When it’s time to renegotiate your marketing budget, you might want to refer to the size of your social community.
Hopefully, it’s growing and - even more importantly - becoming more engaged. Indeed, four-fifths of social marketers say that increasing engagement across channels is the most important goal of their social strategy.
But to achieve this, you’ll need to put some serious time and effort into community management.
1. Understand the makeup of your community
Want to fix your social media marketing strategy? Start with in-depth research into your community - not who you think they are, but who actually follows you and engages with your content.
In the age of personalization, knowing your audience has never been more important. You simply can’t expect to build an engaged community if you don’t understand your existing audience. You’ll want to consider a wide range of factors, such as:
- Where are they based?
- What sectors do they work in?
- What sort of content do they enjoy?
- What questions do they want you to answer?
- How do they talk?
- What other brands do they follow?
Once you have a detailed understanding of your audience’s aims and preferences, it becomes far simpler to create an engaged community.
2. Create clear community management processes
Community management might seem simple on the face of things - just respond to every comment, publish a post or two a day, start a couple of conversations, then go home.
In reality, it can quickly spiral out of control without robust processes in place.
- Is it easier to post via desktop or mobile?
- How do you ensure that questions aren’t being missed?
- What systems do you have to guarantee a quick response to time-sensitive queries?
Take the time to draw up clear processes governing every aspect of community management, from posting content to starting conversations and answering questions. Once you’ve created these processes, make sure your team know and understand them inside out.
3. Assign clear roles to your team
Similar to the previous point, if you have multiple team members involved in community management, you’ll need to ensure there’s no overlap between their roles. The last thing you want is to have two different people responding to a query and giving conflicting information.
Ideally, you’ll want to assign each member of your team to a different channel - one for Facebook, another for Twitter and so on.
If you have no option but to have multiple people running the same account - perhaps you simply receive too many queries and mentions for one person to respond to - then clear roles become even more important. For instance, you could have one team member monitoring all comments and mentions, while another is in charge of responding to direct messages.
4. Build a database of frequently asked questions
Chances are your team will find they’re regularly answering the same types of questions. Streamline your community management process and speed up your response times by keeping track of these FAQs in a shared document or spreadsheet.
It might take a lot of upfront work on your part, but it means your team don’t need to go out and find the answer afresh every time.
One word of caution here: don’t allow responses to be copied and pasted from the master document. Encourage your team to personalize their responses - after all, your audience want to feel like they’re speaking to a real person who cares about their query.
5. Don’t wait for the conversation to start
If all you’re doing is waiting to respond to commenters, you’ve effectively turned your community management team into another arm of customer service. While helpful in its own way, this approach is doing little to actively build and engage your community.
Instead, you need to be leading the conversation. Pose questions of your own, then follow the ensuing conversation, opening up new avenues of discussion.
Remember that engagement is key to driving organic reach. In other words, the more you encourage your audience to interact with your posts, the more people will see them.