5 Steps To Effectively Manage Your Online Community

The bottom line is that community management is about relationships. But what actually goes into building a thriving community?

As more and more businesses are realizing the benefits of social media and their online presence, community management is starting to gain traction, and fast. In our rapidly changing digital world community management is transitioning from a buzz word to something much more substantial and foundational. So what’s the key to a thriving community? Your community manager.

Businesses: Look for someone that can implement the following steps.
Community Managers: Take heed and develop your skills relating to these steps.

1. Build relationships

Marketing campaigns are no longer one-way messages conveyed towards your target market. Through social media consumers now have the opportunity to interact and converse with you as well as provide you with valuable feedback. All of the following steps really find their roots in the idea that community management is all about building relationships. After all, what good is a community if it isn’t built on developing mutually beneficial relationships?

2. Be a Brand Ambassador

If you don’t love the product, being the voice of the company on the Internet is probably not the best fit for you. The community manager plays a big role for setting the tone of the community. Your excitement is an important element in making your community a vibrant place where consumers enjoy spending time.

3. Customer Advocate

As stated in #2, you love the product. That’s great! But, that’s not the only hat you wear. Seize the opportunity to be an advocate for your customer by sharing their concerns, compliments, and ideas with the rest of your company. Fight for what they are asking for and let them know that you heard them! Responding to your customers and engaging in a conversation will put them on the fast track to becoming advocates of your brand and company. Tactfulness and timeliness will go a long way when it comes to building relationships with your customers.

4. Develop Your Voice

Your brand could have the most exciting marketing campaign in the industry but, if you aren’t able to develop a voice that reflects that personality, you will be hard pressed to gain and keep a social following. Consumers want to interact with a person, not a brand. Let your fun individuality shine through your community interaction rather than making up (and having to maintain) a fake persona.

5. Prioritize Communities

You very likely have more than one community that you are managing (your corporate blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). Analyze these communities to determine where they fall on the list of priorities. On what platforms do you have the best response? Is your Facebook page more active than your blog and Twitter account? Your time is limited so spend it wisely on the community that will benefit your company the most. Think opportunity cost.

If you’re an experienced community manager, what other tips do you have for cultivating a vibrant community?…