Communities. We’re all part of one in some form or another, coming together and interacting with people who share common interests. For brands who want to reach their customers and create meaningful relationships, having a dedicated space for their customers strengthens their reputation and creates life-long advocates.
For those brands who aren’t incorporating community management into their overall marketing strategy, they’re missing out on some rather critical business opportunities because when it’s done right, community management can do wonders.
So, let’s explore why community management is important, how to manage a community and what platforms brands should consider.
Why is community management important?
Community management helps support customers with questions, queries, or even complaints. It creates a safe platform for people to share their experiences, ‘rate’ services, and generally discuss a mutual love for a brand. Communities are created on platforms like social media that actively encourages people to interact with and engage with their favourite brands, allowing a direct line of communication with them.
Building an organic and authentic community online can be essential for brands looking to build a reputation in their industry, create customer advocates, and maintain a level of service to their loyal customers. Generating advocacy can happen in a number of ways, depending on your community, for example, many businesses find letting prospective clients and existing clients mix is a great way to educate prospects. It helps educate them about your business or services without feeling ‘salesy’, like a more organic way to nurture potential clients and strengthen your community.
The thing is, communities aren’t on just one platform, the internet means people can build them everywhere so brands need to be across each point to manage customer relationships. Knowing where communities are and which platforms suit your brand best is as essential as managing your community.
The basics of managing a community online
Managing a community is absolutely essential and absolutely a full-time job that needs a dedicated person or team to help out. It involves four key basics to make sure you’re across the conversations;
Monitoring– When brands listen in on and track conversations that relate to them. Setting up Google alerts and using brand tracking tools is a great way to start monitoring your community.
Engaging– Once they’ve found their community, engaging with them and keeping conversations going is the next step.
Moderating– An essential part of managing a community is also removing the comments and conversations that don’t add value and responding to customer complaints. It’s a necessary evil when a community is established.
Measuring– Something Advocitude offers clients is accurate analysis and measuring of how a brand is perceived within the community, providing unfiltered feedback. This is another important part of establishing and nurturing a community.
Once you’ve worked out a strategy to apply basic community management (or partnered with a knowledgeable professional) you should focus on the platform that works best for your brand and community.
What platform should you choose for your community?
Choosing the right platforms is something that every brand should consider internally when creating their community strategy as some tools will lend themselves more to your overall marketing budgets than others. As an example, B2B brands find their communities do well on sites like LinkedIn and Discord whereas B2C brands might find Facebook groups worth investing in. Having a ‘less is more’ approach will ensure that your community gets the attention it deserves and is more likely to start delivering an ROI on your marketing budgets too.
Choosing a platform is just the beginning, so if you’re new to community management or want help knowing where to start, let’s talk.