Community management is both the oldest and newest responsibility at any modern company.
Keeping on top of your community of customers and engaging with them are one of the oldest tactics there is. At the same time, innovations in community management are changing the ways in which companies need to undertake this task at light speed.
The change of pace is so quick that it can oftentimes be dizzying, and threatening to leave even the most savvy community managers scratching their heads. But there is no room to be complacent. Swift and definitive action is required in order to remain viable in today's competitive business environment.
Below, we focus on the current trends that community management faces, and provide some guidelines for how to deal with them.
Communities Expect Deeper Engagement
Being constantly engaged with your community is critical. However, this doesn't simply mean being present, it means finding new and authentic ways to communicate with your audience in order to convey value to customers and build a sense of trust.
Community Managers need to immerse themselves in the ethos of their community, understanding the hopes and fears that drive their customers to engage with their product or service. Stagnancy is a sure recipe for irrelevance.
One example of how to increase community engagement is to create an onboarding email program. Craft a welcome message that is automatically sent to new members listing out the next steps that the new member can take. This immediate engagement orients them and makes them feel at home. For example, thank them for becoming a member of the forum and ask them to create avatars, submit a discussion topic or point them in the direction of relevant topics.
Once a new member is active, forum moderators should take the lead in making connections within them. A good best practice here is to reach out by PM and ask them a personal question or even facilitate introductions. Write out an email or even create a contest inviting people to connect with one another. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask! If engagement remains low, try inviting individuals to respond on a topic of shared interest. People will naturally begin to interact as they converse.
Staying In Front of the Conversation Through Great Content
When it comes to your community - your passionate fans are your content marketing team. Leverage your super-users to create content in your community through contests, VIP access and rewards. In the past, brands could just focus on tagging their content with popular hashtags. That’s no longer enough.
What’s important is the ability to drive engagement through stories and following trends. If relevant, these curated content seeds can be used as jumping points for deeper engagement.
Use it to monitor all the different angles of what your community is currently talking about, and then generate forum content around the trends.
Using Marketing Automation to Your Advantage
Which brings us to the final tip that community managers can take advantage of — how to scale the relationship building process taking advantage of your crm and marketing automation tool such as Hubspot, or Marketo. Marketing Automation refers to technology your marketing department is using to automate many repetitive tasks related to email marketing and website actions. It’s very powerful and something that you, as the owner of your online community, want to explore in connecting to your activities.
In its simplest form, one of the main goals of automation is increasing engagement with minimal effort. Your marketing team is already targeting prospects and customers with email marketing and messages. It doesn’t make sense for your community platform to have its own independent solution. Imagine how annoying it will be for community members to have their inboxes flooded by both marketing messages and community messages.Hopefully, these tactics will help you increase engagement in your community. Let us know if you have any more to add!