Nowadays, every business understands the value of having a social media presence. Not only is it a valuable sales channel for your store and a public profile of your business for new clients and partners, but it is also the foundation of a community.
A lively community will help with attracting new people, retaining them and turning them into life-long participants in your business. Furthermore, a good community is something you can wear as a badge of honour. The benefits go on — it can serve as social proof, it turns people into brand ambassadors, it brings a broader awareness of your project/product…
The question becomes — why isn’t everybody trying to create and grow a community around their product, business, project? The answer — they are, but it’s very difficult.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some strategies, tools, and requirements for community management.
Before devising a social media strategy, you need to find out who is your audience — whom are you addressing, and whom do you want to be addressing?
If, for instance, you are selling bicycles, including both city and mountain bikes, you are likely to encounter two very different types of customers, with different interests, priorities, and desires.
Depending on your own business goals (i.e. want to put focus on mountain bikes), you should tailor your community building and managing strategies accordingly — produce content and gather people with such interests. Or, if you value both subcommunities relatively equally, make sure that your content/management strategies reflect this, so neither feels left out.
Consistency is vital. This includes, but is not exclusive to constantly answering your community’s questions and offering round-the-clock support.
At all times, there are many other businesses or blogs competing for your community members and a sporadic posting habit can harm your relationship with the less loyal members. You can retain this interest via constant updates, content, and news on all platforms — make sure they don’t forget about you!
Missing posts can lead to missing announcements (i.e. new product) and this, in turn, can lead to lost revenue and customer dissatisfaction.
We once had a client who had not updated their social media channels with the latest news for months. We recommended them to do it, and they posted all their latest updates, even though it was a month later. Influencers in the field showed great interest and began sharing these updates with their followers. While this was a better solution than not posting at all, our customer still had lost significant momentum, they would have had, if they had posted the update on ALL their channels simultaneously.
There are several social media management tools/schedulers, where you can keep a track of all the content that you post and plan and schedule them ahead.
Another tip: consistency can also mean posting content at certain times of the day. Especially if you want to target people who are living in certain timezones. The above-mentioned tools can offer exactly that.
When you know what to post, how and when, it is time to track how you are doing.
That means seeing how your posts are performing and how many people actually see them and click on the links.
There are several ways how to do that:
If you want to see how many people went to your product page by clicking on a link that you posted on one of your social media accounts, you can see the statistics in your Google Analytics.
If you go to Acquisition — Source/Medium you can see how each source performed.
You can also see how many people click on links from each post separately. For that, you will need to create an account on bit.ly — https://app.bitly.com.
Just click on CREATE — BITLINK on the upper right corner, copy the shortened URL and use it instead of just whatever the link you wanted to post.
After a while, you should be able to see statistics of how many people clicked on that link from your post -
When you have gathered a community around your project, then the next step is (you guessed it!) — make them stay. Of course, keeping consistency and posting at least once a day is one way how to keep their interest, BUT:
It is important not only to talk to your community, answer their questions and simply be there for them but also to provide them with several calls to actions and to entertain them. It can be anything. Here are just some ideas:
Traditional contests with prizes are a great start. Completing tasks for rewards is a great incentive for people to get involved.
You can also entertain your community with more creativity based contests. For example, banner contests; photo competitions, memes… It would not just entertain them, but also be fun for your team and would let you better understand the language of your community.
Everybody likes to win free stuff and if all that is required of them is to click a [share] button, then there aren’t many barriers for them to do so!
Community-oriented events serve to show appreciation of your user base. While contests and lotteries are more general marketing tactics, they are unlikely to inspire long-lasting relationships with community members. Events, on the other hand, show that you also care for the more involved people — meeting customers face to face and building trust.
Involve the community! Help them build, design and make decisions. Having a direct impact on a product will propagate satisfaction, a feeling of being part of your brand, as well as leave a good impression on others.
We found out that following your community’s feedback and even using their quotes on social media made them feel appreciated.
Keep in mind that these ideas are ones that work and you will see them employed throughout social media. But — experiment where you can and be creative! New ideas, especially ones tailored to your community, will be the most powerful ones and generate the most engagement and satisfaction!
Don’t underestimate the value of community management!
Working on a community management strategy and need some help? Maybe you have some tips for us? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org !