Community management and social media management are terms that are frequently used interchangeably. While community management is an essential component of any social media strategy, it becomes more crucial as your customer base grows. At its most basic level, community management is all about relationships and how your company uses public online spaces to interact with its customers. And it's something you'll want to invest in if you’re going to build a long-term business with a strong brand.
What is Community Management?
The term "community" may imply a single location. Still, in reality, your community can be found all over the internet: on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Quora, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, forums, and even article comment sections. Existing customers, target audiences, and anyone who interacts with your brand online, directly or indirectly, make up your community.
Brands that do not have a community management strategy miss out on opportunities to:
- Manage customer complaints
- Turn customers into loyal fans
- Influencers and potential customers must be won over.
- Connect with other brands and form alliances with them.
- Be the most extraordinary person in the comments section.
Types of Community Management
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There are six different types of community management: some take place behind a screen with no face-to-face interaction, while others require members of your community to interact with you and your team in person. The SPACE Model is the most straightforward way to examine these types of community management.
∙ S: Customer Service/Success
Customer support and success are the first among the critical types of community management. A forum, FAQ document, and community website are three simple ways to think about customer support and success in terms of community management.
∙ P: Product Ideation, Innovation, and Feedback
Community management can take two forms: proactive and reactive. Product ideation, innovation, and feedback are examples of proactive community management. It necessitates the creation of a secure environment in which your customers and target audience can share their feedback and ideas about how you can improve and innovate your products and services.
∙ A: Purchasing and Advocacy
Another type of community management is acquisition and advocacy. This type of community management enables you to communicate directly with the most enthusiastic people about your company, such as leads, customers, brand ambassadors, and brand advocates.
∙ C: Programming and Content
Creating content and programming for your customers, fans, followers, or employees is another aspect of community management. Marketplaces, crowdfunding, user groups, and user-generated content could all be part of your content and programming.
∙ E: External Engagement
External engagement is a type of community management that fosters a sense of belonging among your customers and supporters, resulting in a stronger bond with your brand through a space that exists outside of your business. Social media management is one of the most common external engagement community management types.
What Is a Community Manager's Role?
A community manager connects a company with its target audience. They serve as the brand's voice, distribute content, provide community support and digital engagement to increase brand awareness and trust.
Purpose of Community Management for Business
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The heart of community management is developing relationships. The way your brand takes advantage of opportunities to interact with your community in online public forums directly impacts many aspects of your brand efforts. To be honest, it's a practice you must invest in if you want to build a long-term business and a robust and relevant brand.
This article will cover some of the importance of community management for your brand and its contribution to the most critical business outcomes. So let's get this party started.
1. It Increases Equity and Brand Advocacy
Maintaining your brand's current users and customer base is arguably just as important — if not more — than acquiring new ones. Like many other aspects of life, the more time or effort a person puts into a product or service, the more they value it. And the more connected and involved a person feels with a brand, the more likely they are to become an advocate for you and spread your word to their friends and family.
Resonance is the most challenging achievement to achieve in the brand equity pyramid. Building deep customer relationships is referred to as resonance. True resonance is a difficult task that can be accomplished only after your customers have formed a solid psychological bond with your brand. These are the customers who make repeated purchases and have a strong attachment to your brand or product that exceeds that of the general public. They also have a strong sense of community management with other consumers and brand representatives. They can actively participate as brand ambassadors by participating in online chats, attending experiential events, and religiously following your brand on social media. This kind of brand equity link can help you build massive brand equity.
2. It Gives Your Customers and Users More Power
Most online communities doing social rights and succeeding in their efforts make extensive use of user-generated content. When you encourage your community to speak up by enticing them with questions and content that elicit a response, you increase engagement and a sense of empowerment among your customers and users. This empowerment frequently enables users to self-police themselves in the event of a rogue user who appears to be inciting conflict within the community. It also provides your brand with knowledgeable ambassadors who can answer each other's questions and concerns without involving your brand. While you should always be active in addressing the needs and concerns of your community, having these 'foot soldiers' of sorts helping to bridge the gap and reinforce a positive brand sentiment is a huge benefit.
3. It Fosters a Genuine Sense of Community, which Humanizes Your Brand
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In terms of getting content out to the masses, especially your target audiences, the reach of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other major social media platforms is equal to or greater than what we can do with television. However, unlike television, social media allows you to establish a direct and personal connection with your audience. This dramatically improves the approachability of your brand.
Any community is built on personal connections. One often-overlooked advantage of community management is that it broadens the scope of the content concept. Consider it as a house. The front door is unlocked, and community management is waiting to greet and welcome the customer with open arms. Carlos Sabbah is Viral Nation's Head of Social Publishing and has managed social media communities of all sizes. He believes that today's millennials and Generation Z consumers expect and demand excellent community management from the brands they buy from.
Social media is designed to facilitate conversations — it is a tool that allows you to connect with those around you. Brands are not successful when they simply push content at their target audience. Because it humanizes the brand and fosters authentic relationships with your customers and user base, speaking directly with your audience through the extension of community management produces far superior results.
4. It Gives You Access to a Pre-existing Audience
It may be worthwhile to go the extra mile and tap into that audience if the channel you're on allows you to reach a large audience or if you're speaking to someone with a large following. Leveraging a pre-existing audience will enable brands to save money (and be more efficient) with their owned and earned media marketing efforts. Analyze your brand's networks to see which channels your community is most active on and which networks are most likely to meet your primary goals. Whether it's to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, or simply maintain your reputation, those are the channels your company should prioritize with its social efforts and the ones that will allow you to reach out to your target audience the most effectively.
5. It Gives You the Ability to Influence Your Brand's Sentiment
When we try to contact a brand, we all expect immediate responses and results. When someone posts on social media, whether it's a complaint, a concern, or just a general question, they expect a quick response. However, a person will feel their concerns are heard or valued due to a lack of response. In that case, they will turn to social media to magnify that complaint and potentially set in motion a serious PR nightmare for a brand.
Brands with excellent community management can quickly address the problem and find an ideal solution before the complaint or question becomes a problem. Customers react to brands based on their emotions and judgments. These judgments are directly related to quality, credibility, and whether your brand is perceived as superior to competitors by consumers. Feelings are simply how someone feels about your brand on a personal level. Positive emotions can include things like joy, warmth, and excitement.
Community management help brands gain a better understanding of their customers' needs and desires, and at the same time, promotes user-generated content like reviews and comments, which are perceived as more genuine than direct brand efforts. In 2018, 97 percent of online buyers read reviews before purchasing, so communities must be actively engaged and create content around a brand's product or service.
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After all, an engaged community is a paying community. Whether through in-person events or online forums, community management is critical in fostering brand loyalty, awareness, and overall success. A solid and engaged online community will produce better results on all fronts while also allowing you to learn and innovate. To make an impact in today's hyper-competitive market, brands must create communities that go beyond simply selling a product and offer tangible value and support to their customers.