Community management on digital platforms has become the norm these days. It’s actually a buzzword for businesses and enterprises with a lot of subscribers, followers or buyers that needs to address in a fast and efficient manner all forms of online concerns such as queries for products and services, complaints, suggestions, reviews and anything in between.
It’s a rapidly changing landscape and it is highly necessary to constantly evolve and innovate for businesses and enterprises to take a leading edge against competitors in today’s volatile and fiercely competitive digital market. Success nowadays, given the fact that technology permeates our everyday lives, means addressing clients’ concerns in a timely fashion that would be interpreted as giving hearts and thoughts towards two common goal: superb user experience and customer satisfaction.
Digital community management can be defined as the practice of developing, building and managing online communities on social media and other digital platforms available to a business or enterprise or whichever online platform a company desires to use to address concerns of the growing number of internet-based clients.
Those managing those online communities, commonly referred to as community managers, monitor and lead those digital communities by developing, and maintaining the robustness and health of those communities under his or her account through timely interventions and related works. Community managers do these things by moderating, engaging online users and proactively communicating.
They (the community managers) have various critical roles; from supporting social media campaigns of clients, developing and deploying digital strategies, creating and managing contents for different social media platforms, listening to social media listings and data generation and reporting, analysis of data gathered and generated and in many cases, providing ideas and feedbacks to help clients’ social media efforts grow.
Online Communities Are Rapidly Changing Ecosystems
Digital communities or online communities are a fast-changing, rapidly evolving industry. As with any digital platforms, social media communities do not differ. Daily posts and updates, engaging with fans, and handling customer service issues are but a tiny fraction of the job a community manager does. We live in a digital world. Nearly everyone, anyone and everything is intricately connected in an invisible web called the internet.
Such is the power of the internet today that a highly significant amount of time is allotted by consumers online. Given this fact, those managing digital communities; community managers, have a job to find those online consumers, sound them, listen to them, know from them, and when necessary, engage those digital users.
A knowledgeable and good communicator community manager uses his skills and talents in using social listening platforms and tools to catch conversations that matters about your brand and industry. Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are exceedingly important, but forums and blogs are good sounding boards too and astute community managers uses all tools available including those two and others to find out what their most opinionated consumers say about their client’s products, services and offers.
Those comments, reviews, shares, and the like are out there circulating in the digital ecosystem for you to find, collect, analyse and be acted by decision makers. These (those comments and opinions) are digital pings echoing that can be used for business decisions – whether to develop new products or bring back successful product promotion – and can also be used for marketing and social content.
Community Management Lessons 101: Basic Insightful You Should Know
The management of a community helps by making clients and customers feel that they are important and have a say to whatever is happening with the brand or company. This becomes the listening piece of a brand to better communicate and understand what their clients want or what they feel regarding whatever they have or whatever they serve. Be it banks, pharmaceuticals, insurance, communication, power and other utilities and other industries, addressing customer or client concerns is paramount to business success and survival.
Below are lessons – practical ones – that a community manager and community management can teach enterprises on why community management impacts, why it matters and why it is very important for businesses, brands and corporate image.
1. Human interaction and empathy is highly important.
The greatest advantage community management gives to brands and businesses is that it allows a fellow human being to directly communicate and interact with someone very important to the brand or business – consumers or customers. The mind-set of community managers are always about trying to stay attuned with those of the users on the other end of the internet web and approach interactors with friendly demeanour.
Consumers, like anyone else, would want to talk and feel with another human being and not with an automaton. With community managers expertly managing a brand’s online community, fans and interactors feels welcomed and makes them feel important. Brands fortify their position as something or someone that values and listens to users’ sentiments, views and opinions. This means a brand cares for its consumers.
2. Timely responses are mission-critical.
Community management’s critical mission is giving correct, clear and concise answer in a quick and timely fashion. Questions needs to be answered and comments made needs to be acknowledged and flagged to an appropriate responsible person to be addressed should addressing those comments are necessary. For Facebook-based communities, answers and responses to queries, concerns, comments and suggestions, community managers should oftentimes tag commenters so that they would be notified with the answer/s given to them. This in turn motivates people to continue engaging with your brand due to the special and preferential attention community managers give them. Earning your brand’s fans’ goodwill is a baby step towards building a living and thriving online community.
How long you respond to interactors and commenters is also very important. Like a lady waiting for her date, online consumers demand that you respond fast and on time. You wouldn’t want your lady waiting lest she leaves you, right? Consumers are like this. Ideally, respond time for comments should be within the first thirty (30) minutes and maintained seven (7) days a week.
3. Proactively interact with online customers and consumers.
Brand interactors and commenters love it when you engage with them. And by engaging it means piquing their interest by doing one or a combination of the following: 1. Asking a question; 2. Conducting a survey; 3. Providing options and letting them have choices; 4. Using consumer-generated content and applicable hashtags to upturn consumer responsiveness; 5. Using appealing photos and images to entice commenters; and 6. By linking them to posts; both past and present, to drive users to brand’s and company’s website.
4. Think, plan, formulate and execute.
Having a robust and agile online community needs a lot of thinking, planning before finally executing or doing those plans. Whining and bickering about your brand’s low Facebook engagement, impressions and the like wouldn’t do anything. What we mean by this is that the key to boost user engagement is producing awesome and engaging content to hook-in online viewers and consumers.
Formulate a timely and quality content plan to guide your postings. Including holidays, public events, trivia and the like greatly helps pique the interest of online viewers and consumers. Again, using fun and engaging text, high quality images, graphics and videos would be very helpful conveying your ideas for your brand.
Ask yourself some critical questions. What do you aim for? Is it to increase page views and impressions? What do you want online visitors or viewers do?
5. Communicate, communicate and communicate.
What strengthens ties between commenters and viewers and with online community managers are three (3) things, Communicate, communicate and communicate. Hey, these are just the same, you might exclaim reading this, but it’s true. Communicate, communicate and communicate with online viewers and commenters. Simply said, it means constantly communicating and opening channels where your brand’s followers and users and online consumers can talk with you. Communicating constantly means ready answering questions, addressing concerns, acknowledging comments and thanking or praising online consumers. The caveat, however, it not to lie with your responses. Online consumers can and will smell a lie and that expose you to a lot of damages and possible ridicule.
Early on we’ve mentioned that you should respond fast with concerns and queries on online consumers however again we would like to reiterate to you not to lie. If you’re encountering questions that you’re not comfortable with the answer or that you do not know the answer to, acknowledge the question and say that you will check everything about the inquiry and add that you would give the necessary information needed as soon as possible. This answer, while broad in scope, is far better than not replying at all. Do this and more people will engage and follow your brand now and in the future.
If you’re impression of a community manager is just someone that answers tweets, post in Facebook, and reply to online queries or tag comments you may want to think again. With the constant innovation and evolution on the digital world and social media platforms a community manager’s work and that of digital community management evolves along with it.
Community management and online communities are like living systems. Handling and managing online communities needs mix skills and varied needs per project. Not all one project is the same and is dependent with each brand or business’ digital strategies and objectives.
Community management means feeling the pulse of online consumers and customers, collating those, analysing and proactive plan according to those. Online presence, web rankings and page impressions are like businesses and brands, the more improved the users experience you and your site, the more people would value and trust you. Superb user experience is what community management works for. Bringing the best for your brand and business for your success is what community managers stand for.