Tips & Tricks for Effective Community Management
Although content is the backbone of any inbound marketing campaign, content on its own is not enough to keep your customers engaged and fully satisfied. Once a consumer has been directed to your content, your brand needs to have the ability to interact with readers through effective community management. Answering questions on forums, addressing rants and raves on social media accounts, and responding to consumer messages all create the personal touches that will turn casual readers into loyal customers, thus improving your brand.
So, how do you go about implementing a successful community management strategy? The following seven tips will help you make a great start.
1. Identify Your Goals
Before you get started, it’s important to know what you’re trying to accomplish with your community management strategy. Are you hoping to increase your number of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’, and if so, by how much? Or would you rather place emphasis on increasing engagement with existing followers? Whatever you decide, make sure that you come up with ways to better those within your community and measure true community engagement.
2. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
Trying to interact with your community via too many channels is a major marketing mistake. Remember that you can’t be all things to all people. Instead, take the time to determine who your audience is, what they care about, and which channels they most frequently engage with. This will enable you to streamline your focus and make a bigger, better impact on your community.
3. Be Readily Available
Community management isn’t just an “every now and then” kind of thing — it requires constant attention and flexibility. Just because you’re technically off the clock doesn’t mean that your consumer audience isn’t still out there demanding answers and attention. You need to be willing to dedicate the time and to create processes that ensure that someone will be there to connect with customers — for better or worse — 24/7.
4. Be A People Person
If you wouldn’t describe yourself as a “people person”, then you’re probably not the right person to act as a community manager. Regardless of whether you feel the customer is “wrong” or “right”, your role as a community manager demands that you have the ability to interact in a way that’s positive, approachable, rational, and professional.
5. Engage and Empower Your Audience
The most successful online communities feature mostly user-generated content. Be sure to encourage your audience to state their opinions, share their ideas, ask questions, and engage with you and one another. Frequently posing questions, posting content that inspires a reaction, and responding to user comments will inspire users to take the wheel into their own hands and steer the conversation.
6. Become a Storyteller
Community members enjoy getting lost in a good story and can easily relate to these types of messages. Telling stories that pertain to your brand will make readers feel as though it’s something they have or could experience, thus inspiring conversation and conversions.
7. Measure Your Results
Your community management efforts will be in vain if you don’t have some means of tracking your successes and failures. Having the ability to pinpoint where you’ve knocked it out of the park versus where you’ve fallen short of your goals will help you focus your efforts on what’s actually working for you and your brand.