Your social media is more than just a page. It’s an opportunity for you to grow your brand, and increase engagement and sales by building positive relationships with existing and prospective customers.
Whether it’s a place people meet over common interests or an online forum that encourages discussion, communities can help consumers connect and identify and make decisions about your brand and contribute over 30% of your business’ revenue.
Managing an online community as a social media manager requires a delicate balance between keeping the community engaged and informed, maintaining a positive and respectful atmosphere, and promoting the brand’s goals and values. This can be a tricky task, and here are some of our key tips to effectively manage an online community:
1. Be responsive
Nothing makes a community feel heard more than actually being heard. Responding to questions, feedback and comments in a timely manner is extremely important to build a rapport with your audience. This shows that you value your community’s input and encourages continued engagement.
2. Know your audience
Gathering timely insight and being in touch with your audience’s needs, wants, desires and pain points is vital to managing them. By learning their behaviours, your brand can create content and start conversations based on them. For instance, Mumsnet, a brand with one of the strongest online communities, understands that its audience is seeking parenting advice and are often overwhelmed carrying out their parenting duties. All their content is empathetic towards them, providing valuable information and tailored to their needs and struggles.
3. Foster engagement
Create content that encourages engagement and interaction within the community. Ask questions, respond to comments, and share user-generated content such as pictures and videos. Makeup brands such as Huda Beauty and Rare Beauty often ask their online communities to showcase how they use their products, use online polls and have regular “Ask me anything” sessions. These are engaging and make their community feel heard, which not only makes them happy but also builds strong brand loyalty.
A great way to keep them engaged is via contests and giveaways: These activations require community involvement and can help engage and increase your audience. Examples could be a photo or caption contest Starbucks’ “#RedCupContest” is a great example of this. In the 2016 holiday season, they asked their community to submit a unique cup design for the holidays, and the best ones got made into actual cups! Many were also reposted on their social media pages amongst winning other prizes. This was a great initiative for their community!
4. Collaborating with the community
Working with community members to create user-generated content or to involve them in the brand’s decision-making process is vital in managing a community. Apple is sets a great example for this with infamous “Shot on iPhone” advertisements. All these adverts use images clicked by their community members instead of professional photographers. This has added tremendous value to their brand, making it feel more authentic.
5. Continuously learn
Stay up-to-date on social media trends and best practices, and be open to feedback from the community to improve your product or services. Ask your community for feedback on various topics related to your brand. This can help foster a sense of shared purpose and identity across the community.
Overall, managing an online community requires a commitment to building relationships with each and every one of your engaged users. It allows you to co-create the value of your brand, thus building trust and loyalty.
To learn more about managing an online community, get in touch with us at email@example.com and we can help you out!