Hey, there! I am Erin Harting and I have been managing social communities for half a decade. In that time, I have learned there are some do’s and don’ts that will keep your customers feel heard, appreciated, loyal and will build social currency for your brand.
What is Community Management?
I assume since you’re reading this article, you have a general idea of what community management is but let’s lay it out in clear terms. Community Management brings a voice and personal touch to the faceless world of social media. This community consists of current customers, potential customers, target audiences, and all those directly and indirectly interacting with your brand online.
Why Community Management?
Brands that don’t utilize or manage their community miss out on opportunities to:
Convert customer complaints into positive, trust building experiences
Connect with influencers and prospective customers
Receive product feedback
Network and partner with other brands
Turn customers into super fans
Gain knowledge to improve businesses practices
Maybe you’re thinking community management isn’t important for your company since it’s on such a small scale? Well that’s just not the case. According to a 2015 study, customer complaints on social media have actually increased by 8 times from 2014 – and that was 4 years ago!
One disgruntled customer has the ability to impact your community whether it’s by word of mouth or a trail of comment. 3% of unhappy customers will share their complaint with 15 or more people. Furthermore, only 1 in 25 unhappy customers complain directly to you. Seize the opportunity when it arises, because let’s be honest – people will always complain at one point or another. Community Management will nurture the growth of your brand help keep your finger on the pulse of your community.
1. Take Away the “No”
A large portion of managing a social community will consist of answering questions about the product or service, how to order, or issues with the product or service. We of course always want to answer these with a positive response, but sometimes, we have to be the bearer of bad news. “No, we don’t ship to your country” or “No, your product is no longer under warranty” can cause a negative experience and a disgruntled customer.
Instead of saying “No.” I suggest using a “however,” statement. It’s very likely you can give the customer a positive twist on the bad news. “I’m sorry, your product is no longer covered under the warranty, however, I would be happy to provide you with a discount code for your next purchase!”
2. Thank You Goes a Long Way
You have so many things to be thankful for. Be thankful they contacted you. Be thankful that they showed interest in your product. Be thankful they have already used your product. It feels good to have gratification shown. They didn’t have to choose your product, but they did. Thank them for that! It helps the mood and sets the tone of the entire conversation.
3. Keep it Casual
One of the most amazing things about social community management is that you get to have a casual conversation with the public. You’re not just another advertisement and you’re not a robot. That’s rare in this world and can really make a customer feel special. Here’s your chance to use exclamation points, emojis, and dare I say puns. This is a human conversation – enjoy it!
4. Respond in a Timely Manner
This one is really important. This is a fast paced world we live in, and social media makes it that much faster. Not getting a response within a few hours is bordering on torture and won’t make anyone feel like the company cares about them. Responding to comments or questions quickly will prevent people from spamming your feed with angry comments and will keep everyone happier. Does a quick response feel daunting? That’s practically being on call 24/7! Well lucky for you, there are companies like ChuckJoe who would be able to manage your community for you!
In addition to the less favorable comments, also be sure to respond in a timely manner to positive feedback as well. Build on the happiness and joy that people are pouring onto your social media pages. Get them really excited that a company cares about hearing their positive comments. This engagement encourages them to contribute more in the future.
5. Rise Above and Exceed Expectations
Here’s a scenario. Frustrated the product we purchased has malfunctioned and we are NOT expecting the company to care about us as the consumer – but we’re outraged! So we reach out to customer support demanding retribution. You start the conversation salty and you expect them to brush you off. Then the unthinkable happens. They respond to your message with an apology and a quick solution. Hard to stay mad, right?
Well that’s the goal, after all! It is frustrating when things don’t work correctly but you’re 100% able to calm the situation and keep tempers at bay. Of course, there are those who are determined to be upset at the world and for them you can only hope their day gets better. If you can be the one to make their day better, you know they’ll leave with a lighter heart and a happy association with your company.
6. Direct the Heat to a Private Channel
Many times people feel the urge to put companies “on blast” and leave harsh comments all over their social pages rather than direct messaging. Don’t shy away from addressing the comments. No response only solidifies the aggressors view point to other potential customers. Take this opportunity to acknowledge their pain point in a public setting but then direct the conversation to a private communication.
For example, say someone named Alex leaves the comment, “This product is overpriced and broke within the first week! No one should ever buy this junk!”. A great response would be, “Hi, Alex! We are so bummed to hear that you have had a bad experience with our product. We carry ourselves to a high standard and would love to get to the bottom of this and find a solution that works all around. We have sent you a direct message to coordinate the details of the solution.” The issue has been addressed, the public sees your timely response, trust is built, and solution is found while shifting out of the public focus.
The most important message to take away here is that community management is about building social currency for your brand. Buzz doesn’t last, so focus on cultivating advocates and super-fans by providing real value to your consumers.