Dos and Don’ts of fruitful community management on social media

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Social media isn’t what it used to be a decade ago. Platforms like Meta, Twitter, TikTok, and many more have become breeding grounds for businesses. So much so that in 2021, some of the biggest brands rely heavily on social media to generate sales.

Trillion-dollar industries like healthcare, computer software, IT, HR, and more have generated more than 50% of their revenue through social media alone.

With a 45% market penetration which accounts for nearly 3.6 billion active users, social platforms offer an efficient channel for businesses to connect with prospects while spending close to nothing on advertising.

Yet, social marketing and sales are not easy. But you already know that.

Apart from constantly devoting time to understand trends, seasonality, buyer persona, and journey; community management is essential to keep your followers engaged at each stage.

In this article, we will try to break down some common and some salient SOPs of successful community management.

DO: Hire a professional. Solely to manage your community

Core-competence is the name of the game. While you might be concentrating on generating revenue, refining your product/service, handling financials, and all other spectrums of the business, your brand requires someone for your community.

A community manager’s responsibilities range from attracting new customers to handling your PR during a crisis.

Having dedicated talents that inform the world about product developments and also oversee relationships with influencers in your niche, have proven themselves time and time again.

Don’t take it from me. Here is what Chris P. (Marketing Director of Realbookies) has to say.

Protip: “You do not have to start big. No one would know your brand positioning better than you. Hence, I suggest starting small, by yourself. Establish the peripherals surrounding your brands such as tone of content (more on this later) and then when the standards are set, hire and train someone to take over.”

DON’T: Conceal your true intents

Good things take time. In due course, many brands tend to stray away from their primary objective when it comes to social media, to gain more followers or spread brand awareness.

Case: SJ Magazine got caught up in a haters frenzy when they tried to launch their new series on women empowerment titled “Women in Business: A Man’s Point of View”. This came during a sensitive time and was bombarded with emails that weren’t exactly friendly.

SJ Magazine is essentially an entertainment and information content provider and the true intentions with this series were unknown. Maybe, if it had been labeled under “comedy” and/or “dark humor” the scenario could have been different.

Concealing your true intentions could have a compounding effect on the community around your brand. People sniff out bullshit from a mile away. Hence social proofing should always be a quality standard for anyone handling social media for a brand.

I am sure even you can deduce which influencer or brand that you follow, use the products or service they are promoting.

DO: Categorize your community

Mapping out your community and categorizing them into similar personas helps a marketer cater to the needs of each one of your followers.

Not everyone is in the same age group, the same stage of the buyer’s journey or has similar work cultures.

Here are a few ways in which you can classify your crowd.

  • Behavioral

Behavioral market segmentation is based on how customers interact with products or the amount they know about the product.

For instance, an Instagram marketer might look at the Instagram follower demographics of their page because behavioral segmentation can include which brands consumers prefer and how sensitive they are to specific prices so that they can make an educated guess about which group will most likely respond favorably to their marketing efforts.

Case: Automobile manufacturing giants like the Volkswagen Group have different strategies to keep their community happy when it comes to the Passat (economical variant) Vs Bentleys.

  • Demographic

Marketers typically segment their customers by gender, age, family size, religious beliefs, nationality (due to geopolitical circumstances), income, and educational degree. This is often a useful way for companies to determine what may interest potential customers and then better target them in line with specific needs.

Case: Grammarly caters to students with a very different approach when compared to other businesses.

  • Psychographic

By using psychographic segmentation, businesses look at the lifestyles of their customers, their personalities and interests, their opinions and habits, social class, and behaviors to better determine their requirements.

Knowing all of the above helps a business or influencers to craft content that truly resonates with a segment.

Protip: Why write one copy and have a much lower CTR when you can write multiple copies aimed at different segments and have a much higher CTR in individual classes and consequently overall?

DON’T: Violate the brand’s tone, voice, and other standards

Based on current trends, the management of your community is often fluid and informal. This means there is a greater possibility of slipping up and making mistakes while trying to be overzealous or witty (a trait that the online community recognizes).

Case: Circa 2016, when Apple was marketing their brand new MacBook Pro, there was a huge uproar that their new-gen tech did not have an SD card slot. Razer, a competing brand well known for its e-gaming equipment responded with a humorous tweet that didn’t help the company’s marketing in any way. “You call yourself Pro? S My D.” The message quickly received negative comments and Razer took it down after one day. (I for one love dark jokes and found it hilarious :P)

Except for crudeness and profanity, it’s fine to follow the tone of your community to better identify yourself. But make sure you decide early on about the voice and tone then stick with it.

Selecting your corporate tone, style, and grammatical guidelines right from the beginning will help ensure that your communications remain consistent and beyond backlash. Ultimately, maintain professionalism in line with your desired voice.

DO: Set goals and relevant KPIs

Setting goals relevant to active KPIs such as clicks, likes, shares, comments, mentions, profile visits, and active followers is good but not enough in 2022.

While it does give you a decent picture of where your brand’s community is headed there are many other metrics that you should consider and know what you can do with them. Some of the questions you should be asking are:

  • How many unsubscribed accounts are we reaching out to?
  • What type of content (promotional, humorous, informational) is getting the most attention?
  • What styles of engagement are prompting more CTRs?

Set goals based on custom formulated KPIs that give you a deeper insight into the behavior of the community around you, then use rank checking software to adjust your strategy according to the data you will be receiving and tracking.

Cloudfire has written an in-depth article on how to use audience insights with examples. Do not expect direct formulas that are specific to your niche. But what you can expect is how to go about formulating KPIs.

DON’T: Passover the chance to engage with participating communities

The priority of some popular social media platforms is communication and they al acknowledge that communication is a two-way street. Why do you think platforms have comment sections and engagement buttons (emojis in some cases)? For the people to give feedback. Duh!

Some platforms like Reddit, Twitch, and Quora give special importance to the two cents of community members by highlighting them and visually making it easy for any viewers to keep track of replies.

64% of active users want brands to put extra time and effort into helping them feel more connected with them.

Case: I asked Similarweb (a tech-unicorn) “Does Similarweb’s social media team devote any time to other communities (apart from Similarweb’s communities) on other social media platforms?” To which they replied.

“Twitter is very community-focused and we engage with the business and marketing topics regularly. We also have recently started contributing on #SEO threads on Reddit, Hacker News, and Quora. Forward-looking, a Facebook group is also an option for us.”

An already brilliant social team still has ambitions. Always room for more engagement. Facebook in this case.

DO: Spend time inside other communities

To gain a competitive edge and stay informed, you should spend time engaging with businesses and consumers outside your circle as well. Needless to say, the world does not revolve around you.

Being a participating member of other communities closely or even loosely related to your niche helps you be in vogue which in turn helps you spread the message to your community members.

Also, you get to reach out to people that are not a part of your community yet.

Case: Nick Jordan (CEO of Content distribution) handles a closely-knit from of over 3k where they are actively hosting AMAs, publishing cases, and sharing industry-wise news. Quite hectic to be honest. But he does not shy away from engaging in other groups. His level of enthusiasm makes people like me write about him. 😛

DON’T: Ignore or delete unpopular/negative opinions

The premise of social media is the “social” aspect. Community engagement on social media is fueled by emotion, with people coming together to express their thought and opinions.

It’s all about the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the crowd of our expressive community, people desire to share their honest opinions about what you have to offer.

You have to acknowledge that negative experiences form part of the customer’s journey but do not reflect your brand’s overall mission and values.

Deleting unpopular or negative comments suggests that your brand is taking a step backward when engaging with your community. I know that it can affect your reputation when users see what ‘negative Nellys’’ have to say but it’s an opportunity for you to flaunt your empathy.

Step away from the corporate and stilted communication styles and mitigate negative comments with politeness, compassion, and understanding to help build credibility and trust for your brand.

Expert Opinion: Adelle Kehoe (Director of content @Similarweb) says ….. “Similarweb’s social media policy is zero-tolerance towards all hateful or prejudicial language. When it comes to unfavorable opinions, we take a friendly, measured approach (typical of a data company) and provide a solution wherever possible. This almost always includes an invitation for the user to voice their opinion to us in a private DM.“

Here is a table of more Dos and Don’ts of Community Management on Social Media

Dos Don’ts
Have a list of answers for FAQs. Maybe even try automating them.  Have a long and automated sequence of messages.
Start the occasional conversation. ‘Ask me anything’ and webinars are popular. Make claims without checking the source
Use hashtags to see what the people are talking about your industry.  Be slow to respond
Utilize humor that resonates with most.  Gambol yourself into topics because it is trending. 

Winding up

It is difficult to become a millionaire. It is way more difficult to remain one.

Following the same underlying philosophy as the above, I would like to say that it might take a lot of work to hit your quotas when it comes to subscribers and likes but the journey is just starting.

It takes double the creativity and works to keep your community engaged and content. A skill that goes a long way is ‘listening’. Listen to your members. They are always speaking. Just not always with words 😉

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