With digital communication technologies and social media platforms becoming more accessible every day and everywhere in the world, it becomes even more necessary for businesses to stay connected with their customers, other brands and their employees. To do so, brands and businesses need to reach out and try to instil a sense of community to the network of people around them.

Many brands invest in creating a community with shared interests to stay connected with their customers, a process known as community management. Community management helps create genuine relationships between a company or a business and its external audience. This process helps them become more human, accessible and more supportive to their customers.


So, what is community management?


Your community online is your audience and people who interact with your brand online, across different social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Quora, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn and Google+. It is an essential part of your social media strategy, and it is a result of your social media publishing and presence. Part of it is customer service and support; another part is listening to your audience and playing an active role in discussions and conversations that are related to your brand.

It is how brands use the opportunities they have through their online presence to connect with their audience and increase interactions which can lead to more growth. But what makes community management critical to your business? The goal of community management is creating a voice, tone, character and a human element behind the brand.

It enables your business to provide support for its audience and customers when they need it and increase its brand awareness by creating bigger circles around it. It helps you gain insightful and valuable feedback from your audience members through authentic conversations and by forming one-on-one relationships with them. Add to this the ability to increase interactions which means generating more sales and ensuring more conversions.

Finally, community management can help you understand your customers more effectively by listening to them to know how you can strengthen their loyalty to your brand by hearing them out and acting according to their needs.








Various forms of community management

There are many different forms of community management; some of them require no face-to-face interaction, while others involve direct interactions with your audience. You can choose the types that you think will benefit your brand best to focus on. Here is an overview of some of the primary parts of community management. 

Gaining valuable feedback to increase product innovation

This means building a space for your target audience to react to your products and services and listening to their ideas and thoughts to improve what you offer. You can start doing so by asking your followers to participate in surveys or leading thoughtful discussions on your social channels to get their feedback. You can even host offline focus groups to learn from their experience with your services and help enhance it. Asking for feedback from your customers is the best way to improve your products and services successfully.




Customer Service and Support

This is by far, one of the most critical types of community management, and it is essential to any business or industry. To retain your customers, even if they face any challenges or issues when dealing with your brand, you need to offer multiple channels for them to reach you easily. Live chat support on websites is now an essential part of any successful business. What’s even more convenient to your customers is being able to reach your customer support through social media. You can also provide self-help sources on how to use your service by posting how-to posts or infographics on your social media channels that answer frequently asked questions. You can also publish educational videos and valuable content on youtube. Doing so will save both your customers’ and team members’ time by not having to ask and wait for answers on the same questions over and over again.

Ensuring that your customers can reach you and that you have the right staff to assist them and help them out when they need is critical. This form of community management helps you stay connected, reachable and transparent with your customers and audience.

Advocacy programs, influencers and brand ambassadors

This form of community management allows you to reach more audience and enlarge your circles through word-of-mouth, influencers, affiliate programs and brand ambassador initiatives. You can cooperate with social media influencers to reach new people and to bring more of the human element to your approach. You can also get the help of brand ambassadors to help enrich your community and advocate your brand to a bigger crowd. Brand ambassador programs help you acquire new consumers while also retaining your valuable customers. So you simply reward your loyal customers, getting them to spread the word about you by sharing their positive experiences with you. Such acquisition and advocacy programs help promote brand loyalty, build stronger relationships with your supporters and increase your brand awareness.

User-generated content

User-generated content is a great way to enrich your content and strengthen your brand’s community at the same time! Utilizing community-generated content increases your brand’s value and facilitates the relationships between your brand and your audience. This content can be in any form; it can be through reviews, fun videos of them using your product or service, static images of what your brand means to them. By sharing user-generated content that follows your company’s guidelines and meets your requirements, you can gain more interactions and increase your brand’s awareness and meaningful connections with your audience significantly. It is also an excellent option for businesses with contributed content at the core of their services, which means their value is maintained by users who join their platforms or use their services.

Building your community management strategy

To ensure your community management methods and practices are in line with your brand’s goals and priorities, you need to create a social media community management strategy that helps facilitate how you implement community management across social channels. To start your strategy, you first need to choose a social channel to cater your strategy to it. You can start with ones that are more important to you and have more of your target audiences on them. Choosing your priority platforms will depend on your audience and their demographics. You might want to focus on LinkedIn if you’re looking for professional customers, or Facebook and Instagram if your target audience is broad or Snapchat and TikTok if you’re targeting a younger generation.

There are a lot of social platforms to choose from and to start with based on your target audience, industry and what you offer. So start by identifying your audience on each platform you’re interested in to cater your content and boost interactions and engagements on each social media channel. Also, try to determine your audience’s interests by looking at how they interact with similar brands and who they follow and engage with. You can simply ask your audience what they want to see and what type of content they prefer, this will help you ensure that you’re reaching them with relevant social media content.

So stay open to suggestions and value your customers’ opinions to enhance your content and brand awareness while also building valuable interactions with your target audience. By determining the factors mentioned above, like what your audience wants and which platform they prefer, you will be able to cater your content and messages to them successfully. Here are a few basic things that you also need to do to get started.





Set your community management goals and evaluate them

Setting realistic and manageable goals is a big part of any social media strategy. To achieve your business objectives and measure your performance, you will need to develop a few goals and a few metrics to measure them. Your goal can be higher engagement on a specific social media platform, which means you will track your engagements like comments, likes, shares, direct messages or mentions. Based on overall engagement statistics you already have, set an attainable goal to reach and evaluate your posts by collecting more data along the way. Your goal can change depending on the results you achieve.

Other success metrics you can set for your strategy, based on what matters to your business most, are boosting community members or followers or increasing customer retention and satisfaction. You can also identify your success based on the traffic your social channels will direct to your website or through the sales and conversions that your social media presence generates.

Stay active by posting and engaging with your audience

Consistency is key to a successful social media presence, especially in posting and engagement. This is something that you probably already decided on in your social media marketing strategy, and you can always revisit it based on the amount of engagement you receive and the time you have to react to it actively. Consistency in post frequency and engagement shows reliability and help you create bonds with your audience. Make sure you engage with them, like their comments, answer their concerns and show gratitude to positive comments and feedback. Follow back your loyal customers; these can be your brand advocates. Just be authentic and address your community members individually with a personal and trustworthy tone.

Evaluate your performance and measure your results

It takes time to build a community after identifying your strategy and target audience on each platform. Quantitative data matters, of course, but so does other things than numbers. To evaluate your results, you need to master social listening. Take the time to monitor your accounts and track engagement, customer feedback, your competitor’s performance and discussions related to your industry and brand. Analyze these factors and learn what works for you so far and what you need to modify to enhance your strategy.

There are also other ways to measure your success, and these include using analytics tools. Most social platforms have analytics features or built-in tools that are very intuitive to learn and use. Look at different variables to measure your performance on each platform based on your goals.

Final tips for community management


Now that you understand what community management is and how to start implementing it, here are some of the best practices you can incorporate in your community management day-to-day tasks to maintain it successfully:

Check your social channels regularly: It is necessary to check on your community members – followers and customers – regularly to ensure everything is going as planned and to provide the support your audience needs. Make sure you’re answering any questions and that you’re listening to their needs and replying with thoughtful responses. Regular communications are the best way to improve your community management style, and it shows that you value your members’ opinions and care about their experiences.

Stay genuine, authentic and real to them: When managing your community and interacting with it on social media, it is imperative to be authentic with your branding and tone of voice. Your interactions need to sound genuine and real instead of robotic or systematic.

Find new ways to engage with your audience: Stay up to date and in touch with your community by exploring new ways to engage with them. Changes in your industry, your products or services are all things you need to be aware of and address on your social channels.

Keep your brand tone unique and original:  To make sure your brand is identifiable by your community, you need to maintain your brand tone, which should show originality and personality. Even if more than one person is working on your community management, they should all understand your brand’s voice and maintain it properly in their engagements and interactions. A unified tone will help keep your messaging direct and your brand’s image sharp.

Show appreciation for your community members! Finally, to lead a thriving community, you will need to build a trustworthy brand image that deserves loyalty and recognition. Showing appreciation and support to your community tells them that you value their time and care about them. Interact with your community members, give a shout out to your loyal followers and customers and regularly check comments and mentions to engage and show appreciation when it’s due!

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