Social media has become an essential part of the modern day marketing strategy - it's no longer a tool businesses can afford to ignore or view as optional. By extension, this includes Community Management: the process of increasing and interacting with the people surrounding your brand online. Despite the two terms often being mistakenly used interchangeably, Community Management differs from social media marketing in that it revolves around engagement, conversations and relationships instead of content publishing and sales promotion. It’s what turns followers into fans and brand satisfaction into brand love. The role of a Community Manager, or Community Management team, is to respond to comments and messages, answer queries, resolve issues and complaints, and generally establish a sense of proximity and togetherness between the business and its customers, through the use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
The first reason why Community Management matters is because social media doubles up as a customer service channel for your business. If a customer has had a bad experience with your product or a guest is left unhappy after visiting your venue, they’re likely to jump onto social media to voice their concerns or complaints - in fact, this report found that a huge 55% of consumers choose to do so, demonstrating the importance of providing support on social. Plus, according to Conversocial, 54% of users prefer social media for customer service over phone or email, which shows how these traditional methods are becoming more and more outdated as the capabilities of social media grow and evolve.
Gone are the days of businesses having to remain formal and detached in their approach to marketing and customer relations. Modern day consumers want brands to feel approachable and down-to-earth - and Community Management lets them achieve this. Through interacting with your followers and joining in with friendly conversations, you can form a casual tone of voice for your business that puts fans at ease and makes them feel as if they're chatting with someone they know. On a similar note, providing genuine, human communication is much more effective than using bots or automated responses, which can lack authenticity, remove personality from your brand, and may even interpret messages incorrectly, leading to potential disaster!
With features such as Facebook’s Top Fans, Community Management can help your business monitor who its most active and dedicated followers are and boost brand love through customer relationships. Not only do these relationships make customers feel more kindly towards your brand, they also give valuable insights into what they’re interested in and what they’re looking for - helping your business shape decisions regarding upcoming products or services. What’s more, according to Lyfemarketing, 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family, showing just how effective these relationships can prove to be.
Community Management is also a great way of observing what kind of response is being garnered by the content you post on your brand’s page. Are your followers reacting well to your latest company updates and photos? Has a controversial Tweet sparked a debate amongst people in the replies? Failing to check back after posting on social media can leave customers feeling ignored - or imply that your page is solely a marketing platform instead of an open community space. Reading comments and gauging users’ overall sentiment towards your content will help your business discover what works well and, ultimately, strategise for the future.
Social Listening refers to the process of finding and engaging with conversations taking place on social which are relevant to your brand or industry. This can involve seeking out indirect discussions where your business has been mentioned in a post but hasn’t been tagged, as well as keeping track of applicable keywords, hashtags and trends. Social Listening is an essential tool as it allows you to pick up queries or feedback that would otherwise go unnoticed - think of it as the ‘behind-the-scenes’ part of Community Management.
Things move lightning-fast on social media; that’s why it’s crucial for your business to have a consistent strategy in place whereby its incoming messages and comments get checked regularly. If something goes wrong or a PR disaster strikes, the situation can escalate quickly online if there’s nobody available to jump in and respond. As reported here by Hootsuite, 25% of crises spread internationally within just one hour! That’s a lot of potential damage to your brand’s reputation in a short period of time. While it may be tempting to ignore negative claims or allegations, and skip straight to posting a quick apologetic statement, engaging authentically with those customers and replying to their remarks needs to be the first step in resolving the issue and reassuring your community.
These are just a selection of the many reasons why Community Management matters for your business. As the digital world continues to evolve, social media is set to play an increasingly important role in brands’ marketing and customer service procedures. How will you incorporate it into yours? Click here to learn more about how 3sixfive can help.