You’re probably familiar with the term community management but do you really know what it means and how it affects your brand?
At its simplest, community management is your brand’s online voice. Like an actual person with a real personality, behind genuine interactions, it should be consistent, compelling and uniquely yours. By engaging with your customers, actively listening to the internet and participating in discussions that relate to your brand, community management ultimately brings your brand to life.
Community management doesn’t happen when you make a post, it happens in the responses and interactions you have after and outside of when a post is made.
Why is it important?
In short, community management allows us to:
- Provide support and handle customer complaints
- Showcase your brand
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Turn customers into your biggest advocates
- Win over prospective customers or clients
- Network with other brands, influencers or partners
- Get direct, valuable feedback
- Increase engagement opportunities for better post visibility
- Own conversations by being the coolest person in the comments section
The 5 Pillars of Community Management
Below, you’ll find the key pillars of community management along with examples of brands that really nail them.
1. Customer Care
Customer care involves social media monitoring, social listening, analysing your audience’s behavior and gaining consumer feedback to improve existing relationships. Taking a real, transparent and educated approach with your customers at all times shows that not only you value your company but that you also value them.
Example: OPTUS receives complaints daily, but the way they handled the negative responses to their multilingual signage in 2016 made a splash.
Dan handled both the angry and pleased customers with a refreshing and ‘human’ approach. He didn’t shy away from one of the most controversial topics in Australia.
It got everyone talking including the Huffington Post, News.com.au, Dailymail.com, mamamia, and more!
Optus customers and more showed their appreciation by naming him “Australian of the Year,” “Dan for PM” and said he was a “legend” who deserved a pay rise.
Lesson: Be real (and educated) with your customers at all times. Transparency shows value, and could even be a viral marketing strategy.
2. Crisis Management
If an issue spreads across social media, it can cause immeasurable damage to your brand’s reputation if it’s not handled in a timely and strategic manner. At the very least, your audience wants to know what’s going on.
Example: In early 2019, ING Australia Bank experienced a massive crisis. None of their customers could access their money for multiple hours. This left many people stranded with no way to pay for anything.
Lesson: If you don’t have an immediate solution to your problem, ignoring it will only make things worse. Face the crisis head on. Having documented social media policies for your business can help with this.
Identifying and engaging with fans online can turn them into your biggest brand advocates. This validates a job well done for the brand, from product conception to community care.
#NuggsForCarter is an example of what could happen when community management is done right in Fast Food.
By listening and engaging in the right way at the right time on Twitter, Wendy’s sparked a viral movement that resulted in the most retweeted tweet of all time (until just recently). That was over 3.4 million retweets, by the way.
In addition to the year-long nuggfest, Wendy’s also donated $100,000 in Wilkerson’s name to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
Lesson: Engaging with your fans can spark monumental moments. Your brand has a voice, and it isn’t too big to talk to anyone. You might be surprised at the results when you do.
By proactively engaging with customers, prospects and influencers, you can keep conversations alive, drive topics and own discussions.
Go beyond a robotic response and start your own thread in the comments, or jump in on other people’s conversations with playfulness and humour.
A simple post on one of the hottest days this summer turned out to be Netflix ANZ’s most engaging post ever.
The post received over 100K engagements in the form of reactions, comments and shares. Netflix Australia kept the conversation alive by continuing to jump in on other people’s conversations.
Netflix also makes sure to be the #firstcomment on most of their Facebook posts. This is a smart strategy to further drive conversation as well as increase post visibility.
Lesson: Australia is hot. Also, risks are worth taking, especially when they can build brand identity and skyrocket engagement.
5. Measuring and monitoring
The last pillar of community management is to track how your brand is being perceived and receive real, unfiltered feedback from your community. Don’t shy away from what your audience is saying — not all of it will be love!
Research shows that 29% of customers will go to a competitor brand when ignored on social.
More importantly, make sure to respond to more than just questions and complaints; when your community is showing you love, show it right back.
Example: Frank Bod
Frank Body built an empire off social with the combination of a coffee scrub, engaging content, #UGC and, you guessed it, some killer community management.
On any post, you’ll find “Frank” there in the comment section listening to his customer’s conversations, helping to solve their issues or giving back some cheeky love or advice.
Lesson: Engaging beyond complaints, response time and developing a social tone of voice to interact with your customers goes a long way.
How to be unique in a world full of clones
Outstanding community management goes beyond the basics and your audience is likely social savvy; people know when they’ve been given a scripted response. To really nail your strategy:
Find your brand’s voice
Your brand’s voice should be recognisable from afar and should speak to your audience.
Connect on a personal level
Consumers are looking for brands that genuinely want to help them, not just sell to them.
Give your audience something real
To effectively sell your brand on social media; be real, real stories, poke fun at yourself and above all, be genuine.
Now that you have an understanding of what community management is, it’s time to start considering how you can nail it (it can be a full time job!). If community management is high on your priority list, consider chatting to us at Circul8, your friendly Surry Hills Social Media and Creative Agency.
Written by: Kirsten Armour