Successful business thanks to Community Management

By Ivanna Nösel
Updated: 4 May 2022, first publication: January 2021
definition backgroundSuccessful business thanks to Community Management

​​Community Management: What is it and why is it so important? What skills do you need to become a community manager?

With the development of the Internet, community management has become an indispensable task for promoting the image and awareness of a brand or company online.

But what does a community manager actually do? What are the main differences between the social media manager?

In this article, we'll define the concept, explain the secrets behind the profession of community manager, how to build a good community management strategy, and present some best practices to follow to activate your network.

What is community management?

Definition

Community management includes all measures for the development, integration, and support of the online community of a brand or a company.

The main challenges at stake are to:

  • create a dialogue with customers and prospects,
  • manage the brand image online and offline,
  • promote the brand and organize events,
  • operate, manage and optimize the social media,
  • strengthen the sense of unity of the online community.

Types of Community Management

Content creation and management

Community management often involves writing content like blog posts, posts, news, etc. then publishing them on good social media in order to reach the good personas. To do this, it is essential to have an editorial calendar.

Social media management

Community management obviously includes also social media management, i. e. the creation and management of a brand's various accounts on the most relevant social media for the company, but also for the target.

💡 Don’t you know that Bodyguard is a solution that will facilitate your social media management process by helping community managers in detecting and filtering in real-time hateful content on social media. Managed by artificial intelligence, Bodyguard will analyze the word in the context of the sentence and adapt its technology to ensure great user interactions, but never interfere with your communities' freedom of expression. A good tool to protect your brand reputation on social media!

Presence at offline marketing events

Being present at offline events is a part of community management. The head of community management will communicate the event with the community so that they can be aware of events that the company organizes or in which it participates.

Public relations

Community management involves managing requests received online regarding the brand, in addition to having to build good relationships with journalists and influencers in your industry.

Customer relationship/customer service

Interact with customers by responding to their questions, comments, reviews, complaints, etc. on social media is essential when doing community management. In the same way, a customer who is satisfied with your brand thanks to your customer service, can be a promoter: he will speak positively about it around him, to his friends, his family, on the internet, or on social networks.

Creation and implementation of marketing communication strategies

It is important to think about the procedure behind community management. Indeed, it's not just about posting fun content on social media and responding to comments. There must be a plan based on very specific objectives behind community management.

It will allow the brand to more easily achieve its marketing objectives and therefore its business objectives. Thus, it is necessary to implement everything while ensuring that all the stakeholders linked to this strategy are involved.

Monitoring and performance measurements

Monitoring the competition on social media is essential when doing community management. This will allow you to know your competition well and know how to stand out while learning from their successes.

It will also allow you to know yourself since you will find everything that is said about your brand and you will know the perception that your current and potential consumers have of you.

Therefore, measuring your performance will allow you to know whether your marketing actions have worked or not, and to adjust the shot afterward to constantly improve and grow your community and its engagement.

What does a community manager do?

A community management executive is responsible for orchestrating virtual communities. It is a central role that allows the company to monitor social media channels, define a communication plan, and defend the company's interests on social networks.

This profession emerged simultaneously with the development of online communities and is now a pillar of corporate communications.

👆 The head of community management can work exclusively for a company or become self-employed and look after several brands at a time.

By hiring this employee, companies can increase their web reputation, the loyalty of existing customers, and attract new ones.

Here are the main activities:

  • performing social listening and identifying trends in the sector,
  • defining a content planning aimed at promoting a specific image of the company,
  • monitoring the online activities of the main competitors to assess their influence and possibly draw inspiration from them,
  • animating the community and building relationships with the target audience,
  • managing the company's social profiles,
  • measuring the effectiveness of campaigns through KPIs,
  • staying up to date on social media marketing best practices.

👆 Blogging is undoubtedly one of the most successful methods and activities in recent years to gain visibility online. To reap all the benefits, the community management executives often turn to marketing agencies to optimize the content from the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) point of view and make it appear among the first results of search engines.

💡 Salary: According to the well-known portal Glassdoor, the gross annual income of the head of community management in the UK is £22k - 60k.

How to hire a community manager?

Recruiting a community manager is not easy. We often fear that his or her post does not reflect the voice of your brand and does not appeal to your audience. Here are the different qualities to consider when choosing an excellent head of community management.

Skill level in community management and social media marketing

During the interview, find out how he became the head of community management. You can ask them about:

  • What blogs are you following at the moment?
  • Share about the last article that you have written?
  • Do you have a personal blog?
  • Have you participated in any social networking conferences recently?
  • What are the trends on social media that you find interesting?

Obviously, if the applicant has not been to a conference or has no active blogs, this is not a deal-breaker. However, it would be a big plus. The most important thing is to determine if beyond his job, he is really interested in what is going on in the world of social networks and if he is capable of continuous training.

Determine their organizational skills

A good head of community management must be well organized. Ask him how the information will flow between the team members and him. How will he prepare your publications in time? Here, we would like to hear him talk about social media calendars for example.

There are also fabulous websites that facilitate communication between teams: whether it's about the flow of ideas, content, or tasks to be done such as Trello and Asana. Every head of community management has his favorite tools, if he doesn't mention any it indicates that he is not able to update himself and his productivity might not be satisfactory.

Determine their analytical capabilities

The head of community management must always question himself, and make weekly assessments on what works and what doesn't. For example, he must be able to determine at what time of the day the target audience will be more likely to see the publications.

A good head of community management will send monthly reports by choosing wisely the KPIs (key performance indicators) so that you can clearly see the results achieved since the beginning of his service.

Evaluate their graphic design skills

A supervisor of community management is not a graphic designer, it is not his job. But a good head of community management has to know the importance of images and will have some good basic design skills and aesthetic sensibility (able to choose the "good images" that fit with the "good texts", etc...). There are lots of online graphic design software that make it easy to create professional visuals such as Canva.

Don’t forget to test his copywriting skills

Your head of community management will be the voice of your brand on the internet or on social networks. He is the one who will be in direct contact with your customers/audience. The essential quality expected is that he is an excellent communicator or he will know how to "captivate" your audience by writing compelling promotional content that will increase sales, for example.

Community manager vs. social media manager?

The social media manager is responsible for managing corporate communications. He creates a communication plan in which he presents his strategies:

  • selection of social networks,
  • content management roadmap,
  • advertising campaigns,
  • budgeting,
  • identification of key performance indicators (KPIs) for monitoring.

The task of the head of community management, on the other hand, is the daily management of the community to increase brand awareness and improve web reputation.

Thus, it can be said that an executive of social media management is responsible for the communication plan on social media platforms and provides an overarching framework, while the head of community management is responsible for building, managing, operating, and maintaining the company's interactions with its community through its social networks.

In structured companies, these two figures work in close contact. This is not always the case with small companies. As a rule, the two roles there are performed by a single person, often an external expert.

How to build a community management strategy?

Here are five steps to start building an effective community management strategy.

What are your goals as a community manager?

Clear expectations about your goals will help you succeed. Here are some common goals for effective community management:

  • Reduce the number of calls to customer service through responsive conversation automation (chatbot) and support on social networks or a dedicated forum.
  • Generate sales: Drive traffic to the site via blogs, mini-book to download, net linking, or social media discussions.
  • Create interactions: Mainly on the brand's Facebook page so that your publication is visible to the maximum also on Twitter or Instagram and by launching discussion topics on forums.

Choose the right social media platform

Creating effective community management is only possible if you know how and where to interact with your audience. This is why it is necessary to choose the social media platforms that meet the needs of your brand.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the common channels for brand marketing. It exists also other channels that you can use. Try not to focus on the size of the network, but rather focus on the networks where your target audience is located.

Create significant and interesting contents

Listening to social media is key to creating good content because it allows you to get a pulse on your target market and the public's perception of your brand. Once you know what everyone is talking about, you can incorporate it into your content plan.

  • Create an editorial content calendar: This tool will help you to organize your content (what and when to post) and you can follow up on your productivity rhythm.
  • Identify the keywords and hashtags for your post: Create relevant content for your online community and the search engines. Use Google Keyword Planner or Google Adwords to identify the keywords for blog posts and be sure to optimize your blog content for SEO.

Don’t forget the e-mailing!

Although social media has an essential role in community management, e-mailing or newsletters are also a great way to share content with your community. To do that well, you have to:

  • Build your database of your client’s information in order to send the newsletter. Use your existing social media channels to acquire email addresses.
  • Select the right time: Good timing is important! Set a realistic timeline.
  • Have a good mail provider: Using a mail provider helps you not go directly to spam. There are lots of mail providers now on the market, the best is that you can use them for free!

Meet your community in real life

Interacting with the community online is not enough. Some advice to animate your audience:

  • You need to search for the upcoming events of your brand (conferences, meetings, etc.) in order to have a good opportunity to connect to your community and promote your brand, products, or services.
  • Communicate the events on social media
  • Livestream for those who can not come

Last Tips for an effective community management

Now that we have seen what the main goals of community management are and why the profession has gained importance, let's see how this process is implemented in practice.

💡 For successful community management, you need skills and experience. With excellent strategies, you can grow your community exponentially and stay one step ahead of your competitors.

To perform community management in the best way, here are some best practices that can be of great help:

  1. Identify the target audience as well as you can. It's important to make sure it consists of the right people who are really interested in the topics. It's the number of "active" people that counts, not the number of followers.
  2. Observe user behavior. Listening is fundamental to identifying the needs and requirements of the web community. The goal is to understand your audience's needs as quickly as possible so you can provide good answers.
  3. Allow a certain amount of freedom of expression. It's important to allow the community the freedom to criticize. Indeed, negative feedback, if constructive, can add important value to the company. Avoid deleting comments and banning users as much as possible.
  4. Outline the rules of the game. As important as it is to maintain some freedom of expression, it is equally important to set boundaries from the start that cannot be crossed. An appropriate moderation policy is important to ensure that exchanges are always respectful.
  5. Engage the community and find ways to encourage them. The community needs to be constantly encouraged to be active. Therefore, it is important to try to draw attention to a specific topic in order to start a discussion.

Various community management tools can help you manage your community effectively, making life much easier.

Key takeaway

Nowadays, good community management has become essential to survive in an increasingly competitive and connected world.

Whether we like it or not, the importance of the online community is growing and will continue to grow in the years to come. To respond to this challenge, small and medium-sized businesses are challenged to adapt to this context. It is not a matter of passively experiencing the changes, but of managing the change in order to take full advantage of the great potential it offers.

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