Community. It’s just one word, but if you’re a business online it’s the word you should be focusing on. Modern social media algorithms are no longer laser-focused on numbers, in fact, Instagram is experimenting with doing away with them altogether. Forget follower count, because the end goal is now quality. If you deliver useful content, then the followers will come. And, they won’t just be empty numbers, they’ll be active, engaged members of your community. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Your community will become evangelists for your brand, pushing your reach further and adding trust. It’s your content that attracts them, but how do you keep them? We’re going to explain what online community management involves and why it’s worth your time.
Let’s get right to the point, we’re not just building a social forum. Your online community is a valuable tool for your business. It’s not just a place to interact with your current customers. With careful management, your community can increase word-of-mouth marketing, build your brand, and drive leads. It’s the power of people.
It’s vital that you take the time to build, grow, and nourish your community. They’re not just numbers on your Facebook page or Twitter timeline, they’re your people.
That said, there are some key numbers that you can analyse to better serve your people.
TRAFFIC. You may have the most innovative ideas, useful blog posts, or the best 1990s puns. But, if your social media accounts are a ghost town, who can appreciate them? Show your community that nothing compares 2 U by monitoring where your traffic is coming from so you can carefully tailor future content.
ENGAGEMENT. It’s Quality vs Quantity again. If you have high follower numbers, but low engagement then you’re doing online community management wrong. Look at what discussions your customers are actively joining and use that to guide future content.
MEMBERS. Look at how many members you gain and lose a month. Some turnover is expected, but if you lost a significant chunk after a certain post it might be time to reassess what you’re sharing. We all love cat gifs, but unless they’re a vital part of your business, you might want to mix them with some business-related content.
Goals and Guidelines
Before you throw open the digital doors, you should have a goal in mind. What do you want to be the focus of your community? We all get the warm fuzzies working together. Not only do we like the endorphin rush of smashing goals, but we also love being part of a community. Foster the spirit of togetherness and you’ll have a happy and engaged following.
Another part of pleasing your community? Guidelines. It’s a delicate balance to keep order, but your loyal followers will thank you for it.
The beauty of the internet is that it’s open to everyone. The downside of the internet is… that it’s open to everyone. Not everyone will agree. A huge part of what online community management involves is keeping order on your internet patch. Have guidelines for community posts and moderate with care.
It may seem like the easy option to remove negative comments altogether. However, this can spark a backlash. It’s better to transparent and respond, rather than remove.
Community Within a Community
Whoosh. That’s the sound of a digital tumbleweed.
If you have a community, but no flow of discussion don’t blame your members. Online community management involves more than just growth. It’s your job to spark conversation.
Encourage and engage discussions with regular events or topics and you’ll see those tumbleweeds roll away. People love being a part of something, but it’s often difficult to be the first to speak up. Take that burden away from them and you’ll see how quickly they join in.
Polls or regular activities are a great way to get the chat flowing. Not only that, they show your community (and search engines) that your page is active.
Reward Your Community
Show your community that they aren’t just numbers to you. Offering perks is a great way to keep your followers loyal. Whether it’s early access to blog posts, special events only for members, or coupons. It’s the little things that count and they have a big impact.
We all remember when a business went the extra mile for us. It’s a small price to pay and will boost your loyalty, brand image and community spirit.