Let’s start at the beginning. Community Management means building, engaging with and managing your online communities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for example.
It involves talking to your followers online and making sure they’re happy; keeping conversation positive, responding to negativity sensitively, keeping your finger on the pulse of the latest online trends and topics in your industry, plus reaching out to influential members of your community to amplify your content. Here’s everything you need to know about successful Community Management…
Community Management Do’s
1. Keep Your Eye Out For Negative Comments
Respond calmly to every negative comment or complaint as soon as possible to show the world that you’re dealing with the issue. ALWAYS answer questions, whether they’re sent privately (via messages) or publicly (via comments on your social posts or pages).
“For more than half of people, Facebook is the first port of call for any information.”
2. Acknowledge Engagement
Show your appreciation when someone takes time to engage and interact with your content – engagement ranges from a ‘like’, ‘favourite’ or reaction to a comment, retweet or an action, such as a click through to your website. Each and every kind is important and deserves your acknowledgement, so respond or reply.
“77% of customers who have their tweet or comment replied to feel more positive about a brand.”
3. Prolong Conversations
Chat with people for as long as possible without being annoying!
4. Respond Quickly
Your response time should be as quick as possible. A few hours should be the longest you leave a question unanswered.
“60% of people expect you to reply to their comment in under an hour however the average response time is 1hr 30 mins.”
5. Hide/Remove Offensive Comments
If a comment is irrelevant or could offend, make sure nobody reads it.
6. Respond Calmly to Negative Comments and Complaints
Want to resolve a complaint privately by picking up the phone or emailing? Go for it. But always reply to the original tweet, comment or post to explain how you dealt with the complaint.
7. Find Conversations
Make your brand known for the right reasons and build relationships by tapping into keywords and Twitter hashtags. Retweet, ‘like’ and comment on accounts that you can partner with or have a similar target audience.
Community Management Don’ts
1. Don’t Ignore or Delete Criticism
Tempted to ignore negativity? It’s unlikely the follower will forget their anger or leave quietly – in actual fact, they more likely to keep posting, getting increasingly annoyed that you’re trying to keep them quiet.
Deleting comments is possibly the worst course of action you can take (unless the comment is offensive). Try not to upset followers who reach out to express their annoyance by ignoring or deleting their comment.
2. Don’t Shoehorn Your Brand into a Topic Just Because It’s Trending
When you re-share or re-purpose old content, keep it relevant and make sure it’s still appropriate. Cinnabon’s PR disaster is an example of precisely what not to do.
The American bakery was accused of being wildly insensitive for re-running an old campaign on the day of actress Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing – they compared Princess Leia’s iconic hair buns to their cinnamon buns and sparked fury. Sure, they tweaked the copy – the original post claimed, ‘Her buns would never be as good [as Cinnabon’s]’. But even so, the post was deemed an insensitive, inconsiderate and downright unnecessary contribution to a conversation they should never have tried to capitalise on.
3. Don’t Share Content Without Checking the Source
When curating content, make sure it’s relevant to your brand and be sure to check who created it – you don’t want to share information from an unreliable source or, worse still, a competitor’s content.
In October 2016, British Airways came across a post that was PERFECT for their channel, while searching for sharable content. However, their followers soon spotted a monumental oversight – it was, in fact, one of Virgin’s ads.
4. Don’t Automate Your Messages
Social media should humanise your brand. But customers could be really disheartened and disappointed when you send them the same generic reply as you send to every other Joe Bloggs. As in real life, your personality can really make or break a relationship, so be sure to come across as approachable and welcoming. Try make people feel special wherever possible.
5. Sarcasm and humour don’t always translate online
Whether you’re responding to a positive or negative comment, don’t go in all guns blazing. Assess the situation and consider how your current customers or potential customers might interpret your response before you post it.
Of course, you can’t always please everybody in life and Community Management is just another form of customer service. When things do go wrong you’re there to defuse the situation as quickly and calmly as possible.
Most importantly, listen to your audience. Sometimes social media campaigns don’t go down as anticipated, it happens to the best and biggest brands – looking at you Pepsi. Be sure to learn from any mistakes made and take on board comments and feedback from your community.