Before the explosion of social media on the Internet, community management was more focused with making sure that online discussions stay on course, spammers and trolls are controlled, and site related kinks are immediately fixed. But as social media has increasingly become such an important tool for business, any company or organization that makes use of the platform in order to tap their target market, must invest more in creating lasting beneficial relationships.
This is the key to effectively managing a community on the Internet, where organizations must recognize the “social” aspect of connecting to their market.
Be Engaging, Supportive & Responsive
The beauty of using social media is in the very fact that an organization is able to directly relate to their audience. This approach makes the connection personable and accessible. But in order to maintain a good relationship, a certain level of trust must be established.
So, how do you do that? By becoming an active participant of the community.
Your job isn’t to promote or market your brand first. Your main presence in the community is not to sell a product or idea. Many companies, especially the more established ones, fail to make this commitment and disregard responding to messages received from their followers through their social media accounts, when the platform is designed to openly make room for two-way conversations.
- Respond to inquiries and conversations, especially when it is about your product or service.
- Contribute, inspire and engage your members in discussions, regardless of how ordinary this is and even if the discussions do not directly affect your business.
- Listen to what your audience is saying, because this is one way of knowing what your target market is like.
Respond With Care & Thought
Social media revolves around a fast-paced world hence relationships are straightforward. At any given moment, things can go wrong and mistakes or gaffes can happen leading to stressful situations. It is at these times when practicingcaution and patience is vital to community engagement, so the best response would be to pause and take a breather.
For effective community management remember that manners are still valued in this environment. It also speaks of the way you provide good customer service.
Hire Help If Possible
Despite the size of your community, managing one requires a great deal of investment with time and effort. And sometimes, as the business owner, you may not be able to keep with all of that goes on in your community. Some brands hire people specifically for this job because personal attention to mentions, comments and questions can help establish the relationships you need. The advantages of hiring a social media and community manager are discussed in a separate post.
It is so important to understand that effective community management is building relationships. When you are able to do this, you get the results you need for your organization to create an influence that ultimately meets your business objectives.