With the rise of social media marketing, the demand for dedicated social media community management grows; but what is it and how does it work?

A community manager is an increasingly vital role for effectively managing social media accounts. Controlling the day-to-day operations of the online experience across multiple social channels is no small task, and one that is often a missed opportunity for improving reputation, experience and customer advocacy. With a direct connection to many different, and important audiences, community managers also are indirect brand ambassador - engaging with potential customers, building relationships with existing customers, and encouraging the advocates to talk to each other.

Social media is a fluid industry, and because of this, a community manager specialist can be incredibly valuable. Taking on the responsibility of staying up to date with the latest social trends, rules, and opportunities and all while providing confident, professional and timely responses to anything thrown their way.

Focus areas for community managers: 

  • Reporting on performance and measuring the level or quality of engagement
  • Gauging sentiment around their brand
  • Providing insights based on statistics and customer feedback
  • Using listening tools to monitor share of voice, share of audience and any risk indicators for early crisis management
  • Identifying new ways to engage on each platform, aligned with company or brand strategy

Community management

When it comes to community management, it’s not simply about championing the brand, but also listening to customers and their valuable feedback. Gaining a more in depth understanding of social audience and what they want, can provide more chances of attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.

It’s best to not think of community management or social media in general as a separate element of a business, instead think about how community management integrates into part of your everyday client experience and your strategic planning process. If left as an afterthought, you run the risk of audiences feeling unappreciated, unheard or misunderstood that can lead to further damage offline, or spiral into negative chatter online that encourage more of this same sentiment.

Community management enables social media and business operations to be interrelated - ensuring business objectives correlate with the social media plan and the social media community is properly defined.  For those brands and businesses who seek to build out a strong social media presence, there are a few aspects to consider when creating a successful community management environment.

1.         Implement an effective escalation process

Social media crises are bound to happen and can have a negative impact on a brand. While negative chatter can start elsewhere, having a crisis plan that includes social media is crucial to addressing customers in the chance of an unforeseen event and is an important aspect of community management. Having an effective escalation process in place (that is also documented) is a good way to quickly rectify issues - even when the community manager is not present to oversee. With an escalation process timeline in place, it ensures the right people are engaged when it is required and provides clear instruction on what needs to be done, by who and by a specific timeframe. During the time of a crisis, response time and transparency are critical to mitigate any further damage to the brand’s reputation. The sooner customers are correctly informed, the better.

2.       Frequently asked questions

We live in an environment where instant gratification is sought after – responses are wanted quickly and solutions even faster. Regardless of the context, all customer interactions should be addressed in a timely manner to make customers feel valued and encourage their brand loyalty. Questions or comments are often plentiful and having a community manager addressing them will ensure customers are provided the correct answer and can encourage greater brand loyalty, or even advocacy.

Having a consistent tone of voice is also important for community managers and customising responses makes for a more personal interaction, whilst also providing the opportunity to reflect key messages or care for their customers. Community managers have the ability to seek the correct answer for customers instead of providing generic responses that may not be entirely relevant. It’s all about providing an exceptional customer experience, and community managers have the power to do just that – listen, respond promptly, with something relevant and with a little personality.  

3.       Community management is proactive

Having a dedicated person to listen, monitor and respond to community blogs, forums and social pages will enable a better understanding on the what is being said and by who in the community as well as in the media. It’s important to be across topical trends and conversations happening across various social media channels and by incorporating a community manager into the business’ strategy will ensure the relevant stakeholders are kept informed and issues from social channels are addressed. Often community managers will work within Marketing or Communications teams and use the same media monitoring tools as their team to report on social media responsiveness, tone, trends and where conversations have overlapped online or off. 

Community management can be beneficial when there are specific guidelines to adhered to, for example industry body regulation or product recall protocols. They can also check what’s going on in the news and seek out opportunities to create engaging content that’s relevant to the customer base and using appropriate hashtags to promote further engagement. Often taking the more traditional conversation into a two-way forum to be seen as the facilitator of an important or relevant conversation.

Having a great community manager can improve the effectiveness of brand, marketing communications and business strategy. It enables greater control of a brand or businesses presence across social channels, and the ability to react appropriately in the event of a crisis by effectively engaging with customers. They also help promote an interactive and friendly conversations between customers and ensure all social chatter promotes a positive reputation.  

If you would like more information on how you can monitor share of voice about your brand or related topics, get in touch with us today.