In a world where communication is ever-changing, it’s important to stay on top of the ways your audience may want to reach you. Understanding how to implement high-quality Community Management into your business plan is one way to achieve this.
First things first - what is it? If you’re not aware of it yet, Community Management might still be an unknown term to you. At its core, it defines the way in which you interact with the community surrounding your brand or business in online spaces, specifically on social media. Your community is essentially anyone who has an interest in your brand, whether that’s existing or prospective customers, guests, fans or even employees.
Responding quickly and efficiently to complaints on social media is an integral part of boosting the online reputation of your brand. There's nothing worse than visiting the Facebook page of a brand and seeing that customers' problems are being left ignored for days or even weeks - it automatically gives the impression of a lack of care. Furthermore, if all goes well in the resolution process, complaints can actually be transformed into wins - a guest who had an unpleasant experience at your restaurant, for example, may feel reassured and be more likely to return if their message gets responded to in a kind, helpful and timely manner.
The second way in which Community Management can aid your business is that it gives you the ability to collect genuine feedback and information from your customers, visitors or users. People online are often very vocal and honest about their experiences with brands, allowing you to gauge how your product or service is really performing - especially with tools like Social Listening, where you can tune in to real life conversations about your brand.
Next up is a simple one - answering customer queries. Whether you have an event coming up soon, a new product being launched, or a fresh addition to your menu, people will always have questions. Community Management will help you identify and respond to these, leaving customers satisfied that they're not being left in the dark. For example, if a prospective guest tweets you asking if your business has disabled access and their query goes unanswered, it's unlikely they'll visit - meaning you've just missed out on some extra footfall.
We're all human, and sometimes mistakes happen. But the fast-paced nature of social media can cause moments of crisis to spread like wildfire. A heated customer dispute inside one of your stores? A mixup between meat and vegan dishes at your restaurant? Incidents like these can end up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, potentially giving your brand a bad name. While you may be tempted to simply ignore these crises, efficient Community Management will help resolve things quickly and calmly, without the event ending up viral.
As much as we'd all love our brands to become overnight successes, realistically that can't always be the case. That's where social media comes in. Getting your business name out there and jumping into key conversations with potential customers is a great way to get people talking about you and your product or service. Running a competition on Facebook, for example, can be an excellent method of gaining traction in the early stages of a business startup. Even just a simple response of "Thanks for entering, good luck!" to each entrant can establish good relations from day one. Increasing awareness can also mean shining a light on issues that matter to you, and hearing what your social media followers have to say about them.
The final factor we'll be discussing today - although there are many more reasons why Community Management matters for your business - is the creation of a fan base. Engaging with your online community is a sure-fire way to see who your top fans are - the people who comment, like, share, retweet and generally support your content the most. Facebook even has its own Top Fans feature which allows you to monitor this list and reward your most active followers with badges. People like to feel that their connection with a brand is personal and individual, meaning that being down-to-earth and non-robotic with your responses is more important than ever. Building a fan base also boosts brand love, and keeps customers coming back for more.