Social media isn’t just a virtual space; it’s a realm of relationships. People flock to social media platforms to follow their passions and interests. And guess what? You, dear brand, are in a relationship with your audience.
Yes, you read that right!
Just like any other relationship, your audience loves to be courted, heard, and cherished. In this blog, I – Ashley, TDP’s Social Media Coordinator and self-appointed Love Doctor – will be dishing out advice. I’ll give you my tried and true tips to nurture this special connection through the art of community management.
Imagine yourself scrolling through Instagram, stumbling upon a post from your favourite brand. You see that they have released a new handbag and you like the post and leave a cheeky comment – because why not?!
To your surprise, the brand not only likes your comment but responds to it with their own cheeky comeback that has you chuckling. That, my friends, is the heart of community management. It’s like a warm handshake through the screen, building a genuine relationship between the brand and its followers. These types of interactions work to make your audience feel acknowledged, listened to, and cherished.
So, fasten your seatbelts as I share my top tips and we embark on a voyage that will open up your path to meaningful brand-community connections.
A Digital Connection That Feels So Real
Think about your friends and family. You communicate, share moments, and listen to each other. Well, the same rules apply in the realm of social media. Your audience isn’t just a random group of people; they’re individuals who’ve chosen to connect with your brand. They’re investing their time and attention because they believe in what you offer. This is a relationship in the making. Your job is to cultivate that relationship and nurture it.
Wining, Dining, and Digital Love
In the world of romance, wining and dining are classic gestures to show affection. In the digital sphere, it’s all about providing content that resonates.
Imagine you’re treating your audience to a fine dining experience. Your content is the beautiful, aromatic, tasty dish, cooked to perfection to tantalise their senses.
Responding to comments and messages? That’s like a gracious host attending to their needs, ensuring they feel valued and catered to.
The Art of Listening and Responding
In any healthy relationship, listening is key. The same goes for your audience. The golden rule is to respond to comments and messages promptly, showing that you’re there to listen and engage. Remember, nothing says “I care” like a thoughtful reply. Every response is a nod that their thoughts matter.
Individuals yearn for personal attention, and your community is no different. Make sure that you personalise your responses! Acknowledge their uniqueness, addressing their concerns and desires.
This personal touch will make them feel cherished and understood. We all know that when it comes to dating, no one wants a copy and pasted meaningless message and this applies more than ever in community management!
Remember that each interaction on social media, no matter how small, contributes to building your brand’s identity. Every response carries the potential to spark joy, ignite curiosity, or even turn a casual follower into a loyal advocate.
What’s romance without a surprise here or there! Surprising your community with exclusive offers, sneak peeks, and hidden gems is a great way to keep the relationship alive and exciting. These surprises show that you’re always thinking of them, deepening your connection and loyalty.
Every relationship faces challenges and your social media relationship with your community isn’t any different, it’s how you handle them that matters. When negativity surfaces, it is important to respond with patience and empathy.
Always address negative comments [with some exceptions!]
If you only receive the odd negative comment – you should absolutely try and respond to each and every one. Your community is always watching the comments and paying attention to how you handle conflict. So, it’s a good chance to flash those customer service muscles that make your business so strong.
But we do know that some industries will always receive far more negativity than others. [Councils, government, health care, banking, phone companies, utilities – we see you!] In these instances, it’s a much more nuanced decision about when to engage.
Similarly, for some brands who get hundreds and hundreds of comments on posts [both positive and negative] it’s simply not possible to reply to everything.
The truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach here, and we know it’s tough. But the way that we approach whether or not to reply? We consider the following questions:
- Can we add something constructive to the conversation?
- Is there a channel we can suggest [email, phone, form] where they can provide more detailed feedback, without feeling dismissed?
- Is there a way we can move the convo to the DMs where watchful eyes aren’t scrutinising every interaction?
- Is it going to add more fuel to the fire if we don’t have a tangible solution?
- Could we add a single pinned comment letting them know we hear their concerns?
If a complaint is quite serious, always make sure you alert the management / owners / bosses as soon as you can. A swift resolution benefits everyone.
If you do respond, tailor your response to fit the mood
If it’s a fair or relatable negative comment? Respond with solutions and an acknowledgement.
If it’s a genuine troll or spam bot seeking attention? Consider a witty, lighthearted response.
Make sure you choose a response that addresses any real issues whilst keeping the tone positive and constructive. Usually a short, human-sounding and acknowledgement-laden reply is best.
Respond on time
Responding promptly to negative comments shows that you’re attentive and committed to resolving issues.
Approach negative comments with facts and not emotions
When tempers are high, it’s easy to get caught up in emotions. Your role is to always approach negativity calmly.
Stick to finding a solution, and do everything you can to not sound defensive. It might feel satisfying to ‘win’ an argument, but it’ll go 18x more smoothly if you stay focused on a resolution, rather than working out who is ‘right’.
While the customer isn’t always right, there is something powerful about always being the more patient, reasonable and kind player publicly.
Always report harassment
If you encounter any form of online bullying or harassment, don’t hesitate to report it. Your community should feel safe and valued within the space you’ve created.
And SO importantly – so should you! Community management isn’t easy, and it can really be rough hearing negativity on the regular. Take care of you, take a little breather and get as much support as you can for the tough scenarios.
Create a response register
Speaking of real love? Nothing is more dreamy than a great response register. A great response register will include:
- Details of your brand voice
- Common phrases and responses
- Language to avoid
- Answers to FAQs
- Clear channels of escalation
- Phrases that you can reword slightly in response to common scenarios
- A contact list for when you know what hits the fan
- A sense of who’s who in the social media zoo – friends of the business, staff members, and maybe even a list of the folks with loud voices that you’d want to be extra considerate around
The beauty of community management lies in its ability to bridge the gap between the virtual and the real. Behind every username is a human with feelings and opinions. Your brand has the incredible opportunity to make a genuine impact, not just on a screen, but in the hearts of your audience.
So, dear brand, as you navigate the ever changing world of social media, remember that you’re more than just a logo or a product.
You’re a friend, a companion and a source of inspiration. Embrace community management, and watch as your relationships with your audience grow and flourish creating a digital bond that extends beyond a screen. Just like any relationship, it takes effort, care, and a lot of heart!
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