5 Reasons Why Community Management Is Important For Your Brandby: Dustin Hawley | Tuesday June 11, 2019
In order to bring a brand's social channels to life and achieve great results, digital marketers are relied upon to attract followers to their brand pages. This means that not only do you need to be creating high-quality, engagement-rich content, but you also need to manage the communities built from those efforts. Community management is a term that is often used interchangeably with social media management. Though social media management is most certainly a key component of any effective social media strategy, managing your community becomes increasingly important the larger your customer base grows.
At its core, community management is all about building relationships. How your brand utilizes opportunities to interact with your community in online public forums has a direct effect on many aspects of your brand efforts. Quite frankly, if you hope to build a long-term business and a strong, relevant brand, it's a practice you must invest in.
Viral Nation is here to help. In this article, we will give you five reasons why Community Management is important for your brand, and how it helps drive the business results that truly matter. So let's get started.
1. It Builds Equity and Brand Advocacy
Keeping your brand's current users and customer base engaged is arguably just as important — if not more — than acquiring new ones. Like many aspects of life, the more time or effort an individual invests into a product or service, the more they come to value it. And the more connected and involved someone feels with a brand, the more likely they are to become an advocate for you and sing your praises to their friends and family.
The most difficult accomplishment to achieve in the brand equity pyramid is resonance. Resonance is a term used to refer to building deep customer relationships. True resonance is a difficult task, and can only be achieved once your customers have formed a deep psychological bond with your brand. These are the customers who continuously make repeat purchases, and feel an attachment to your brand or product that goes far beyond that of the general public.
They also tend to feel a deep sense of community with other consumers and representatives of your brand. They can be actively engaged as brand ambassadors by taking part in activities like online chats, attending experiential events, or devoutly following your brand on social media. This is the type of brand equity connection that can help you establish massive brand equity.
2. It Empowers Your Customers and User-base
Most online communities who are doing social right and are successful in their efforts leverage an abundance of user-generated content. When you enable your community to speak up by enticing them with questions and content that inspire a reaction, you are stimulating engagement and a sense of empowerment for your customers and user-base.
This empowerment often allows users to self-police themselves in the event that you have a rogue user who seems to be stirring conflict within the community. It also provides your brand with educated ambassadors who have the ability to answer each other's questions and concerns first hand, without the involvement of your brand. While you should always be active in addressing the needs and concerns of your community, it's certainly a major benefit having these 'foot soldiers' of sorts helping to bridge the gap and reinforce a positive brand sentiment.
3. It Creates A True Sense of Community That Humanizes your Brand
The reach of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other major social media platforms is equal to or greater than what we can do with television, in terms of getting content out to the masses; especially your target audiences. But unlike television, social media gives you the opportunity to establish a direct and personal connection with your audience. This makes your brand much more approachable.
Personal connection is at the core of any community. An often overlooked benefit of community management is that it extends the content idea. Think about it like a house. Content opens the front door, where community management is standing there to personally greet the consumer and welcome them in with open arms. Carlos Sabbah is the Head of Social Publishing here at Viral Nation and has had success managing communities of all sizes across social media. He believes today's generation of millennials and Gen Z'ers don't just want great community management from the brands they buy from; they need it.
Today’s generation highly revolves around community management, if you are not a part of one, you are an outcast. Everything we know/learn about brands or products are shaped by what community management says it to be. It is important to take part in community management because establishing a relationship of this nature helps your brand gain respect, trust and loyalty, which is particularly beneficial for conversions and if you’re reviewing products or brands. Even the smallest amount of trust (as a fan) will forever make the community believe in whatever you say.
-Carlos Sabbah, Head of Social Publishing at Viral Nation
Social media is made for conversations — a vehicle that allows you to connect with the people around you. Brands are not successful when they choose to just talk at their audience by pushing out content. Talking with your audience directly through the extension of community management brings about far better results because it humanizes the brand and creates authentic relationships with your customers and user-base.
4. It Allows You To Tap into a Built-In Audience
If the channel you're on gives you access to a large audience or you're speaking to someone with a sizeable following, it might even be worth it to go the extra mile and tap into that audience. Leveraging a built-in audience allows brands to save some money (and be more efficient) with their marketing efforts through owned and earned media.
Analyze your brand's networks and determine which channels your community is the most active on, and which networks you're most likely to satisfy your main objectives with. Whether it be to build brand awareness, drive traffic, or simply maintain your reputation, those channels are the ones your organization should prioritize with your social efforts, and the ones that will allow you to tap into your audience most effectively.
5. It Enables You to Influence Your Brand Sentiment
As consumers, we all want immediate answers and results when we put in the effort to reach out to a brand. When someone posts on social, whether it be a complaint, a concern, or just a general inquiry, they expect to hear back quickly. But if a person doesn’t feel as if their concerns are being heard, or are not being valued due to lack of response, social media is the first place they go, where they magnify that complaint and potential set in motion a serious PR nightmare for a brand.
Brand's with great community management can address the issue immediately and find an ideal solution for the consumer often times before the complaint or question even becomes an issue. Customers respond to brands through feelings and judgments. These judgments directly relate to things like quality, credibility, and whether your brand is superior to your competitors in the eyes of consumers. Feelings are just that, how someone personally feels about your brand. Positive feelings can include fun, warmth, excitement, etc.
Community management not only helps give brands a much deeper understanding of their customers needs and desires, but it also catalyzes user-generated content, like reviews and comments, which are seen as more authentic than direct brand efforts. In 2018, 97% of online buyers read reviews before they made a purchase, so it's critical for communities to be actively engaged and creating content around a brand’s product or service.
At the end of the day, an engaged community is a paying community. Whether it be through in-person events or online forums, communities are paramount in building brand loyalty, awareness, and overall success. A strong and engaged online community will produce better results on every front and give you the opportunity to learn and innovate. In order to make an impact in today's mega-competitive market, brands must build communities that go beyond simply selling a product, and provide tangible value and support for their customers.
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