Everyone wants to be liked – and brands are no different.
That warm, fuzzy release of dopamine when you get a ‘like’ or a new follower on social media is something we all strive for, whether we’re sharing family photos or uploading our latest selfie. And businesses are no different.
Whether your business has an established social media following, or the accounts are brand new, it’s easy to get stuck running these Pages and Business Accounts the same way you run your personal profiles; on a day-to-day basis.
Social media marketing is one of the most cost-effective and targeted ways of connecting with your ideal customers. A great way to build great relationships with new buyers, and retain strong relationships with existing buyers, is to cultivate a passionate, engaged community around your brand. And the only way to cultivate that community is to create and share fantastic content with a strategy for success.
What does the role of a community manager entail?
A social media community manager is much, much more than a professional Tweeter. Their role usually includes a whole lot of content creation, whether it’s blogging, video creation or photography, not to mention adapting this content into platform-friendly formats. And it doesn’t end there. A community manager is also a multi-skilled data analyst, brand marketer, crisis response manager, customer service representative and project manager, among a multitude of other tasks day-to-day.
If you’ve been tasked with managing your business’ social media accounts, don’t stress – you are not alone!
We’re here to help. Social media community management can be a stressful task, but there are a few smart ways to tackle the beast and make your life easier in the long run.
Here are five things you need to prepare for a successful social media community management plan.
Risk management plan
This may be one of the most important steps you can take to prevent long-term damage to your brand in the event of a crisis or incident. Social media poses unique risks that can have a huge effect on your brand if managed poorly. If you have an incident or negative PR coverage, you will need to be swift and careful in responding on social media.
Social media gives us very little control; you can’t control what other people post on your page or how they talk about your brand, but you can control how you handle it. The best thing you can do in the event of an incident is to own your mistakes. Acknowledge that something has gone wrong, set the record straight with the facts, and let your audience know what you’re doing to rectify the issue. Be prompt in answering any questions your followers may have, and monitor any brand mentions and conversations for as long as it takes to minimise the damage.
Trolls exist, and they’re really ugly. How will you deal with one? Do you have a set of standard responses ready to go in the event of a troll causing mayhem on your Page? What will you do if someone starts protesting on your Page? What about negative feedback on your products or marketing campaign? How will you handle apologising to a customer/followers about an incident?
Create an official plan and have it signed off by your managing director or CEO. Make sure it’s accessible by all staff that have access to your social media accounts. Review it as a group at six month intervals and ensure it’s always up to date.
Tone of voice and style guide
Consistency in tone of voice and style across mediums is critical; you don’t want to appear as a stranger, or ‘surprise’ your audience with a whole new tone of voice. Tone of voice and style should be consistent across every medium, whether it’s TV, outdoor mass-marketing, web copy or print advertisements. And it’s the same for social media.
Create a social media style guide to accompany your overall brand style guide. Describe how your business should sound on each platform. What words or language style do you use on Facebook? What is the purpose of your Twitter account? What types of images would you share on Instagram? Create a style guide and stick to it, making revisions as you learn and grow. Your tone of voice and style may vary slightly depending on the channel you’re using, but the overall presence should always be consistent.
Don’t get caught in the trap of coming up with content ideas the day you need to post them. Create a monthly content plan for all your channels. Work together with your marketing and sales team on a content calendar and create a strategy for success.
However, don’t get so caught up with planning every tiny detail! Leave room for ad-hoc or spontaneous posts. Breaking news, current events or trending topics can and will pop up; be prepared for the unexpected and create wiggle room for things to move around.
There is no hard-and-fast rule of the best type of content. Make sure to have variety in your content plan and take note of engagement rates. Test, test and test again; what works best on one day might perform poorly the next. With enough data collected, you should start to see patterns emerge. Soon, you should be able to work out what content type performs best and why. As for how often you should be posting content, this is again something only you can determine. Don’t fall into the trap of finding just anything to publish – that’s not the point. Share creative, engaging content that your followers will find interesting, helpful and useful. Some of our favourite content planning and visual project management tools are Favro, Trello and Hootsuite.
Related post: Read our blog to learn about five of our favourite productivity tools for digital marketers
Analysis and evaluation
You wouldn’t send out an email campaign without considering your initial goal and how to evaluate success; why should this be any different for your social media channels? Whether you want to increase your reach or create more engaging content, keeping track of your social media analytics is critical for learning. Continual analysis and review will help you to create better content and get better results in the future.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all have built-in analytics tools, where you can see some basic insights about your audience, post activity and engagement. For Instagram accounts, you need to be registered as a business account to have access to some basic analytics.
Learn why you should take advantage of Instagram for Business on our blog.
Set up a monthly dashboard to track your results over time. When you’re analysing the results, look for quality over quantity. Analyse your followers and try to ascertain how engaged they are with your content and your business. Look at the types of posts you created and try to work out why some performed well and others didn’t. As you learn more from your analytics data, you will be able to start to streamline your workflow each month, spending more time on optimising great content and less time on trying to optimise less effective content.
Depending on your goals, budget and depth of data, you may wish to set up access to an analytics tool or CRM, such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite or HubSpot.
Social media is just one tool in the inbound marketing toolkit, but it’s certainly powerful.
With just a little bit of preparation, you’ll be ready to share great content and foster an engaged community around your brand.