Businesses that want to reap rewards from their social media presence must embrace that interacting with their followers is just as—and perhaps even more—important than posting content.
This is something that I explain to all #Strella clients when mapping out a social media strategy and defining goals and objectives. Yes, the creation of relevant, interesting posts plays a significant role in building a following. However, community management to engage those followers and build relationships is what moves the needle to build brand loyalty and trust.
What is a Community Manager?
Community management involves listening and responding to build rapport—and relationships—with a business's social media followers. A community manager engages with a business's audience on social media, essentially holding a conversation with followers to ask and answer questions, address concerns, acknowledge input and feedback, and encourage additional discussion.
Awhile back in this blog post, I interviewed Karen Try, our #Strella community manager, about what community management involves and what she does in her role. Here's what she said:
“My role involves more ‘people’ and less of the mechanics of the social media platforms. The goal for a community manager is to engage with the audience, even to the point of conversation while encouraging others to join the conversation with their feedback. This is an authentic and sincere engagement where feedback is taken seriously and often redirected back to the client.”
Why Is Community Management So Important?
Community management has become essential in providing customer service. Here are some statistics that back that up:
- 80 percent of customers expect companies to respond within 24 hours to their comments and messages on social media. 50 percent of customers say they would discontinue doing business with a company that does not respond to a negative social media post. (via Hubspot)
- 42 percent of consumers expect a response within 60 minutes, and 32 percent expect a response within 30 minutes. (via Jay Baer and Business News Daily)
- 71 percent of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the company to other people. (via SocialMediaToday)
- Answering a complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by up to 25 percent. (via Jay Baer and Business News Daily)
- 30 percent of customers will go to a competitor if a brand doesn’t respond to them on social media. (via Sprout Social)
Whether customers are singing your praises, asking a question about a product or service, or lodging a complaint, they expect you to acknowledge and interact with them. Their comments and posts that mention your brand put all eyes on you. How you handle (or your lack of handling) their input and feedback will reflect on your brand, either enhancing or destroying customer trust and respect.
If that’s not compelling enough to convince you that community management is a critical element in social media management, consider this:
Facebook factors meaningful engagement into its algorithm for prioritizing posts that users see in their News Feed. Posts with more interactions show up higher in the News Feed and get more reach across the platform. Therefore, you can increase your chances of having your business's posts seen by more people if you encourage engagement by interacting with your followers.
Characteristics of a Qualified Community Manager
Now that we’ve covered what community management is and why it has to be a part of a successful social media strategy, let’s talk about what qualities make a good community manager. A few of the characteristics that make Karen excellent in her #Strella role include:
- Customer service training and experience
- A genuine interest in helping people
- Ability to understand and represent the brand’s voice
- Excellent listening skills
Not everyone is cut out to be a community manager and not every business has the qualified staff or time to perform community management successfully on its own. If your company is struggling to engage, respond, and build relationships with customers on social media, I welcome the opportunity to explore how the #Strella team can help.