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The Importance of Community Management

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In the current lockdown circumstances, social media has become even more prevalent in our everyday lives. With more time at home and no social activities to attend, consumers are looking to social media to pass the time, and your brand could be the one to entertain them. To stay relevant, brands need to engage with their audience and ensure they have an effective strategy for community management.

Circumstances for many businesses have changed, many have currently closed shop, but this is no excuse for being vacant on social media. Normal life will soon prevail and your customers need to know you are going to be there for them once this is all over - they want to buy into brands that value their interactions. Having a strong social media content strategy and effective community management should go hand in hand.

Know your audience

If you are just starting out on social media and wondering what the best way is to community manage your audience, you should decide what kind of tone you want to use first. This tone should match your audience demographic and general brand personality. For example, fast-fashion brands aimed at young females often use pet names for their consumers. As a brand, you need to decide if that suits you, or if you are better off keeping a more professional tone. Gauging a conversation also helps to decide what tone is needed. When dealing with a complaint, pet names are likely to be portrayed as patronising, but when a customer is complimenting a product, a pet name could be well received. 

Another decision you will need to make is how you want to sign off each message. Some companies end with emojis, others directly include the employee’s name. Signing off with a name makes the interaction seem more human and creates a sense of community within your business. It’s a popular choice, however you may prefer to stay hidden behind the brand and sign off with the brand name and ‘HQ’. There is no one set protocol, you will need to work out what suits your brand best.

As a starting point, look at what your competitors are doing. What conversations are they engaging with? There are some well-established brands that bravely, but light-heartedly, insult their competitors. This is likely to, if done right, receive praise from your audience. If you are looking for inspiration for this kind of activity, it is common to see this kind of behaviour between fast food chains or supermarkets. This is however easy for well-established brands to do and it may not be the best strategy for a brand that is new to the scene. 

Join in the conversation

If a story surfaces that is relevant to your sector, how can you join in? Engaging with topical conversations that your consumers are likely to be interested in could widen your audience, especially if it is a trending hashtag.

To keep up to date with these kinds of topics, make sure you are following hashtags on Twitter or have Google alerts set up. Comment underneath or reshare stories that you feel your audience would enjoy from other brands or tabloids to show your brand is passionate about your sector. Sharing other people’s content is also a way of staying relevant when your business perhaps doesn’t have as much to report if you are currently shut due to the pandemic. It shows you have every intention of returning once it is safe to do so. 

If you are lucky to have loyal customers who have expressed how they will miss you during this self-isolation period, show them you have noticed their absence by engaging with their messages. Sadly, there are many people who are likely to be feeling lonely at this time and you have no idea how a simple, friendly reply from their favourite brand could make someone’s day. When replying to any message, make the user feel special by personalising the message, perhaps even include their name. Asking questions is another great way of showing an interest, whilst improving your chance of appearing at the top of Facebook and Instagram’s feeds, due to the algorithm favouring questions.

Another important factor of community management is time. Always ensure all hands are on deck with all of your social media accounts by keeping all notifications turned on. This way, when a user interacts with your business, you are able to reply in a timely manner. Resolving questions or making witty remarks is not going to have the same effect if that user has been left waiting for days

Your content strategy is how your brand celebrates itself, but your community management can be how you celebrate your precious customers. Be memorable and show them they are valued by adopting a community management strategy that is consistent in its timing and tone to truly get the most out of every interaction.

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Hayley Coleby is Associate Director and Head of Social at The PHA Group. Header image: Hashim Ali Khan.

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