In my last post, I shared what community management is and why it is critical to social media success. Knowing the importance of community engagement is just a start, however. You also need to know how to go about it strategically. So now, I'm going to share some guidance to help you ensure your community management efforts strike the right chord with your followers.
7 Community Management Tips to Help You Build Rapport and Gain a Following on Social Media
1. Understand your audience and your brand’s personality.
Succeeding in business requires understanding your customers' wants and needs. That doesn't stop with your products and services; it expands to your interactions on social media, too. Who are your followers, and what types of posts will resonate with them? Learning this requires some experimentation and paying attention to social media analytics, such as Facebook Insights.
Also, consider your business’s tone and voice, and keep it consistent when crafting social media posts and replying to followers. Write content that is personable, approachable, and respectful as it projects your brand’s persona.
2. Anticipate the types of inquiries you’ll receive.
I suggest you write down a list of questions that you regularly receive from followers in post comments and private messages. Then create a response template that you can refer to when answering those frequently asked questions. Doing so can save you a lot of time every day because you'll have the information followers are looking for readily available, eliminating the need to "reinvent the wheel" each time you field common questions.
Also, I recommend creating social media response guidelines for your team to put everyone on the same page and encourage consistency in handling specific types of inquiries and issues.
3. Stay aware.
Karen Try, who handles community management for #Strella clients, shared in a recent Q&A that community managers must stay informed about viral topics, movements, and societal trends. A business’s audience may expect it to acknowledge those developments on social media—and that requires care, sensitivity, and empathy.
Do not ignore genuine comments and messages on social media; acknowledge them. In some instances, the simple act of clicking "like" might be enough—but not always. When someone asks a question, provides sincere feedback (positive or not-so-positive), or otherwise shares their thoughts, respond with an answer, a solution, a thank you, or whatever is appropriate for the situation. Also, do not let too much lag time occur before you reply to questions or complaints. According to data gathered by Sprout Social, “40% of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours.”
5. Use humor that’s in tune with your brand and appropriate for your audience.
We can all use a little levity now and then. Infusing some humor into your content and responses to lighten things up can be an effective way to engage followers. If you want to post memes, GIFs, or other bits of comic relief, consider what your audience will find funny vs. offensive. Crossing the line—even unintentionally—with humor that your followers think is insulting or inappropriate can damage your brand reputation.
6. Use what you learn to improve the customer experience.
Community management can teach you a lot about your followers, their likes, and their dislikes. Listen! Use what you learn about your audience online to improve your products and services and enhance the customer experience offline.
7. Get help.
Community management requires much time (especially when brands are on multiple social media platforms), and there's a lot at stake if it's not handled well. Without dedicated resources to carry out community engagement on all fronts, you risk making customers feel ignored and unappreciated. The impact can be detrimental for your company as those dissatisfied individuals share their dismay with their social media connections.
If you’re struggling to find the time to interact with followers or are uncertain about how to best build and nurture relationships online, consider working with professionals who specialize in community management. At #Strella, we have extensive experience in all aspects of social media management, including community management. My team and I would love to explore how we can help you use social media to further your business objectives. Send us a message to get started!