Community Management Dos and Don’ts
According to a recent survey, consumers are spending up to 30% more online than in stores due to the pandemic. With more traditional forms of marketing becoming unavailable, such as bill boards and print, this has also led to an increase in digital marketing and social media use by brands to maintain a connection with their customers and keep them top of mind, even if they are unable to operate. With this in mind, it is clear that effective community management and clear, genuine communication with your online communities is more important than ever.
To help you successfully navigate and manage your online communities, we have provided the following guidelines:
- Ensure that you have a written document that details your brand personality and tone in addition to providing guidelines of how you would like community managers or team members to engage with your online audience
- Create community guidelines or “house rules” and publish them in a prominent place on your social media platforms to guide your community on how you expect them to interact with the brand, encourage debate and inform them on the process that would be followed in the event of a breach of these rules (usually deleting a comment or in more extreme circumstances, banning them from the page).
- Be sure to have a response protocol in place that stipulates how the brand would like questions answered, how to handle complaints and a clear escalation process in the event of a PR disaster.
- Speak to the community and answer questions in as genuine a way as possible whilst staying true to the brand. Remember that the community wants to engage with other humans and not feel as though they are talking with a machine or automated messaging system
- Check your social media platforms often and respond to messages as soon as possible. The speed of your reply indicates a level of interest in the community and shows commitment to your audience.
- Acknowledge positive messages or recommendations from customers with more than just a “like”. A personalised message shows true appreciation and recognition of the customers support.
- Deal with complaints as soon as possible and, while you may resolve it privately, be sure to respond publicly with a polite message that acknowledges the complaint and displays an attempt to rectify the problem.
- If it is on-brand, responding with a clever or witty reply (without being insulting or sarcastic) may serve to create a buzz which will drive further awareness for your brand
- Hide or delete complaints unless they contain offensive language or personal insults. Rather engage with them politely and try to resolve the problem. Audiences will think more of a brand that admits to mistakes and tries to rectify them than one who attempts to hide any evidence of wrongdoing, as this makes brands look dishonest and disingenuous.
- Answer complaints with insults, sarcasm or other forms of personal attack. It will make the brand look petty and incompetent.
- Try to resolve a complaint in public. Ensure that you have publicly apologized and make it known that you are attempting to rectify the situation and then take the rest of the complaint process into a private space. This will minimize the risk of a PR crisis as details can be straightened out away from the public eye and avoid finger-pointing and unnecessary escalation.
- Answer a question or allow a team member to answer any questions without being completely sure of the answer, particularly when it may be surrounding a subject that the brand should be familiar with but is not necessarily brand specific. For example, if a person asks an internet service provider how the technology behind LTE and fibre work on their social page, and the team member who is responsible for the community management of the page is unsure, they should find out the correct answer before responding. Leaving a question unanswered for a short time whilst checking the facts will have much less impact than an incorrect answer which calls the brands authenticity and knowledge into question.
- Publicly give away free products/services or provide discounts in response to a complaint. This will encourage scammers and chance-takers to complain in order to be rewarded with free or discounted items. This will cause greater numbers of complaints which will reflect badly on the brand and will also waste company time with investigations into false complaints or allegations.
If you are unsure on how to manage your online communities, partner with the digital marketing experts, Black Snow Group, and let us train you on how to community manage or even do it for to create a positive and engaging online community who loves your brand.
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