Every week, we blog about how to optimize your brand’s social media presence, which tools to use and what the newest updates on the major social networks mean to your brand’s way of engaging with your target group. But what about the people responsible for incorporating EdgeRank’s newest changes on content, tweeting the best answers to your users or creating the sought after engagement within the right target group? The Community Managers (CM). What kind of creatures are they and how can your brand benefit from having a CM on-board? I’ll try to give you an introduction to the benefits of having a CM – and what you should look for in a Community Manager.
The corner stones of community management
Yesterday, we talked about the importance of Local Community Managers, when a global brand wants to establish a social media presence on local country markets. Naturally, this is one of the main qualities of a CM: To both know the brand inside out by “living the brand” but also to know the context of the culture, language and unique quirks of the target market. However, whether you are looking to find a CM for your US, DK or UK market, the main qualities and responsibilities of this person will not divert significantly. Following are 5 of the most important qualities as well as tasks your CM will help your brand solve on social media:
1: Organise and publish
Getting a community involved and engaged needs a lot of planning. Having formulated a social media strategy and defined your target group, a Community Manager will help executing your brand’s social visions: Tone of voice needs to be specified, conversational touch points must be found, engagement keywords are to be defined and a Conversational Calendar should be filled out. The CM will organise, schedule and publish the content created based on these rules of engagement that are often formulated in collaboration between communications and marketing departments.
2: Be one with your brand
Once published, the primary role of your Community Manager is to monitor, respond and structure the interactions on the social network, by providing relevant and trustworthy responses on the behalf of your brand. To do so, an understanding of your business and business area is crucial. A CM needs to know your values, products and your social media strategy intimately. You therefore want a person who can be one with your brand: Someone who is “living the brand”.
However, in order to give your fans and followers great experiences on your social networks, your CM also needs to be able to see things from your consumers’ perspectives. This is where having an external CM connected to your brand proves very beneficial. It gives you a person who is both loyal and committed to your brand, but who is still able to see the potential faults and errors of your company or products. The slightly less emotional brand attachment of an external CM, will help avoid a defensive tone of voice when handling the unavoidable critique on the social networks.
3: Understand your target group
This leads us to the need of a thorough target group understanding. The ideal Community Manager for your brand is someone who can relate to your target group and thereby understand their interests and expectations to your brand’s social presence. Thereby not saying that your CM must be part of the target group, but you need someone who is able to understand the target group – and no matter what, this understanding is easier retrieved if you are in or very close to the target group. The full understanding is reached through investigating, researching and analysing the passion points and interests of your target group by following the conversations and brands they engage in online. Most importantly is the ability to predict the reactions and expectations from your target group – and then give them what they want:
4: Engage in conversation
Once you’ve found someone who understands your target group, you need to make sure they know how to communicate their understanding. That they know how to interact and create interaction on your social networks. Creating engaging content that makes your fans and followers want to share your message – and knowing how to keep the fans/followers loyal to your brand by always being approachable and trustworthy.
5: Stay positive
The point of online communities is that everyone can join in on the conversation and share their thoughts on a topic, brand, product etc. Naturally, not every contributor will be of the positive kind. Negative comments are unavoidable and simply part of the game. If your community is run correctly, a negative comment can even end up strengthening the loyalty of your positive fans or followers, as they join to defend the brand/product. Get Satisfaction summarises the quality of always staying positive: Like a piñata, you still need to hand out candy after being beaten with a stick.
Your Community Manager has many more tasks and responsibilities concerning running your brand’s social media presence. These are just some of the corner stones in understanding the work that is needed to run a community – and the characteristics you need to look for, when considering who should take care and control of your communities.
Have you any experiences with community management of your brand? Share your tips and ideas on what it takes to be a successful Community Manager!