As you can see, there are several types of community management and ways to go about implementing them at your company.
For the sake of this piece, we’re going to review how to create just one community management strategy — an external engagementstrategy (which we defined earlier), specifically through social media.
1. Choose a social media channel.
The first thing you’ll want to do is choose the social media channel on which you’ll manage your community.
Think about your target audience’s demographics to determine the best option for your company — for example, you might choose to focus your efforts on Snapchat if you have a young target audience, Instagram if you’re going for a broad target audience, or LinkedIn if you’re targeting a more professional crowd.
Other examples of platforms you might consider building and managing your community on include Facebook, Youtube, and Pinterest.
2. Identify your audience.
Once you’ve chosen a social media channel, identify your audience on that platform.
By doing this, you’ll be able to see the type of content your target audience interacts with on the specific platform, what they like and expect from the brands similar to yours they already follow, and who they currently engage with.
This research and information will allow you to begin thinking about how you’re going to tailor the content your business creates to your target audience and your chosen platform.
3. Ask your audience what type of content they want to see.
In addition to identifying your audience, you should also ask your audience what they want to see to ensure you’re creating and pushing out content that’s relevant to them.
This will ensure you’re going to be able to reach your audience with social media content they want and are interested in.
Asking for this feedback and being open to suggestions also shows your audience you care deeply about their opinions and what they have to say — this will help you enhance your brand loyalty and advocacy, and create valuable interaction within your community (versus a one-way platform).
4. Determine how you’ll identify your success.
Now it’s time to determine how you’ll identify your success. There’s no right or wrong answer here — this is completely based on what matters to you and your company. Ask yourself, “what’s ideal for my brand?”
Here are some examples of success identifiers you might choose to focus on:
- Boost in audience members/ increase in followers
- Number of conversation participants in a live chat or discussion
- Amount of content shared or liked by your followers
- Overall engagement (likes, shares, mentions, hashtags, messages, comments)
- Increase in brand awareness
- Increase in customer satisfaction and retention
- Traffic that’s directed to your website
- Boost in your sales and conversions
(We’ll review how you can measure your community management success identifiers and metrics shortly.)
5. Set goals.
Like most things in business, setting attainable goals, as well as stretch goals, is crucial when working to achieve your various objectives and measure your success.
However, if you’re developing a completely new strategy or if you’ve never set goals like the ones you need to make for your social media community management strategy, this task might seem like a difficult one.
To get started, try running an experiment or two after you’ve determined how you plan on measuring your success.
For example, if you’ve decided that you’re going to measure your success through your overall engagement on the social media platform, you can run an engagement experiment. Try keeping track of all engagement related to the content you produce and share on the social platform for a specific amount of time you’ve chosen (maybe 4-8 weeks to start).
When the experiment has come to an end, average out your overall engagement (likes, shares, comments, mentions, hashtags, messages, etc.) and then use that number to create an attainable goal — and stretch goal if you choose — for your engagement over the next 4-8 weeks, and so on.
You can always update these numbers as time goes on and as you begin collecting more data.
Throughout your experiment, you can also A/B test different content to see what your followers like the best and choose to interact with most.
6. Post regularly and engage with your audience.
Success on social media requires consistency in terms of your frequency of posts and engagement. You should determine how often you’re going to post on social media and stick to that plan so your audience members know you’re reliable and start to expect to see your content — you’ll train them to look for your latest posts.
Social media is a great way to develop close bonds and relationships among your brand and audience. Show your customers and followers they aren’t just a number and they’re heard by your company and employees.
“Like” their comments and respond to all questions, comments or concerns (even the positive comments that warrant a “Thank you!” or “Yay! We’re so happy you’re enjoying our free CRM!”).
You can even follow back your biggest brand advocates — if you deem it as appropriate — or interact with the content your followers share (whether or not it has a direct tie to your company) to show your support.
No matter how you choose to interact and engage with your followers, remember to be authentic and address each person as an individual. Social media isn’t a forum, so there shouldn’t be any canned responses you use for your social followers.
7. Measure your results.
Now it’s time to measure your results. Remember, when it comes to measuring your success on social, you shouldn’t always get hung up on the quantitative data — numbers don’t always reflect all of your efforts accurately, or the sense of belonging you’re creating for your community members.
Additionally, you rarely see immediate results when it comes to your social media efforts — identifying your target audience, building a following, and learning how to reach your customers on a specific platform takes time.
To measure your results, decide on the method that works best for your needs, goals, and company. Here are a few ways to do this.
- Social listening: Social listening is the process of monitoring your social media accounts to look for and keep track of all mentions, customer feedback, keywords, and discussions related to your brand, products, services, and customers (even your competitors, too). You then take a deeper look at all of these things to analyze them and gain insight into what’s working for your customers and followers, and what should be modified.
- Platform analytics: Depending on the social platform you chose for your community management strategy, there might be a built-in analytics tool for you to measure your success in terms of variables specific to that platform. Examples include Twitter Analytics, Instagram Insights, and Facebook Analytics.
- Analytics tools: If your platform of choice doesn’t have an analytics tool included, or if you’re looking for deeper analysis, you might choose to incorporate another tool or platform to help you measure your succes