Doesn’t it feel strange that in a time of maximum online connection, so many people can, and do, still feel disconnected from others?
Whilst the levels of connections online are through the roof, it can be incredibly hard to truly connect with others, which leads to missed messages and lost opportunities.
When it comes to social media, there seems to be a real leaning, from businesses and brands, towards using the platforms as megaphones and not doing much listening, or indeed conversing.
The outcome of this kind of thinking and working is an unengaged social community, a distance from potential customers online and in time, a complete lack of buy-in for social from the wider business.
There is a way to fix this, and it’s not rocket science. What brands truly need to succeed online is a sense of community, and with that, strong community management.
What is Community Management?
Community management is described as “how your brand seizes opportunities to interact with your community in public online spaces.”
Think of how you behave on social media, how you like to. I am entirely sure that the brands you feel most connected to both on and offline are the ones who engage, they reply, they speak to you as if you’re a friend, or contemporary. They don’t just push out content, they offer added value to your social experience.
You can clearly see the brands who excel on social media, they’re the ones creating conversations between themselves and followers in the comments of posts, they replies to stories, share UGC, they support customers in DMs.
This level of engagement from the brand, to the audience not only helps to create an authentic connection between the follower and brand, it also creates foundation for a relationship between the two.
These types of interactions help spark interest with your audience, helping your followers feel seen, heard, and appreciated.
Why Community Management?
The crux of Community Management is to use it as a tool to generate new opportunities to engage with your brand’s followers on social media, including existing and potential customers, along with building an online presence overall.
As the amount of time people spend online, on social media in particular grows, so does the importance of community management.
Space on social media is highly saturated, creating an online community for your followers and customers, and cultivating meaningful conversations is vital to creating a great customer experience.
Before you crack on with building those intentional relationships, brands need to create a tone, voice, and human element behind your brand. This is no time for corporate jargon or copy and paste replies.
No one likes communicating with a robot, so it’s important that your followers feel that they are connecting with a person, or people, not a soulless business.
To help you build a stronger community that fosters lasting relationships, these 5 best-practices are vital:
- Making both existing and potential customers feel welcome online
- Listening to your community’s needs, and building value content around that
- Keeping community members engaged, maximising content variety
- Sharing valuable resources and information, being open and insightful, educational and inspiring
- Encouraging feedback, be open to their thoughts and experiences, see the value in those conversations, not take it as criticism
Remember, it’s your responsibility as a brand to create a valuable space online for both your existing and potential customers, that is of course if you want to ensure social media is a productive element of your brand.
The heart of successful social media is community.
Emma-Louise Trotter is an ID community member and a Freelance Social Media Specialist, focusing on community management and development. Having worked in the industry since the days of Instagram filters being the only way to post, Emma has supported brands including Neom, Nouveau Lashes, HD Brows, James Wellbeloved and many other brands, in-house as well as alongside agency teams.