Social media is more than a place for people to connect with friends and family — it’s a gathering place for online communities, many of whom are seeking authenticity from the brands they love and follow. The best way to guarantee a genuine connection between your brand and your followers is through community management.
According to HubSpot, community management is the process of building and fostering an authentic community made up of a brand’s customers, team members and partners. It involves actively engaging with your audience by responding to comments, messages and mentions, as well as participating in conversations with fans. It can also help you manage your brand's reputation by addressing negative comments in real-time and correcting misinformation. Ultimately, though, it helps to humanize your brand.
While community management should always be a key part of any brand’s social media strategy, it’s more important than ever following the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Khoros, a customer engagement platform, 87% of consumers have increased their digital usage since the pandemic, and 75% of consumers found value in interacting with others in a brand’s online community.
Establishing these valuable interactions starts with a solid social media strategy, one that’s rooted in social-first content. Why? Social-first content is more likely to inspire community engagement and more meaningful one-to-one conversations. To incorporate a social-first approach into your brand’s social content strategy, it’s important to consider the following:
As your brand’s community grows through your social-first content approach, begin setting guidelines to effectively manage its social presence. Below are some best practices to consider for your brand’s community management strategy.
Protect your brand’s community.
To build a truly inclusive online community, you must welcome everyone and celebrate the uniqueness of each fan or follower. Adopt a no-tolerance policy for any offensive, violent, or discriminatory comments and ban any community member who violates this policy.
Maintain a solicitation-free environment.
With any large, engaged community, you run the risk of people using your brand’s page to sell or promote business offers to take advantage of the active audience. Keep an eye out for anyone sharing unsolicited promotions and remove them to ensure the audience experience isn't disrupted.
Celebrate your brand’s community.
Passions for brands run deep, and your followers cherish the mouthpiece social media gives them. Make sure your brand stands ready to extend gratitude, shout-outs, and surprise and delight moments. Always encourage your brand’s followers to share their thoughts and experiences.
Acknowledge constructive feedback.
Never remove a negative comment without addressing it first — otherwise, your brand could come across as inauthentic or untrustworthy. However, continue to remove any inappropriate or offensive content that threatens the safe space of your community.
Respect your competitors.
While community members love to see playful interactions between brands, never outright target or attack a competitor brand. If you run a particularly high-profile brand, it’s best to not call out specific brands or allude to them in any way unless your brand and your competitor are under a specific partnership agreement. Even if provoked by a competitor, in the spirit of optimism, always take the high road.
Proactively diffuse crisis situations.
In rare cases, a crisis situation may arise that directly impacts a brand’s social presence. To get ahead of these situations, put a social crisis management team in place for your brand in order to flag, escalate and monitor crises.
If you’re interested in building a community management plan together, Mythic can help you strategize the best ways to manage your brand’s social presence and foster your brand’s community. If you like what you saw and want to know how you can partner with a team that's brimming with creative ideas, reach out to our CMO, Taylor Bryant (firstname.lastname@example.org), and get a conversation with Mythic started today.