Once upon a time, genuine conversations between brands and customers on social media reigned supreme. But these days, it seems like more and more brands are starting to flat-out ignore questions in their comments or refer commenters to an out-sourced customer service team.
Is community management on social media dead? Read on as we explore whether brands are failing at connecting to audiences, why community management is still important, and our best tips for boosting your community management game.
What is community management on social media?
Social media community management is a brand's process of engaging with audiences across social media platforms. The purpose is to boost relationships with customers and ultimately increase brand loyalty.
In its most basic form, community management includes responding to comments on social media posts, replying to direct messages, or conducting social listening to understand how audiences speak about a brand outside of its own channels.
Over the years, most social platforms have built features that help with community management, like automated responses and chatbots.
This is great for convenience and frequently asked questions, but when it comes to answering more complicated questions, building deeper relationships, and showing personality, automated features just don't do the trick.
We'll get more into that later, but first why is community management so important?
Why is community management important?
Building an effective social media presence is about more than creating entertaining and engaging content. Brands need to focus on customer relationships once the content has been posted.
Developing authentic relationships on social media not only boosts brand perception, it actually results in higher returns on investment.
A 2023 survey from social media management tool Sprout Social found that consumers are 77% more likely to increase their spending with brands they feel connected to.
Not to mention the social media landscape is rapidly changing every day. Algorithm updates and content trends may change, but providing great customer service in comments and showing brand personality is a stable way to deepen relationships and make a mark.
Seen below: a great example of McDonald's showing personality on social media, inherently inviting genuine conversation with a customer.
Consumers might not remember the highly-produced Reels a brand posts, but they'll remember how a brand makes them feel.
Is community management a dying art?
Despite how important community management is, a brief scroll through many brands' social media profiles reveals some disappointing images. Both negative and more neutral questions are left hanging without responses (not to put this particular brand on blast).
Even when this brand did respond to negative comments in their last few posts, the commenter would be asked to send an email to the customer service team or fill out a form online, very possibly to never be answered.
Some situations may warrant taking the conversation off social media, but a brand's first instinct should be to keep the conversation on the platform. It's a good idea to take more sensitive information or negative situations into direct messages though, rather than continuing it in the comments. This keeps the convo confidential but still more authentic than emailing a customer service rep who may never answer.
At the end of the day, responding to comments doesn't have to be complicated, and it's important to respond to the positive ones as well!
Seen below: a great example from Taco Bell with a short, simple, and relevant response given the context of the original tweet.
While some brands, like Taco Bell, are excelling at community management, more brands could benefit from investing deeper in their customer relationships online.
Let's not let community management become a dying art. It's alive and well and necessary for brands' successful social media strategies.
Random's Expert Tips for Community Management
Prepare to deal with difficult questions. Diving into community management means having to deal with all the comments - the positive, the negative, and the in-between. Don't be afraid to respond to negative comments and clear up concerns, but do have a plan.
Be proactive with a plan. We know how busy everyone is. If you're a brand hiring an agency for community management (or you're an agency working with a brand), it's helpful to work out a plan in the beginning. Collect answers to common or anticipated questions users might ask on social media so you don't have to track down answers every time. Identify a person on the legal or product development teams in the brand that you can contact to get quick answers to technical questions.
Use your listening skills. Step outside your own profile to explore where people are mentioning your brand on other posts and platforms, and then start a conversation there! Jumping into relevant posts (even if your brand isn't tagged) is a great way to naturally insert your brand into online conversations and build loyalty. Brands can conduct social listening by using online management tools! Some of our favorites are Brand24 and Mention.
The world of community management can be tricky, but it's crucial to building a stronger brand presence and increasing ROI. Good luck out there! You got this.
Our team members here at Random are experts at community management. Let's work together! Send us a message below to learn more and get started.