As social media interactions skyrocket and inbound marketing moves center stage, many companies are hiring community managers to take control of a brand’s online identity and to monitor customer interaction.
A community manager’s main goal is to turn unknown individuals online into enthusiastic advocates for the brand. This requires actively and publicly responding to customer concerns, fostering a community through interaction and a shared identity, and leveraging unique online content that will educate and entertain your target audience.
If you’ve already hired a community manager or are considering hiring one, below are five things to keep in mind as you define the responsibilities and objectives tied to the role to best serve your brand’s needs.
1. Social media responses need to be fast and constant.
In today’s world, customer service is no longer a designated department with set hours. Online customers and advocates want and expect fast and around the clock responses to their problems and inquiries. They also will not hesitate to publicly share bad experiences. This is why a good community manager will set up a system where customer concerns are responded to quickly, constantly, and publicly.
It is assumed that software will occasionally have bugs and that customers will occasionally have problems. Being able to witness how a company responds to these issues will reassure potential leads and let them know that in the case of an issue, they can easily access someone who will help. If a potential lead sees a complaint on social media about a service, it is important that they also see the quick and thoughtful response of the community manager.
2. Thought leaders need to guide conversations and content
A community manager can do more than simply react to what customers and advocates are sharing on social media. A good manager will take the lead and guide conversations and interactions to foster a healthy online community by engaging company employees to act as thought leaders on social media. Thought leaders guide conversations, facilitate interaction, and inspire new advocates to get involved so that customer contributions are converted into valuable marketing opportunities. A community manager should actively guide the direction of interactions while leaving room to adapt based on community members’ needs and wants.
3. Advocates need to be recognized and rewarded
Enthusiastic advocates are an invaluable asset to a brand. A good community manager will target these advocates and recognize and reward them. This can be as simple as retweeting great feedback from a loyal customer, or offering a tangible reward such as a gift card to someone who regularly shares the company’s content. Finding and validating advocates is an important step to keeping customers happy and engaged.
4. Crises should be handled sincerely and with transparency
An important characteristic of a community manager is staying calm and composed during a crisis. When things do go wrong, the community manager is acting as the face of the company and guiding the narrative on the crisis and its aftermath. A good community manager will admit fault, listen and respond to all concerns as quickly as possible, and remain optimistic, sincere and honest about the situation.
5. Convert customer’s concerns, challenges, and questions into amazing content
Feedback, both good and bad, can be a great source of content for a marketer. A good community manager will capitalize on the fact that they have a window into their target audience’s questions, concerns, and interests and turn this information into useful content. For example, if there is a pattern of customer issues with setting up installation for a software service, the community manager would consider starting a blog series on installation that responds to frequently asked questions about the process. Useful content will always be the basis of building an online community, and the community manager is the leader of this process.
Using a community manager to find and keep brand advocates is something any growing business should consider. Comment below to let us know your experience with community management and how it’s shaped your online identity.