Making the decision to invest in social media marketing for your business is a milestone you’ve likely already reached. The content marketing experts won you over with their pitches and they’ve broken down the different elements of social media marketing you need to be successful — including how to see the greatest return on your investment. Community management is one of those services on the itemized list.
Before requesting to nix it from the scope to reduce costs, it’s important to understand what community management actually is and how it benefits a social media marketing strategy. The short answer: it’s the most vital component of social media marketing today. Without it, social media efforts are practically useless.
A solid community management plan is composed of both reactive and proactive elements that will maintain your brand’s reputation, engage and excite your audience, and help keep a pulse on sentiment (as well as future opportunities). Reactive community management typically includes basic moderation, replying to comments and questions via direct messages or on social media posts. Proactive community management is more broad; this involves finding industry forums to spark conversations in and engage with prospective customers who share common interests with your company. But in 2020, according to Social Media Today, a social media and/or community manager has more responsibility than just replying to comments. your community manager is also a customer service representative, an expert, a friend (and sometimes a therapist) and even a fellow enthusiast.
Still need more insight into how community management will help your social media marketing efforts and your brand? Let’s break it down.
1) The people have the power, encourage them to use it to increase engagement
Follower growth and increased engagement rates don’t happen unless content, copy and the call-to-action provide value or evoke emotion. If you continue to post content and do not reward your followers who “like,” “comment” and “share” your posts, they will not repeat that behavior in the future. In layman’s terms, they feel ghosted. They want to know a real human is behind the device, listening to their pain points, celebrating their successes and appreciating their support. They don’t call it “social” media for nothing.
2) Learn more about your customer and how to improve your sales and satisfaction rates
Community management provides brands the opportunity to ask direct questions to their audience and compile feedback for future use, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. It’s 2020. Consumers are not shy to express their feelings. If there is a feature of your product that doesn’t work effectively or doesn’t provide the desired outcome, they will tell you about it. This information can be useful for a product development team and sales team alike. But don’t leave them hanging! Refer back to #1 if you’ve forgotten what to do next.
When customers cannot get in touch with a representative on the phone or via email, they turn to the company’s social media. Relaying these questions or concerns to your support team in a timely manner can help to diffuse an upset customer and improve overall brand sentiment.
3) Gain more trust and loyalty
People want to be heard, especially now. With real-time reviews rising in popularity, it’s important that companies be as transparent as possible on social. This includes acknowledging negative and positive comments equally and responding to them accordingly. Some negative comments are more brutal than others, but directing such customers to get in touch off the public platforms like social media is better than allowing a harsh criticism to live on your pages unchecked. Consumers will watch these behaviors, and participating in moderation on both sides will build trust and show that you care about your community.
4) Crisis management 101: You can avoid a potential public relations catastrophe
One of the most difficult parts of community management is handling internet trolls, and as of late, hate speech. We live in a tense and polarized time in our society and people are no longer making an effort to filter their true feelings — or even aggressive tendencies. While tumultuous current events can motivate a business to share their values on social or voice a stance on humanitarian rights, the marketing and communications team will need to prepare for the wave of backlash.
Recently, social media managers of the Toronto Raptors Fan Club Facebook page had to step out of the neutral zone when hateful comments started to erupt alongside misinformation. Social media managers are gatekeepers for what should be allowed on a brand’s page, and often have an ethical obligation to make the right call. If such comments are not addressed promptly, the company could face a much larger PR crisis that affects their overall brand.
5) Become a leader within your space
Brands should always strive to be experts within their industry, but community management opens the door for you to become a leader in your online community. Following steps #1 - 4 are key, as well as being clear and consistent with how you want followers to interact with your brand, even down to the details of which hashtags you want them to use when sharing your company’s content. Fans will notice your efforts, your transparency and the life you breathe into your online persona. This encourages them to continue to interact and ultimately purchase/visit/try your product for the first time (or choose it once again).
Still have questions about why you should consider including community management in the scope of your social media marketing efforts? We’re here to help you with FREE consultations to figure out how best to pivot your social media marketing strategy in our current climate. Give us a call at 323.596.0606 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.