Table of Contents
Table of Contents
So, why do people feel more disconnected even though they are part of a highly connected digital society?
While it is easier than ever to communicate online with anyone all over the world, there is one missing component – the feeling of belonging to a community.
A community helps people build authentic relationships with others and makes them feel valued.
That’s why many businesses emphasize community building around their brands and here’s where community management comes in.
Many businesses build social media communities to humanize their brands, interact with their followers, and create genuine connections on a personal level. This way, you can build a strong community of followers and create the space for like-minded people to connect and feel like they’re part of something bigger.
Ready to explore all community management-related? We’ve got just the guide for you, exploring:
- What community management is on social media
- The main community management types
- Community management best practices
- How to create a successful community management strategy
- 10 helpful community management tools
- 10 community management courses
- The role of community managers
What is Community Management on Social Media
Social media community management involves building a community of followers (including clients, employees, and partners) on social media.
But community management goes beyond merely posting on social media – it’s all about interacting with your audience in a meaningful way. This includes listening to your audience, initiating conversations, and actively participating in them.
This way, you work towards creating a network in which people with similar interests can connect, share, and grow.
What is the Purpose of Community Management
As part of your overall marketing efforts, community management aims to humanize your brand and help you adopt a more personal communication style with your audience.
- Generate feedback and gather ideas through real conversations with your followers.
- Learn firsthand what your customers want regarding products, services, content, and support.
- Provide real-time assistance to your audience members and customers.
- Boost customer satisfaction, conversions, and sales.
- Provide added value to your customers by creating a stronger, more personal relationship with them.
Why is Social Media Community Management Important
Community management is critical for driving authentic engagement and building a loyal following on social media.
Social media community management is also essential for:
- Improving your customer service efforts: Being active on social media helps you handle customer complaints better, increase brand loyalty, network with other brands, collaborate with influencers, and get direct feedback right from the source.
- Increasing brand engagement: By creating an active community around your brand, you increase your visibility and work towards building a more solid and trusted brand name for yourself.
Social Media Manager vs. Community Manager
While community managers often work on different social media platforms to build and strengthen a brand‘s community, it’s important to note that they have different roles from social media managers.
Here are the main differences:
- Social media managers: They primarily focus on managing the brand‘s social media marketing efforts. This involves creating the main social media marketing strategy, publishing social media posts, and monitoring results from the posts and ads campaigns. SM managers always post on behalf of the brand.
- Community managers: On the other hand, community managers interact directly with the brand’s followers in comments and DMs. They aim to have more engaging one-on-ones, create more personal relationships, and offer advice and support. Community managers always interact and post as regular users.
Community Management Types
There are six main types of community management. We’ll categorize these using the SPACE model so you can easily understand which type might work best for you and your community management efforts.
S: Customer Support/Success
Customer support and success involve sharing answers and solving problems through forums, FAQ sections, and community websites. Community members who share such tips and tricks often help to minimize customer support costs for the brand.
This community management type is suitable for businesses with an extensive product line so community members can easily share issues they bump into and advise on how to resolve them.
P: Product Ideation, Innovation, and Feedback
This type of community management involves asking your target audience or existing customers for feedback on product innovation and improvements.
To do that, you need to create a safe space for your audience so they can share their feedback. You can even invite small trial groups in person to test your product so you can understand firsthand how to improve your product.
A: Acquisition and Advocacy
This community management type allows you to interact with the people most excited about your brand. These can include existing customers, leads, brand ambassadors, and advocates. You can use this valuable network to get good customer reviews and testimonials and offer affiliate and brand ambassador programs.
All these acquisition and advocacy initiatives can help you with brand awareness increase and business growth, as well as improve brand loyalty and strengthen your relationship with your most dedicated customers.
C: Content and Programming
Content and programming could include various marketplaces, user generated content, crowdfunding, and user groups. The members of these communities are your followers, fans, customers, and employees.
This is a great option for companies whose contributed content is essential to their business model.
There are two main types of engagement:
This type of community management connects your customers and followers by using a space outside your business (usually a social media platform like Facebook or Instagram). External engagement is a good option for companies that want to improve brand awareness by creating one-on-one and one-to-many relationships with their followers.
Companies can also initiate internal engagement activities among their internal contributors, employees, suppliers, and partners. Improving these relationships can boost company morale, retention rates, and workspace inclusion, as people have a stronger sense of belonging and happiness.
Community Management Best Practices
Here’s a quick guide with the best tried-and-tested practices when it comes to community management:
Set community rules and guidelines
Since your community reflects all your brand is about, you want to set clear guidelines for all audience members. Based on the type of community, these rules might differ but generally aim to:
- Create a document describing the expected audience behavior and communication in the community.
- Have a preset procedure on how team members should escalate and manage important issues within the community.
- Make all guideline documents easily accessible (you can upload them to your website page, forum, Slack channel, or social media group, so they’re available to everyone).
- Update all guidelines regularly.
Check on your community regularly
Check on your community audience, whether they get all their inquiries answered, what kind of discussions happen, and what content is being shared.
This way, you get a sense if:
- Everything is running smoothly
- There’s a sense of community
- All members are getting the support they need
Listen to your community
Since community management is all about personal, thoughtful interaction with all community members, you have to truly listen to what they have to say.
Ensure your marketing team performs social listening and regularly scans your forums and FAQ pages. That’s where community members share their opinions, questions, and experiences, which can give you valuable insights into how you can improve your community further.
Maintain your brand voice at all times
Make sure that all team members working in your community understand your brand voice and maintain it while engaging with your audience. This creates the feeling of a unique community with a clear identity that’s easily recognizable by your audience.
Whatever your business is about, make sure to be as genuine as possible. This helps build a strong-knit community where all members feel valued. This will also help you develop an authentic branding style and voice.
Show appreciation to your followers
Showing appreciation will help you build brand loyalty and trust within the community. When your followers feel valued, they are also more invested in and supportive of your brand.
To show appreciation, you can:
- Interact with people who mention your brand to develop a more personal relationship with them and humanize your brand. To keep track of such mentions, check for brand-related hashtags and keywords on social media and your community website.
- When a new community member joins, give them a warm welcome to the family.
- Invite your brand ambassadors and advocates to the office to meet your team.
- Identify your biggest supporters and most devoted customers and send them small appreciation gifts (like product samples) or simply give them a shout-out to show you care.
Explore new ways to engage your community
You can engage with your community in various ways online (through Zoom or Slack meetings, virtual Metaverse meetups, creating polls and surveys, or organizing live chats) or in person.
This way, you can keep everyone in the loop on any important changes or product updates while direct interaction helps strengthen your relationship with all community followers.
Community Management Strategy
Whatever community management type you choose, you first need to set a clear strategy. Community management strategies help you define the most important steps and prepare an actionable goal-oriented plan.
Here are 6 great community management plan templates for all community management types.
To give you an example of how community management strategies work, let’s take the community management strategy for increasing external engagement on social media.
1. Choose a social media channel
First, identify what social media channels your target audience uses the most and focus all your efforts there.
For example, if you’re targeting younger audiences, you should focus your marketing efforts on social networks like TikTok, while if you’re targeting mid-aged professionals, LinkedIn is a better choice.
2. Identify your audience
When you have a specific platform in mind, identify your audience on that channel to see what content they like and what other brands they’re already following.
This will help you understand how to better engage your brand’s online community.
3. Ask your audience what content they want to see
Asking what content your followers are interested in is crucial if you want to achieve maximum engagement. This will allow you to get your social content creation strategy right from the first time and show your audience you truly care.
4. Determine how you’ll identify success
To determine what success means for you, understand what you’re pursuing.
This could be anything meaningful to you and your business. For example:
- Increasing the number of conversations in chats and discussions.
- Increasing the number of likes and shares on your posts.
- Increasing the number of followers.
- Getting more traffic to your website.
- Boosting signups, sales, and converted leads.
- Achieving higher customer retention.
5. Set goals
Set specific and clear goals that will help you measure your success. For example, if we take some of the success points from above, these could be:
- Get 100 likes and 50 shares on each new post.
- Gain 500 new followers in the next month.
- Get 200 new website visitors from social media.
6. Post regularly and engage with your audience
When it comes to social media success, consistency is king. Define how often you want to post and stick to the routine. You can create a social media posting calendar to ensure you do not miss posting on a regular basis.
Consistency will also help you engage with your audience members since they will start expecting to see your content in their feed. To boost engagement, you can also reply to their comments. Just remember to make each response unique and personal. This will make you sound authentic and add the human element to your brand.
7. Measure your results
There are many methods you can use to measure your success. Also, remember that seeing results from your social media efforts is a long process, as building a following and understanding how to reach your target audience takes time.
To figure out what works best for you, you can
- Perform social listening: Customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and the sense of belonging cannot be measured with numbers. That’s why keeping track of all conversations related to your brand is crucial. Social listening will help you understand whether your efforts to create a sense of community are paying off and identify any areas of improvement.
- Use social platform analytics: Most social channels have built-in analytics tools. These can give you a great overview of all vital metrics, helping you understand your performance.
You can also use some external community management tools. Let’s take a look at some, shall we?
Community Management Tools
Keeping up with all conversations, brand mentions, and new followers can be overwhelming. But managing your community can be streamlined with the right set of tools.
Online community management tools can help you get a top-down view of everything, plan better, and identify improvement areas much easier.
Let’s check out some of these tools:
1. Grytics for Communities
Grytics helps you identify inactive members, connect influencers with your online community, and use targeted content to boost engagement. It’s a great tool for Facebook as it has a Facebook Groups Management feature.
You can also schedule posts, automate publishing, and get interactive reports.
NapoleonCat collects comments, messages, and reviews in real time. It helps you answer all questions through the main dashboard, making follower and customer interactions quick and easy.
Hootsuite allows you to manage all mentions of your brand through a single messaging dashboard, ensuring seamless interactions between you and your followers.
This tool automates all vital social media analytics activities like competitor research and campaign and brand monitoring and provides spot-on reports.
Keyhole also has convenient social listening and sentiment analysis tools that help you understand your online community better and tune in to different conversations. It also has account recommendations that suggest relevant hashtags and best posting times.
Sociality gathers all social media comments into a single inbox. Its Engage feature helps you track all brand mentions and comments, organizing them into different categories.
6. Sprout Social
With its advanced engagement features and smart inbox, Sprout Social streamlines the community monitoring process. Its analytics features help managers track community growth.
Also, Sprout Social’s post-performance report gives insights into likes, comments, clicks, and shares, helping you understand if members find your content useful. Additionally, if your community is mostly on Twitter, you can use the Trends Report feature that shows you which topics can drive more engagement.
While Brand24 collects all brand mentions in one place, it also evaluates the quality of their sources. The discussion volume feature also allows you to spot any unusual changes in the discussion volume. This way, you get notified immediately if there’s a negative mention of your brand, helping you react promptly.
Besides streamlining social listening, this AI-based tool helps with crisis management. The AI chatbot gives scores to all messages and identifies any negative feedback so you can react as early as possible. Emplifi also improves collaboration efforts and social media team management and communication.
This tool connects you to over 100,000 registered creators, allowing you to leverage your brand with the power of influencers. With Creator.co, you can also build a strong online community of brand advocates through their affiliate programs.
10. Qoob Stories
Qoob Stories is a great tool if you’re targeting Instagram and TikTok. Its downloader feature saves the content in which your brand was tagged and uses it to create user generated content. This way, you can easily monitor what your most active online community members share.
Community Management Training
If you’re new to community management, you can take up training or a course to help you get started. We’ve compiled a list with a few helpful courses to let you in on all the insights, tips, and tricks of successful community management.
With these courses you will learn innovative ways to build brand loyalty, effectively engage with your community, and create strong relationships within your social media community.
- Community Management Certification by Digital Marketer
- Thriving Communities by Thinkific Academy
- Engaging with Your Social Media Community by Hootsuite Academy
- Social Listening and Community Management at Cornell
- Meta Certified Community Manager Course
- The Community MBA by CMX Academy
- Community Management Courses by FeverBee
- Social Media & Community Management for Lead Gen by Udemy
- The Community Roundtable Courses by the CR Academy
- Build an Engaged Online Community from Scratch by SkillShare
Managing an online community and creating an effective community management strategy can take up a significant portion of your time. So, you might want to consider hiring a community manager.
What is a Community Manager?
A community manager runs your whole community management marketing campaign from scratch. Such experts set up the strategy, define the goals, track metrics, and identify areas that need improvement.
What Does a Community Manager Do?
Social media community managers are in charge of:
- Maintaining a consistent and authentic brand voice at all times.
- Scheduling and posting social media content.
- Engaging with the audience.
- Keeping up with the latest industry trends and best practices.
- Tracking all vital metrics on social media and making improvements accordingly.
- Meeting the needs and wants of the audience.
- Tracking whether all community guidelines and rules are followed.
- Encouraging audience members to ask questions, share ideas, solve problems, and provide feedback.
How to be a Successful Community Manager?
A good community manager:
- Has strong listening and empathy skills.
- Has the ability to lead all community growth efforts.
- Can communicate in an authentic and effective manner.
- Adapts quickly.
- Knows how to stay on top of all new trends and hot topics.
- Has great research and analytical skills.
- Is detail oriented.
- Understands well the brand voice and image and how to communicate it.
Where to Find Community Managers
You can find a community manager on a few different social platforms:
- CMX Hub: This is an online platform and a job board for community management positions. Here community managers can network, connect, and grow professionally as they get connected to different businesses searching for experts in the industry.
- Community Club: This platform connects over 1,000 community managers with different brands.
- Upwork: If you’re looking for a community manager on a freelance basis, Upwork is a good option for finding such marketers. You just have to create a job post with all project requirements and qualifications you need.
- Facebook: You can join different Facebook groups that connect community management experts with businesses.
- LinkedIn: And of course, LinkedIn is a great place for connecting professionals and businesses. It also offers dedicated community management groups where individuals can share different job opportunities and industry updates.
Community management on social media can accelerate growth, establish your brand voice, and strengthen relationships with your followers. By creating strong, true connections with your community and humanizing your brand, you can also increase conversions, drive sales, and improve brand loyalty.
To get started, you need to understand which community management type fits your business and define your strategy and goals. Alternatively, you can seek help from a community manager professional. It is just important to keep in mind that community management marketing efforts are an essential part of your strategy, as in today’s digital world everyone is looking for authentic connections.