Community Management has quickly become an integral part of fostering successful, long-term relationships with your customers and a wonderful marketing strategy. According to Forbes, a study done by Bain & Company, shows that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% through community management increases profit by 25% to 95%. In order for business growth to occur, you first need to establish a community through which your customers feel both heard and appreciated. Businesses are always looking for new customers, but should also be seeking to retain their current customers as well. The best way to achieve both of these goals is to develop engaged communities.
Building and Maintaining a Community
1. Discover Your Origins.
Why was this community formed? It is important to first discover what is bringing your customers together. It is crucial for the success of your business to understand what your members are looking to gain from your community. The best way to do this is through interaction. The foundation of a community manager’s job is social listening. It is important to ask your customers questions such as how they first heard of the community, what made them join, how they’re liking current dynamics, and what things would they like to learn or benefit from by being a member.
It is important to listen to the community members who have a lot to say. The most prominent opinions can point you in the direction of those who can be influencers and advocate for your brand. Other important voices are the ones that have been in the community the longest. These are the community members from whom you’ll gather the most insight in regard to how your business used to be, versus how it is now. This is important in order to retain your customers.
2. Find Your Tone and Voice.
The next important step is placing yourself within your community. It is the role of a community manager to direct the tone and voice of your community. The tone should certainly reflect your company’s goals and values, but does not necessarily need to hold the tone of a corporate website. It is ok to let loose and have fun. You want your community to feel like they have a personal relationship with you and that they’re talking to a real person who understands their needs and concerns, not a robot. Relating to your community on a personal level will ensure long term success.
3. Find The Right Platforms.
There are many different social media platforms to choose from, all of which have different capabilities, so it is all about figuring out which platforms are the best for the goals of your company. Once you understand the needs of your community, it will be easier to choose the platforms which you should integrate. Facebook is great for one on one, personal conversations. Instagram is practical for graphic heavy posts to display visual content to your customers. Twitter is ideal for sharing information quickly and encouraging back and forth conversation. At the end of the day, whichever platforms you choose for your business, it is very important to track your metrics which will show which platforms are working best and which content resonates most with your community!
4. Encourage Relationships Between Members.
This is all about getting the conversations flowing between your community members. To be effective at this, you need to model the behavior you want others in your community to display. The main goal is to have your community members feel like they’re being acknowledged. This means always making sure you are available not only when they have positive things to say, but also responding to the negative. It is important when you see your community members helping each other out to acknowledge this as well. Even something as simple as “We love seeing our community sticking together” goes a long way. This reinforces the sense of community and will further assist in establishing connections.
5. Watch Your Competition.
By always keeping a close eye on your competition, you’ll be better able to provide more resources to your community. To ensure you’re offering services that are unique, be sure to look at what you offer compared to what your competitors are offering. Watching your competitor’s communities can also be very beneficial in regard to finding new ideas for your own business. By paying attention to the things a competitor’s community says is not working for them, you will be able to stay a step ahead and implement a stronger community on your end.
A community will flourish when community managers are engaged. Following these steps will help build a strong foundation for your business to succeed. By not only listening to, but responding to and appreciating what your community has to say, you will foster long term relationships and loyalty with your customers.
Learn more about Efferent Media’s Community Management and how we can help build a community and foster long-term relationships with you and your customers.