In our last post, I shared why community management is critical to your social media success. Community management has become essential in providing customer service – aiding in both customer retention and customer acquisition via referrals. At #Strella Social Media, we have several dedicated community managers who follow the lead of our queen of community management, Karen Try!
Last year, I interviewed Karen about the differences between a community manager and a social media manager, what it takes to be an effective community manager, and why she’s fond of the role. Given the importance of community management, I decided to follow-up with Karen about some of the challenges she’s experienced, the relationship dynamics to serve our customers’ customers, and even some admiration for the ‘spunk’ of those who send messages via social media!
Check out the latest Q&A with Karen below!
In our last interview, you shared the most rewarding part of community management. What’s the most challenging part?
The challenge with every account is to be the voice of the customer. This means that there needs to be some research about the customer before jumping in to respond, which includes reading past posts on their social media and the copy on their website. Understanding not only their tone of voice but also learning the industry verbiage is important to make sure responses are accurate and authentic.
You’re now a ‘leader of community managers’ in addition to your role as a community manager. What have you found to be the top characteristic of the people who thrive in this role?
One of Strella’s core values is ‘Commitment to Excellence’ and this expectation is instilled in every member of the team. Each person aims for excellence not only in customer satisfaction but also in monthly analytics. On the rare occasion that the customer asks for change or offers constructive feedback regarding responses, conversation with the team is immediate and there is discussion as we support each other with suggestions.
How important is the relationship with the client or brand to the effectiveness of your role as the community manager?
The relationship is critical as we have accepted the important role of engaging on their behalf with their customers. We are on the front lines to promote and protect their brand reputation. This includes responding to negative feedback and responding to all comments in a timely and respectable manner. The customer is counting on us to “take care of business” on social media.
What makes your role different from client to client?
The relationship with small business owners is much more personal. For example, one client has a daily leadership email that I subscribe to, which enables me to reinforce his voice and style on social media. Other accounts, such as a large organization, usually have policies and procedures that guide our interactions. These protocols must be followed at all times. These guidelines can change, which requires us to shift gears quickly. I encourage the team members to review our guidelines on a weekly basis.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve experienced in your career as a community manager?
The strangest incidents happen in private messages! For example, our clients have received messages from people who missed the deadline of a casting call to be on a TV show - asking if they could squeeze in late, or if the host of the show call could contact them. We have even received messages requesting that we help them fundraise by creating social media posts to support their GoFundMe campaign. In many ways, I admire the spunk of the folks who go after what they want, even when the answer is not what they are hoping!
Have you experienced anything different or noticeable in your role since our last interview? Any community management trends or things that have changed?
Social media has always been a communication tool. As a community manager, it is also part of my responsibility to be aware of viral topics, movements, and social trends. The last few months have been witness to passionate posts about the 2020 pandemic and human behavior as well as the Black Lives Matter movement. An example requiring immediate attention was #BlackoutTuesday which came up very suddenly. It was a show of respect to post a black square on social media or post nothing at all. This required us to reach out to our customers immediately to ask them for their preference in order to properly represent them. I believe that customer service is very closely aligned with respect, as we strive to be an accurate voice on their behalf, with the tone and sensitivity they would want.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would encourage every community manager to self-audit regularly. Although moving forward in a timely manner and responding to every comment is the priority, I believe it is also important to review past posts as well to make sure that nothing has been missed. We are humans who can miss something, but also technology has its own glitches! We expect notifications of new comments and interactions, but sometimes there is a glitch or delay - and although we scoured the account before, it’s possible comments were missed. I prefer to catch my own omissions but know that if I don’t, the #Strella Quality Assurance check sure will!