed there and which colleague handled the case? This type of information should be available at all times and easy to retrieve, so that the customer can be helped quickly and competently. This can be achieved by using a customer engagement tool with an integrated social CRM feature that stores customer information and call history across all channels.
4. Help users on the channel on which they contacted you
Community managers receive many questions, comments and complaints from users on a daily basis. Today’s consumers expect companies to help them on the channel that they used for their initial inquiry. Forwarding someone from Facebook to customer support via email or phone causes a break in communication that can be perceived as negative. For this reason, it is important that customer service works in the same engagement tool as the community manager, unless it is the community manager himself who is responsible for responding to customer inquiries.
5. Look beyond your own social media accounts
Not everything that is shared on social media about your company, your brand and your products takes place on your corporate accounts. For a complete overview of what’s happening around your company, it’s necessary to monitor relevant keywords, such as your company name, network-wide. In this way, you can proactively intervene in discussions or alert customer service when you see comments and questions that should not be left unanswered. Read more about the benefits of proactive service in our blog.
Monitoring relevant keywords on social networks, is also a great way to discover sales opportunities. For example a telecom provider could look at search terms that imply that someone’s subscription will soon expire. A quick search of the term ‘subscription’ in combination with ‘expiration’ or ‘expires’ can already yield a number of serious opportunities.
6. Automate answers to frequently asked questions
Timely responses to customer enquiries are becoming increasingly important, especially on social media where discussions take place in public and can easily escalate if not handled well. For companies with thousands of fans, followers and customers this can be a big challenge. Even if they are customer centric and would like to help everyone at the same time, resources are often limited. A good solution for efficient and customer friendly community management is to automate answers to simple questions, e.g. with pre-defined answers or chatbots. By having chatbots answer simple, recurring questions, you have more time for real community interaction and creative content creation. And the good thing is, that innovative chatbot platforms let you build a chatbot completely by yourself, without the need to code. Most important in building a chatbot is your knowledge of the community and how to communicate with your target audience. Want to know more about how to build a chatbot? Read this article.
7. Create unique and engaging content for your online community
We all love funny cat videos, but that doesn’t mean you should post them on your company’s social media account. Social media content should be in line with corporate goals and values and inspire your community. You should regularly analyze which content is causing a lot of engagement, i.e. likes, shares and comments and constantly improve your community management strategy.
By monitoring current topics and trends on social networks, you can collect important input for your content planning and make sure that you are talking about topics that are actually relevant for your community.
Also check when your community is most active and decide based on your findings when to post your content. Are you seizing the peak moment or waiting for a more quiet period?
8. Keep internal stakeholders informed
Social media today is the place where opinions are expressed and shared non-stop. It is the place where crises as well as new trends and movements arise. Therefore, it is important that different departments within a company are kept up to date about the current events on social media. The community manager should regularly create reports for marketing, PR and the CRM team. The exchange of information and close cooperation, for example during a social media crisis, is an integral part of professional community management.
A good example an efficient approach is that of the communications team at the Medical Centre Leeuwarden. In crisis situations, different roles are divided among the team and one person is directly responsible for monitoring incoming messages on social media. Read more about this success story!
As you can see, the role of community manager comes with great responsibilities and a big variety of tasks. Having an overview of what is happening on the social channels and keeping everything under control at all times is crucial for the success of the entire company.
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