Community Management 101: Best Practices For Interacting with Your Customers
Any business that wants to build long-term success needs the support of dedicated customers who provide repeat business and brand advocacy. No matter what size of business you operate, or how long you’ve been in operation, you can cultivate and strengthen these relationships through a strategy called community management.
Community management is an engagement-based approach to marketing that uses in-person and digital channels to interact with both existing and prospective customers. The ultimate goal of this approach is to improve brand loyalty and trust through genuine connections that offer value to your target audience.
Social media has become a central destination for executing community management campaigns, largely because of the way they facilitate and reward connection, engagement, sharing, and the growth of your company’s profile and following over time. By leveraging social media alongside other community management strategies, your business can cultivate a digital presence that improves your overall customer experience and lays a foundation for continued growth.
Looking for tips on how to get started? Read on for our recommended best practices.
1. Refine Your Brand Voice and Engagement Goals
Community management is built upon strong relationships between brands and their audience. This means every brand needs to approach community management with a strong sense of who the brand is—including how the brand communicates and what its priorities and values are when interacting with customers.
From the brand’s tone of voice to the types of content it shares, every business should preface community management by refining this brand voice to ensure consistency across all of its content. Along those same lines, your business should identify its top goals and performance indicators to evaluate the success of your strategy. For example, are you looking to expand your follower base as quickly as possible, or is your primary focus increasing engagement among your existing customers and followers?
These goals will help you understand which community management practices—including individual pieces of content—are most successful in helping your business reach your goals. Meanwhile, a consistent, distinctive brand voice will strengthen your company’s authenticity, and facilitate deeper engagement with your audience.
2. Identify the Social Channels You Want to Prioritize
Social media is a central component of community-building for most businesses, and it’s easy to see why: it facilitates easy engagement and communication with an audience that far surpasses most other channels.
Effective community management strategies are well-served by leveraging social platforms to achieve their goals. But with so many social networks to choose from, many businesses—especially small, local operations—lack the resources needed to facilitate community management across a large number of platforms.
Instead, you’ll likely need to choose a limited number of social networks—maybe only or two—to focus on in your community-building efforts. The best platforms will likely be determined by the type of audience you’re trying to target, as well as whether you’ve already had success engaging a community through certain channels.
This more selective approach to social engagement will also come in handy when creating content for each channel.
3. Maintain a Consistent Engagement Cadence
When it comes to building and managing a community, consistency is key. Your business won’t have much success if it posts and engages with your audience sporadically. Strong relationships with your audience are dependent upon maintaining visibility and regular interactions.
For this reason, your business should try to engage in community management activities on a daily basis. Even if you’re out of the office, consider scheduling social media posts, email, and other content to maintain engagement and brand visibility even when you’re away. By establishing your brand as a fixture in the lives of your audience, you’ll build up momentum and trust that will serve your business in the long run.
4. Monitor Performance and Lean into Success
Community management success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the product of consistent engagement and a refinement of how you interact with your target audience.
As you get to know your audience better, you will inevitably find that some strategies and types of content deliver strong results, while others underwhelm. Your business should track these results and look for trends and insights that can help you improve your community management performance. For example, visual content and/or humorous content may be particularly engaging and effective, while posting at certain times of the day seems to struggle to gain traction with your audience, for some reason. By leaning into your successes and steering away from what isn’t working as well, you can gradually improve the efficiency and performance of your community management strategy.
If you’re seeking an extra boost to accelerate your community management efforts, social media advertising can be an effective complement to organic social engagement and community-building. A paid social campaign can help you extend the reach of high-performing social content and reach a relevant audience beyond your existing network of followers.
A digital advertising partner can guide you through the steps of creating a paid campaign, while also ensuring you’re adhering to best practices to achieve the best ROI for your efforts. Ready to get started? Contact Cox Media today.
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