community management

Why you should invest in online community management

If you want brand success, you need to think about the kind of relationships you have with your customers.

A few decades ago, building and maintaining relationships with customers was easy. Businesses would open physical locations and invite people to make a purchase. Customers returned not just because of the products, but because they had an authentic relationship with the business.

Nowadays, customers very rarely interact with a brand beyond a couple of clicks online. Even in today’s ultra-connected world, audience members can feel completely disconnected from a brand. This is why more businesses are investing in something called ‘community management.’

What is community management?

Community management refers to the strategy of building a community between businesses and audiences through various online interactions. It’s a way for brands to regain the human element of business-to-customer relationships lost to advancements in technology.

It ties in with many other facets of marketing and PR, including social media, content and search engine optimisation. It should tie in with your overall marketing, PR and communications strategy.

Why are online communities valuable for brands?

Community management is more than valuable for brands, it’s critical. Implementing a community management plan can increase brand awareness, build brand loyalty and lead to enhanced customer satisfaction. Successful community management can:

  • Increase product and brand awareness
  • Boost customer conversions and interactions
  • Help you learn more about your brand community
  • Give more weight to your social media efforts
  • Keep your community engaged beyond making a purchase
  • Provide additional support for your audience when they need it
  • Build one on one and one-to-many relationships

A brand community can also offer brands a great way to obtain feedback through real conversations. It can even bolster valuable word-of-mouth marketing efforts. 83% of consumers agree that word-of-mouth marketing has a direct influence on their buying decisions.

What’s the difference between social media management and community management?

Social media management and community management are similar in a lot of ways, but they have very different priorities. Social media marketing concentrates on distributing social content across social media channels. This is done so that the brand can reach more customers and boost engagement and traffic.

A community manager will engage with your community through social media and beyond. It includes elements of customer service, social listening, and being in active discussions across the web.

A community manager works on smaller interactions to build more personal relationships. They also work on community building both inside and outside social channels.

Types of community management

Community management is more than just customer service. It’s an umbrella term used to describe a broad strategy which has several different types. In fact, there are six main types of community management. The easiest way to remember these different community management types is through the acronym SPACE:

  • S: customer support/success
  • P: product ideation, innovation and feedback
  • A: acquisition and advocacy
  • C: content and programming
  • E: external engagement

There is also an additional community management type, which is often used to build an online community: internal engagement. Community members encompass both an internal and external audience.

Your internal audience consists of employees, partners, team members, and vendors. Your external audience consists of your customers, followers, fans, brand advocates, and ambassadors.

How to build a community strategy

It takes a real strategy to facilitate valuable networks that will build authentic, impactful relationships. A community manager will work on gathering all your satisfied customers in one place and nurturing them through positive interactions.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a community management strategy:

Set goals and objectives

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing how community managers define success. It all depends on what matters to you today.

Perhaps you want to increase your followers on your social media channels or boost your sales and conversions. Maybe you need a brand awareness increase or more visitors to your website.

Setting goals will help you pinpoint your objectives and define the metrics you need to keep track of your progress.

Identify your audience

You need to understand who your target audience is before you can build your strategy. Identifying your target audience’s demographics, for example, will help you tailor your efforts to the audience you’re trying to engage.

You can also build customer personas, which will help you identify their interests, likes and dislikes etc. Understanding your audience will help you identify where they spend their time. This includes whether they spend more time on a certain social platform or forum.

Post regularly and engage with your audience

Remember, community management involves creating opportunities for small and personal interactions. Now that you understand more about your community members, you can create the kind of content that engages them.

Social media is a great place to start building your online community. By posting regular, consistent content, you’ll ensure that your community can expect reliability.

Social media platforms are great places to create opportunities for consistent engagement. They’re also great places to get to know your audience and identify which type of content is most successful.

Social media can provide a place to encourage the sharing of user-generated content. It can also provide support to your community when they need it.

It can even spark innovation and provide ideas on how to improve products or services. In fact, 90% of communities share suggestions on how to improve products consistently.

Measure your results

It’s a good idea to monitor your success throughout your community-building efforts. The goals and objectives you created at the start will help you identify which metrics you’ll need to analyse to define your level of success.

Perhaps you wanted to increase engagement across your social channels, for example. Using the analytical tools available on social media can identify whether your efforts were successful.

What is the role of a community manager?

Community managers are used by businesses to run their community management efforts. They’re professionals who have the experience and skill set to implement community management techniques that make an impact. They’re responsible for managing community engagement across various channels, including social media, and they do this in four ways:

  • Monitor: by listening to and tracking conversations.
  • Engage: by maintaining conversations and interactions
  • Moderate: by troubleshooting complaints
  • Measure: by analysing how your brand is being perceived

Do you want to increase your online engagement by as much as 21%? Professional community management can help you build a successful strategy that delivers accelerated results. Contact us at [email protected] or call 0117 905 1177.