Whether you have an established online presence or are just starting your ride into the realm of social media marketing, it’s essential to set up social community management best practices in your social media strategy. So let's start here!
What is Social Community Management?
Community management is the method of building a genuine community among a business’s customers, employees, and partners through a number of types of interaction. It’s how a brand makes use of opportunities (in-person and online) to interact with their audience to create a community in which they can connect, share, and grow.
What is the purpose of Community Management?
If community management is so popular, why is it so undefined? And why is it so necessary for your business to adopt social community management best practices?
In short, social community management is necessary because:
- It permits your business to gather feedback from your audience, whether it be new ideas, complaints, or positive evaluations that can assist you to improve your brand and online presence.
- It gives your business a gateway to supplying help for online members, customers, fans, partners, and more.
- It allows you to learn about your client and how you can better promote your merchandise and serve them through your client service experience.
- It will help your business define what your clients expect of you, both online and offline.
- Social community management best practices will assist you to expand brand awareness throughout the web.
- It allows you to effortlessly build one-on-one relationships with your clients and better foster leads.
- It gives you the capability to provide value to your clients before and past a sale.
- Social community management will improve sales, client interaction, consumer loyalty, brand recognition, product awareness, and conversions.
Social Community Management Best Practices: Building a Strategy
When it comes to developing any type of strategy, it’s essential to have the facts.
I will regularly use data I already have that’s easy to reach to start a preliminary strategy, and then as we develop and proceed to research about the client, we’ll continue fine-tuning the method until we’re seeing the extremely good outcomes we want.
This doesn’t mean your strategy doesn’t need regular fine-tuning, though. We’re frequently fine-tuning our client's strategies throughout the board for better results, however, it’s a start.
Choose a Social Media channel.
The first thing you’ll want to do is select the social media channel on which you’ll manage your community. Think about your target audience’s demographics to determine the best choice for your company — for example, you might choose to focus your efforts on Snapchat if you have a younger target audience, Instagram if you’re going for a wide target audience, or LinkedIn if you’re concentrated on a more professional crowd.
Identify your audience.
So you have a channel picked out, but have yet to truly define your target audience.
Why is it so important to know your audience?
In short, figuring out your target audience will allow you to keep tabs on what they expect as far as interaction, content, and what they like when it comes to brands they follow on social media.
By doing this research beforehand, you can collect the data you need to tailor the content your target audience will enjoy on YOUR feed for better results.
Ask your audience what type of content they want to see.
If you want to make sure that you’re sending out a message that your target audience really WANTS to see, don’t be afraid to ask them what that entails.
Above all else, you want your content to be interesting and relevant to your audience, so if it means asking some difficult questions and making some changes, it’s really worth it in the long run.
And THAT is an active social community management best practice.
How will you measure success?
Now it’s time to determine how you’ll identify your success. There’s no right or wrong answer here — this is completely based on what matters to you and your company. Ask yourself, “what’s best for my brand?”
- Here are some examples of success identifiers you may pick to focus on:
- Boost in target audience members/ increase in followers
- Number of conversation members in a live chat or discussion
- Amount of content shared or liked by your followers
- Overall engagement (likes, shares, mentions, hashtags, messages, comments)
- Increase in brand awareness
- Increase in client satisfaction and retention
- Traffic that’s directed to your website
- Boost your income and conversions
As long as achieving your goals doesn’t turn out to be a blind race for the finish line, you’re on a right track.
YES, it’s vitally important to set goals, however, don’t let yourself get discouraged if you fall short of the mark. Give yourself some time to make adjustments, (like I said before) and be patient. Even good strategies and great content can take some time to percolate and get out there.
Don’t take this as an open invitation NOT to set goals, though. Having *attainable*, smart goals are essential to the success of your brand. If you don’t have goals, you won’t know to make changes or even throw the strategy out completely.
Instead of blindly setting a goal and getting discouraged, try this instead: track ALL of your engagement for a brief period, perhaps 5-7 weeks, and then find out what the average engagement used to be for every metric and then amplify it by five.
If you obtained one hundred likes in two weeks, two to make 50 followers a week into 60 and step by step expand your goals with your growth.
If you set achievable goals, you’ll get discouraged much less and feel more empowered to create greater and better strategies for bigger, higher, and faster results!
Regular posting + Frequent engagement = Success
If you’re looking to be successful on social media, it’s VITALLY essential that you post frequently and embrace usual engagement.
This is because success requires consistency. People require and admire consistency. It’s even less complicated to track your development when you’re consistent.
Social media is an effective tool in terms of connecting with and engaging your audience, especially if your target audience knows you’re reliable and they understand they can expect to see your content at specific times.
Because of this need for consistency and connection, clients are drawn to brands that are careful and take the time to reply to each and EVERY comment, question, and issue with the utmost care and attention.
Even if you don’t think a comment always warrants a response, simply letting your client know that YES you noticed their comment and that you respect their insight/praise/input is important.
If a client comments and tags anyone else, you have an even larger chance to influence two people at once with one comment.
Measure your results.
Now it’s time to measure your results. Remember, when it comes to measuring your success on social, you shouldn’t always get hung up on the quantitative statistics — numbers don't always reflect all of your efforts accurately, or the sense of belonging you’re creating for your community members. Additionally, you hardly ever see instantaneous outcomes when it comes to your social media efforts — figuring out your target audience, building a following, and getting to know how to reach your clients on a particular platform takes time.
To measure your results, decide on the approach that works best for your needs, goals, and company. Here are a few ways to do this.
Social listening: Social listening is the technique of monitoring your social media accounts to look for and keep track of all mentions, client feedback, keywords, and discussions associated with your brand, products, services, and clients (even your competitors, too). You then take a deeper look at all of these matters to analyze them and acquire insight into what’s working for your clients and followers, and what must be modified.
Platform analytics: Depending on the social platform you selected for your community management strategy, there might be a built-in analytics tool for you to measure your success in phrases of variables specific to that platform. Examples include Twitter Analytics, Instagram Insights, and Facebook Analytics.
Integrating Social Community Management Best practices:
Set community rules and guidelines.
When it comes to something associated with your business, it’s likely fair to assume you want it to characterize you properly and serve as an accurate portrayal of your brand. Your community is no exception. Therefore, you’re going to want to set community rules and guidelines for all participants and contributors (including your team members who are managing the community).
Depending on your kind of community, how you go about placing your community rules and guidelines may also differ. However, right here are some examples of ways to create these guidelines to help you get started.
Create a written record with your expectations for the way all members are expected to communicate, behave, and contribute. Then, share that record with your team and community members when they join.
If you have a forum, FAQ document, or community website, you can also make this record available at all times to participants there. If your community meets in person, review these important points face-to-face and think about handing out a printed copy to set expectations.
Have a method for your team members to increase any important problem inside your community to the proper character at your company so they can control it appropriately.
Be certain to update your rules and guidelines as needed (as your community grows, changes, etc.).
Check on your community regularly.
If your customers, team members, partners, and possible clients don’t feel like they’ve been heard, had their questions answered, or are worried about your approach, something isn’t right.
As a social community manager, it’s your duty to make sure everything is flowing and running as easily as possible.
Potential clients should be getting the solutions they want to push them along the buyer's journey.
Past clients should be getting rewards or getting solutions about their product and their reviews.
Current clients should be getting THEIR questions answered, their comments must be getting acknowledged and they have to feel heard, no matter what they had to say.
In the end, it doesn’t depend on what KIND of community you manage. What matters is that you’re doing your best to check in on your members and giving them what they need to feel supported, comfortable, and heard.
You need to be genuine whilst managing any kind of community. When your customers, fans, followers, and leads come to your community, they should immediately understand it’s yours based on distinct factors like your branding and voice. And no matter the kind of interaction, being authentic and human is imperative whether or not you’re behind a screen or face-to-face. After all, one of the most important motives you’re creating a community is to make sure your members feel valued.
Since community management requires so much considerate interaction with members, listening is crucial. Whether it’s social listening, reviewing your forum and FAQ pages regularly, or responding to in-person and online feedback, listening is how you’ll improve your community to the best of your ability. It also indicates your target audience and members you value their opinions, hear what they have to say, and care about their experiences inside your community.
A large part of managing a successful community is showing appreciation for your members. This will help you build brand loyalty and have confidence between you and your members. It also indicates your members how much you value their time and commitment to your brand — remember, some of your community members are most probably also some of your most invested, supportive, and loyal fans, followers, and clients already.
To make certain you’re showing appreciation when necessary, you can try the following techniques depending on the kind of community you have.
Interact with all-new community participants as soon as they join — say, “Thank you and welcome!” and ask them what you can do to make their journey a great one.
Pay attention to who your biggest community contributors are (keep a record with their names, emails, etc.). This way you can send them swag or give them a shout out for just being awesome.
Invite your ambassadors and brand advocates to your office to meet your team and give them a behind the scenes look at your operation.
Keep an eye out for mentions, keywords, and hashtags, on your forum, social media platforms, community website, and more so you’re capable to interact with those people to show your appreciation and the human factor behind your community.
Maintain your brand voice at all times.
Similar to what we reviewed about the importance of authenticity, keeping your brand’s voice at all times is vital when it comes to community management. This is a giant part of what makes your community special as well as ensures your community is identifiable to your individuals and audience.
No matter how many people are working in your community, make certain they recognize your brand voice so they can help you keep it throughout all interactions, engagement, and content. One way to make this an easier process is by tying your community back to your company’s marketing goals and/ or collaborate with your marketing department. It’ll keep your messaging and interactions targeted as well as push you to maintain your brand voice.
Explore new approaches to interact with your community.
You always want to be engaging your community — but what happens if there are adjustments in your industry, your company’s products or services are significantly updated, or your members request new kinds of content?
To maintain your community up to date, always explore new methods to engage your members, whether that’s online or in-person (depending on your kind of community). You can also engage participants as soon as they join to continue gaining knowledge of your audience, what they prefer from you, and what made them be part of your community — this will additionally assist you to learn about new methods to interact with them.
At this point, you may be thinking about how to get all of this work started — where to start with your community management strategy efforts at your company if you haven’t carried out any work associated with the area before.
The common first step businesses take when spearheading their community management plan and strategy is to decide whether or not they want to appoint a community manager.
Start building your community
Community management is a new, but powerful, industry. By implementing a community management strategy at your company, you’ll be capable to create a secure location for your customers, fans, employees, and followers to collaborate, supply you with feedback, bond, and learn.
This will help you build brand loyalty, increase conversions and sales, and show the people who matter most to your success a human side to your brand that they can relate to. So, get started by reviewing your alternatives for kinds of community management to incorporate at your company, creating a strategy, and deciding whether or not a community manager is a next hire you want to make.