8 tips for successful community management

How to shine on social media as a community manager

Author
© punkt & komma
Nadine Oberascher
Content editor

Are you wondering what your fans and customers do in their free time? Well, the average Austrian spends about 82 minutes a day on social media. That’s 82 minutes in which you have the chance to get people’s attention, interact with them, inform them, entertain them, and inspire them.

How? Why? And with what? The magic word is: community management!

What community management is all about

You are supposed to manage your online community – alright? Well, let’s start from the beginning: Your community is basically all users who are interested in your company, your brand, your products, services or your content. These can be existing and prospective customers, website visitors, fans and followers.

So you have a community – and that’s great, of course. Even better: It holds enormous potential. And you can unlock it with the help of successful community management!

It’s all about ... sustainable customer relations

Most people in your community like what you do. The rest have yet to be convinced of your work. The goal of community management is to build and maintain a relationship with your fans. What’s the best way to do this? Focusing on targeted ongoing and interactive communication as well as content that provides added value to the community.

Here’s what happens when you do everything right: You gain new customers, retain existing ones, and followers become multipliers who attract more and more loyal fans. Community management is the key to sustainable customer relations in the age of social media – and thus a decisive success factor for companies.

To-dos of a community manager include:
  • initiating, maintaining and managing direct, appreciative dialogue
  • responding to questions, comments and reviews
  • moderating and participating in discussions on issues relevant to the company
  • identifying needs in the community
  • constructively resolving conflicts 
  • generating new fans and followers
  • constantly analysing the activities of the community
Community management – what you get out of it:
  • ongoing feedback as a foundation for optimisation of all kinds
  • long-term relationships between your company and loyal customers
  • improved brand awareness and image through multipliers
  • increased sales and turnover

How to – community management: 8 tips

We’ve covered the basics. So, now it’s time to dig a little deeper. You’ll find out what you as a community manager can do to delight your online community.

Tip #1

Be present!

Community managers have to be good listeners. This is the only way to find out what the community really wants – and what it doesn’t want. Especially in the case of negative comments, it is important to listen carefully and provide individual answers.

The following questions can be helpful:

  • What exactly is the problem?
  • Why is the user disappointed or angry?
  • How can I best help him or her?

Stay away from ... prewritten, run-of-the-mill answers! It is much better to be specific, respond to the problem at hand, and find a suitable solution.

Tip #2

Show interest beyond business!

We are all human beings and want to be treated as such. That’s why users tend to love when you, as a community manager, show interest in them beyond your work. This sends an important message: It’s about more than just business. 

An example: 

Someone comments: "I’m looking for a reflective dog raincoat for my dachshund, do you have anything like that?"

You answer: "Sure, in our online shop you can find raincoats made of reflective material in different colours. Just have a look [insert link]! What’s your little friend’s name?"

The result: Personal interest creates closeness and makes your followers feel seen.

Tip #3

Encourage community engagement and respond quickly!

Social media users follow brands and companies when they find added value in their content. This occurs, among other things, when users are given opportunities to interact. And you can create these opportunities, for example, through questions or polls.

You can encourage interaction with the following questions:

  • How are you today?
  • What do you think of the new product XY?
  • What is your opinion on topic XY?
  • What else would you like to know about company XY?
  • What do you think is better – X or Y

When the comments start pouring in, it’s important to react to them as quickly as possible. Whether it’s a reply or a like: The main thing is that the person behind the comment feels heard and does not have to wait too long for an answer or reaction.

Important: Always put yourself in the shoes of your followers (personas) and ask yourself: Would I comment on this post as a private person? Why (not)?

Tip #4

Be empathetic, listen carefully and act on feedback!

We’ve already mentioned it earlier: Listening is one of the most important tasks of community managers. Fans and followers want to feel understood. This can be achieved by not simply reacting to comments but by initiating a dialogue with the community.

In the case of direct feedback, empathetic reactions on the part of the company are particularly important. Above all, constructive criticism can contribute to optimisation. It should never simply be deleted.

Our tip: Always comment actively instead of just reacting ...

  • You are the best!
  • It’s great that you share your exciting stories with us!
  • Thank you for helping us to continuously improve our products with your feedback!
Tip #5

Opt for an authentic tone!

Are you on first-name terms with your fans or not? Basically, the approach and tone should match your company as well as the target group. It’s important that it comes across as authentic and consistent.

Tip #6

Be a role model and take the first step!

Address topics that are close to the community’s heart – your followers will thank you for it. Even if mishaps and mistakes happen, it shows strength to address them openly. Waiting for negative comments to pour in is definitely the wrong approach.

Tip #7

Deal with negative comments professionally and skilfully!

Negative comments are unfortunately part of everyday life on social media. But don’t panic, just follow these steps and focus on solving the problem.

  1. Ask what exactly the problem is!
  2. Ask yourself: What triggered the negative emotion? Was it the post, or does the reason lie somewhere else? Important to know: The user’s emotion is already building before he or she comments. 
  3. Community managers also have feelings. Our advice: If you need to, get angry and vent before you sit down to answer and start typing.

Tip: How about this: Try to steer negative comments in a positive direction. For example: "Thank you for sharing your opinion so openly with us. We’ve taken your feedback to heart and adjusted XY."

Tip #8

You don’t have to respond to every comment.

Some comments ...

  • ... were written purely out of a heightened state of emotion.
  • ... do not contain constructive criticism.
  • ... do not describe wishes or problems.

If there is nothing you can specifically respond to, it is sometimes better to leave comments uncommented.

© punkt & komma

Don’ts in community management

For the sake of completeness, we’ll tell you the absolute no-no’s in dealing with online communities:

  • not do any community management altogether
  • do community management "on the side"
  • take a long time to reply
  • post boring, ready-made answers
  • delete negative criticism by default

That all makes perfect sense – but you have neither the expertise nor the resources to implement our tips on professional community management? Then go ahead and enlist the support of our social media experts at punkt & kommacontact them now!

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