Community management is more than “small talk”. One of the core tasks for successful social media marketing is to set up and maintain an active online community. This will help you build a sustainable relationship with your audience. Each discussion will improve your news feed algorithm and help you increase your reach. Our article will show you what the main tasks in community management are and give you 8 tips that will help coordinate communication with your followers.
To-do’s for Community Management
For a holistic community management keep the following tasks in mind:
1. Build a Community
One of your main tasks is to build up a communicative reach. Create interest in your product offer and advertise on all relevant social media platforms.
2. Stay in Touch with your Community
Remember to constantly stay in touch with your community. Your followers are looking for value that your product offers them. Create value by uploading content with personal relevance to build an emotional connection with your audience. You can create various content types to address different needs of your community:
- Humor: Memes, GIFs, viral videos, entertaining pictures and stories etc.
- Information: checklists, how-to’s, guides, tips and tricks etc.
- News: News, content on current events, product updates etc.
- Emotions: moving stories, moving pictures and videos etc.
- People: community actions, calls for commitment, etc.
3. Keep an Overview of your Conversations
Monitoring and analysis are a must for every interaction across your community. This will help you to keep the overview in fast moving online communities and to interact in critical situations right away. Furthermore, this allows you to identify relevant topics and current trends in your community. Reporting allows you to review your interactions, track achievements and failures. Plus, you can improve your communication strategy.
4. Between Company and Community
As Community-Manager, you are the voice of your company on the one hand and a part of the community on the other. Online communities allow you to engage directly with your followers. You will be responsible for simple support and direct customer requests. Benefit from the proximity to your community to learn more about their needs to optimize your social-media-strategy.
8 Tips to improve your Community Management
Communicating with your social audience is a challenging task. Every day you have to react to a number of comments, direct messages, user posts or shares via different social media platforms and profiles. The following tips will help you to keep track of your community management.
1. React in Time
Especially in today’s fast moving social networks, users tend to be rather impatient. Make sure to respond to comments and requests from your community as soon as possible. If people have to wait a lot or don’t get any feedback, they feel like they aren’t being taken seriously. Users can quickly lose interest, which can have a negative effect on your engagement and retention.
On several social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram, the response time is displayed for users. This also influences the expectation of a timely response.
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2. Define Responsibilities
In a team, you have to make sure that responsibilities are clearly defined. In this way you determine who interacts on your social media platforms, responds to posts and acts as a contact person. This will allow you to avoid disagreements within the team and ensure that all communication requirements, such as short response times, will be met.
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3. Sum up your FAQs
Summarize typical questions in a fixed list of questions. This way you will be well-prepared for all questions from your community and will be able to react faster. Try not always to use the same wording or phrases and avoid copy & paste. Use linguistic variants and personal salutations for individual and varied answers. Referring to the relevant FAQ section at the end of your messages will ensure that you provide a comprehensive answer to a question.
4. Interact with your Community
Questions and problems are not the only parts of community management. Communicate proactively with your community and use the dialogue to improve engagement and growth. User-specific content such as surveys and polls encourage interaction with your audience. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and express your company’s opinion openly. Discussions with your followers will help increase engagement with your community. Good monitoring will help you create target group relevant content. Ensure a constant interaction with your followers in order to improve a sustainable retention with your customers.
Starbucks uses user-generated content to promote its own product based on posts from their community. Invite your followers to share pictures on a specific topic and post them to your account. This will help expand your reach and strengthen the relationship to your community.
It is especially important for the interaction in community management to ask questions. The Swedish payment provider Klarna also uses this strategy to increase engagement with their followers.
Once your community grows, community management becomes more complex and time-consuming. A tool will guarantee you structured work and will give you a constant overview of all interactions in your community. Tools such as Fanpage Karma allow you to organize your social media profiles by profile groups, e.g. by responsibilities or customers. All messages, comments, mentions or e-mails will be sent to your inbox and can be edited by you and your team. Thatis way you can manage incoming requests without losing track of what’s going on.
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6. Provide Clear Rules
Establish clear rules to ensure respectful interaction and equal communication within your community. Consistent wording and clear statements will help you to deal with critical issues confidently – verbal abuse and discrimination will not be permitted. Setting clear rules will help you create a positive atmosphere among your community. Fixed internal rules of communication will prevent misunderstandings within the team and set a clear framework for your corporate communication. The social network Facebook, for example, has also defined framework conditions – community standards – to provide a set way of communicating with each other.
7. Show Empathy
It is important to listen to your followers and make your community feel understood. Accepting feedback helps you understand your community and improve your communication and social media presence. It is important that you respond individually to comments and feedback. Critical comments and suggestions from your followers should be discussed with your team to improve your online presence. Even with all the rules, you should remain easygoing and reflect your empathy with funny, emotional or self-ironic content.
The American video game console system Xbox is a good example of this. On Twitter the company offers an extra Account called Xbox support. This enables customers to send comments, criticism or direct requests to the service team via social media. 1.5 million followers clearly stand for the success of their feedback offer and the transparent and empathic way the company deals with its community.
8. Know how to deal with Criticism
There are different opinions wherever people meet. Therefore, it is important to keep calm, avoid blind activism and to discuss and plan actions in advance within your team. A well thought-out crisis management will help you keep an overview of difficult situations. Sometimes, there is nothing left to do than accept criticism or differences of opinion. You have to react carefully and try to maintain a respectful attitude. Try to neutralize upcoming criticism by remaining as objective, friendly and solution-oriented as possible. There is unfortunately no ultimate solution here. Criticism is a part of online communication and in a crisis you need good crisis management to win back your community.
The advertising campaign of the fashion group H&M from 2018 is an example of this. Here the Swedish company used a black boy to advertise a children’s sweater saying “Coolest monkey in the jungle”. The combination of the inscription and the boy’s skin colour caused an outrage among their community. H&M reacted immediately. They completely removed the advertisement as well as the sweater from all H&M platforms and the company gave an official apology. Such a shitstorm can have a huge impact on your community despite quick action and can have long-lasting effects. Don’t let this example put you off! Keep in mind that you always have to expect criticism, react directly and according to the situation try not to provoke a Shitstorm.
Community management is an efficient way to interact with your audience and represent your company. Permanent contact with your community is a valuable way to establish and expand the relationship with your audience in a sustainable and long-term way. Taking care of a community can be time-consuming and complex, but it enables you to optimize your social media presence and improve your reach and engagement. Use community management to get in touch with your followers, improve your knowledge of them and increase your retention.