In today’s highly digital and connected world, it may be strange to think that people can still feel disconnected from others.
With so many people communicating online, it can be hard to truly connect with others and ensure that you’re clearly communicating your message.
The same goes for personal relationships as business relationships, more specifically, those between a brand and their audience. What brands truly need to succeed online is a sense of community, and with that, strong community management.
What Is Community Management?
If you’re new to the social media game, you may not know what community management is or where to begin. Community management is described as “how your brand seizes opportunities to interact with your community in public online spaces.”
Think of when you’re personally scrolling through Instagram and comment on a brand’s post, and notice that the brand liked and responded to it. This helps to create an authentic connection behind a brand, creating a relationship between the brand and its followers. These types of interactions help spark interest with your audience, helping your followers feel seen, heard, and appreciated.
Why Is Community Management Important?
Now that you know a little bit more about community management, you may be wondering why your brand needs to engage at all with its audience. What community management truly boils down to is generating new opportunities to engage with your brand’s followers on social media and build its online presence overall, whether it’s through user-generated content, exclusive follower insights, and more.
First, brands need to establish community managers to create a tone, voice, and human element behind your brand. No one likes communicating with a robot, so it’s important that your followers feel that they are connecting with a person, or people, behind an organization.
Obtain Feedback from Your Customers
Through community management, your brand can gain insight into your audience’s content preferences. This helps your brand to better understand its audience and gauge interest in upcoming projects, products, and more.
For example, many brands utilize an Instagram poll to ask their followers questions about what type of content they like to see, or take guesses as to what an upcoming launch or new product may be. This gives the brand’s audience an opportunity to feel involved in what the brand says and does, while providing extremely useful feedback for the brand.
Provide Support for Audience Members, Followers, and Customers When Needed
A large portion of community management is customer support and success. There are a few simple ways to think about customer support and success in terms of community management – like forums, an FAQ section on your brand’s Instagram page, and more.
In this way, your customers can help themselves (and each other) communicate with members of your team, locate any resources they need, and review FAQs at any time.
On social media, customers often comment on a brand’s posts when they’re experiencing issues, or will message their account directly with any questions. Brands can then see exactly who is contacting them so that they can intervene and provide the best assistance possible. This keeps things streamlined within your brand’s community, and resolves issues in real-time.
Increase Brand Awareness Amongst Target Audiences
The more conversations your brand has online, the more relationships you are building with prospective customers. Use every interaction as an opportunity to better understand what your customers are looking for and what their current concerns are.
This, in turn, grows your brand awareness as you build a varied group of followers who are truly interested in what your brand is doing.
More importantly, new consumers are more likely to find your brand through social media the more your brand comments, posts, etc. In fact, 78% of Gen Z and 61% of Millennials turn to social media for brand discovery – meaning that, as these consumers browse various social media platforms, they are more likely to discover your brand and interact with it!
How to Engage with Your Audience
First, determine where your audience lives. Is it Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere? With so many social media platforms available to consumers, it’s important for brands to identify where their target audience is most active.
For instance, if your target audience is older adults, you may have more luck dedicating community management to Facebook. You’ll want to prioritize the social media platforms that your audience is most likely to use, and which will generate the most engagement.
Define Your Metrics
Second, establish how you would like to measure success in community management! Your brand may want to look at engagement, social mentions, user-generated content, or even brand sentiment. You may also want to measure likes, comments, shares, and replies.
It is truly up to your brand, however, ensure that you’re also monitoring the conversation surrounding your brand outside of social media.
This will help you to hone in on what resonates with your audience, and whether there are any issues that need to be addressed. In addition, closely look at the same metrics over time to track progress, significant changes and determine whether your community management is actually working.
Build Your Community
Creating a sense of community around your brand is a two-way street. As much as you post your brand’s original content, you need to be reactive to your audience. Your brand can do this by leveraging user-generated content, responding to comments, questions and concerns, generating polls and surveys, or even hosting an Instagram Live. The more you visibly engage with your audience in fun ways, the more likely your community is to trust your brand and grow.
Additionally, show your followers that you appreciate their support. A large part of community management is fostering a sense of loyalty and ensuring that your community members feel valued. You might try interacting with new followers and sending them a quick “thank you!” message, or monitor who your biggest followers are and give them a shout-out or offer exclusive sales and content.
Maintain Your Voice & Keep It Fresh
Maintaining your brand’s voice and authenticity is absolutely crucial in community management. No matter how many people are a part of your brand’s community, they need to understand your brand voice so that you can maintain it in every interaction you have with them. It’s important to be genuine and maintain a positive attitude when interacting with followers, rather than offering a canned response to any concerned customers.
Moreover, have fun with your audience! As you build your community, you can learn more about your audience and which ways they enjoy interacting with your brand, and how to create the most engaging content possible.
Start Building Your Community
Community management is a new, yet powerful, industry. By implementing a community management strategy at your company, you’ll be able to create a safe place for your potential customers, followers, and more to collaborate with your brand, provide you with feedback, and bond.
As you build brand loyalty, increase conversion, and sales, you can show the people who matter most to your success a human side of your brand. Most importantly, have fun with your followers and develop an in-depth strategy as you learn more about them!