3sixfive: The importance of Community Management for your business
This month we spoke to Beth Perrin, Content Creator and Designer at our partner agency, 3sixfive. They are specialists in social media and wanted to discuss the importance of community management for businesses – read on to find out what Beth has to say on this important topic:
In order to achieve success online, the most important thing brands can do is remember the ‘social’ part of social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t one-way channels – they’re all about communication, interaction and engagement, and that’s exactly where Community Management comes in.
Community Management refers to the process of interacting with your online audience, which includes everyone from customers, guests and fans, to clients and employees. It involves fixing customer service issues, building brand awareness and generating brand love through positive conversations.
Despite the two terms often being mistakenly used interchangeably, Community Management isn’t the same as Social Media Marketing. It revolves around conversations and relationships instead of content and advertising; it’s what turns followers into fans, and brand satisfaction into brand love.
The role of a Community Manager, or Community Management team, encompasses a variety of tasks, such as responding to comments and messages, answering queries, handling complaints, carrying out Social Listening and establishing an overall sense of proximity between your business and its audience.
Firstly, social media can form an extension of your existing customer service strategy. If customers have had a bad experience with your product or guests are left unhappy after visiting your venue, 55% of them are likely to jump online to voice their concerns (PR Daily), making it vital for you to pay attention to your inbox.
Answering your customers’ enquiries swiftly makes them feel valued while simultaneously building brand loyalty. Research shows that people are much more likely to stick with a company in the long term if it meets their customer service expectations (Gartner). Being attentive to consumer needs and solving problems via social media can both help to encourage repeat purchases and will demonstrate that your business genuinely cares about its audience, which explains why 72% of Millennials say they’re more loyal to brands that respond to them instead of ignoring their messages (MarketingCharts).
Out of Office Hours
Not only do modern customers want quick communication, they expect around-the-clock availability too. Social media never sleeps and users are online 24/7, presenting the need for businesses to implement an out-of-hours procedure. However, 62% of marketers have claimed they find it difficult to offer this (Immediate Future), meaning many messages get left unanswered. Enlisting the help of a specialised Community Management team such as 3sixfive can help bridge this gap, as we’ll enforce a strategy that involves responding outside of your standard office hours, including weekends, bank holidays and even Christmas Day. Thanks to our always-on approach, time sensitive issues will get fixed on the spot and any concerns will be addressed before it’s too late and customers develop a poor impression of your brand.
Crisis & Reputation Control
Things move lightning-fast on social media, which can cause a lot of harm to your brand’s reputation in a short period of time. In fact, more than a quarter of online crises spread internationally within just one hour (Hootsuite), so it’s crucial for your business to keep an eye on its incoming messages and comments at all times. When PR disasters strike – which can include anything from a vegan mix-up in your restaurant to a complaint from a former employee – things can escalate quickly if there’s nobody available to take control of the situation. While negative comments can feel disheartening, engaging authentically with these customers and replying to their remarks is much better than turning a blind eye, as this will reassure your community and repair damaged relationships. A Crisis Control service will help you identify and manage negativity before it goes viral, and we’re here all year to protect your brand’s image.
Develop Relationships & Brand Love
Thanks to features such as Facebook’s Top Fans, Community Management can help your business monitor who its most active and dedicated followers are, and boost brand love through customer relationships. Not only do these connections make customers feel more kindly towards your brand, they also give valuable insights into what they’re interested in and what they’re looking for, helping your business shape decisions regarding upcoming products or services. What’s more, 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family (Lyfemarketing), indicating the knock-on effect of these relationships.
Humanise Your Brand
Nowadays, consumers want brands to feel friendly, welcoming and down-to-earth, not detached or overly corporate. Community Management will allow you to achieve this. By interacting with your followers and joining in with casual conversations, you can develop an appropriate tone of voice for your business that puts fans at ease and makes them feel like they’re chatting with someone they know. On a similar note, providing genuine, human communication is much more effective than using bots or automated responses, which can lack authenticity, remove personality from your brand, and may even interpret language incorrectly, leading to frustration. 86% of consumers have confirmed that they prefer to interact with a real person, rather than an AI assistant, when making an enquiry online (CGS).
Measure Response to Your Content
Finally, Community Management is a great way to observe what kind of response is being garnered by the content you’re sharing on your brand’s page. Are your followers reacting well to your latest company updates and photos, or has a controversial Tweet sparked a debate amongst your audience? If you aren’t monitoring how your posts are being received, you won’t know if any changes need to be made to your content topics, tone of voice or scheduling times. Acknowledging comments and keeping an eye on users’ overall sentiment towards your posts will help you discover what works well and tweak your strategy to meet the wants and needs of your target market.
These are just a selection of reasons why Community Management matters for your business. It’s important to embrace change, and as the digital world continues to evolve, social media is set to play an increasingly significant role in brands’ marketing and customer service procedures. Community Management can either be carried out in-house or by an external agency like 3sixfive.