In our view, community management is both the earliest and latest responsibility of any business .
Keeping on top of and engaging your community of customers should be a priority. At the same time, innovations in community management are changing the ways in which companies must swiftly undertake this task.
The change of pace is happening so quickly that it can leave even the most savvy community managers scratching their heads. But there’s no room for complacency. Prompt and definitive action is needed to remain viable in today's competitive business environment.
Below, we focus on the current trends that community management faces, and provide some guidelines to deal with them.
Communities Expect more Engagement
Being constantly engaged with your community is critical. This doesn't mean simply being present; it means finding new ways and ideas to convey value to customers. You must build a sense of trust and thought leadership that will propel your business forward even as everything around it is changing.
Community managers need to immerse themselves in the ethos of their community. To do this, they must understand the hopes and fears that drive their customers to engage with their product or service. Stagnancy is a recipe for irrelevance.
Expectations Are Rising
Customers expect more out of businesses and their communities in every conceivable way. This translates to superior content, engaging touch-points and better customer service – all more quickly and efficiently than ever before.
We live in a truly global world where endless competitive options are available for our customers. They’re able to do their own due diligence in real-time and understand which companies provide the value they deserve. Community managers who aren't connected to their community and the direction it’s taking will find their business quickly relegated to irrelevance.
Technological Innovations Must Be Adopted & Used Dynamically
Technology empowers customers to expect more from businesses. By extension, keeping up with the increased engagement, heightened expectations and industry changes requires Community Managers to employ the most cutting edge technologies to excel at their job.
A common example of this is the big data imperative. Companies are racing to find new ways to analyze community trends and insights to help them make smarter decisions about both customer service and product. But there are also a myriad of tools available to help with administrative management as well. Things such as finding influencers within social media groups with whom to form dynamic partnerships or champions within community support forums who can create compelling new methods of engagement.
Disruption, Disruption, Disruption
With this increased engagement, heightened expectations and the technological adaptation trying to meet it, it’s hardly a surprise that the most constant reality of today's business world is change. Disruption of industries has become so commonplace as to almost make the term irrelevant. Traditionally thought of as coming in waves, disruption today is a constant norm in any business arena.
Nature isn’t static. CMs need to stay on top of shifting trends to understand how they impact their communities. Communities are places where businesses can demonstrate how they’re ahead of the curve, yet malleable enough to stay that way moving forward.
Which brings us to the final trend community management faces today — understanding, in a systematic way, where the conversation is headed. Predictive analytics are key to anticipating disruption so that a company can remain ahead of changing trends.
Predicting what tomorrow will bring isn’t an exact science. However, this doesn't mean there aren't meaningful and actionable insights that can be gleaned by those who pay close attention to the market. Community managers are the tip of this spearhead, with an ear to the ground for customer needs and where trends are taking them .
This can be tricky at times, but is is also a highly empirical endeavor. Technology must be used to keep up with the speed of change. Having the proper tools to analyze community trends and find useful insights is critical to make the right decisions – both now and in the future.