There’s been a lot of talk about community managers lately, especially with the recent Mumbrella MasterClass on Community Management taking place last week.
At Switched on Media the social media team are the face and voice of a number of brands on social media. This is a big responsibility (at the risk of sounding like my mum!) so we put a lot of emphasis on making sure we have the right training, procedures and policies in place to make sure our community managers represent the brand appropriately.
What are our three top tips for being an awesome community manager
1. Set expectations within the community and with the client: Before we jump into running a social media community, we make sure everyone understands the purpose of the page and how the brand plans on interacting with its audience. Everyone agrees on the frequency of proactive and reactive posts; the hours the page is managed (are we working on Saturday night?!); and who the brand will be responding to (everyone, customer service inquiries and/or negative comments?).
2. Know the brand strategy and feed-back into it: Our community managers should know the brand strategy inside out (after all, they are the voice of the brand!) but, in an ideal world, they shouldn’t be responsible for the brand strategy. We believe that wherever possible, the brand strategy should be created by the people who live and breathe this type of strategy, and who have been thinking about this kind of thing all day long, for many years. Otherwise, you run the risk of the brand sounding like whoever the community manager is/are. I understand that this isn’t always possible for smaller companies so, as responsible(!) community managers, we make sure we have procedures to make us always remember to keep a distinction between how we talk on social media as individuals and how the brand should be talking. Would that brand really say ‘lol’ and ‘totes’? It might, but we make sure we know for sure before sending that public tweet or Facebook post. Part two of this tip is that the community managers should always provide feedback on the brand strategy and how the brand is being received and perceived so that the brand can evolve appropriately. We’re grateful that most marketers (like those working on Vegemite or working for the United Nations) have come to the realisation that they aren’t the sole owners of their brand anymore but their brand is owned by everyone and anyone in their community.
3. Be an active listener: As community managers, we try to listen more than we type. Active listening requires you to not just hear what the community members are saying but to “understand, interpret, and evaluate” what is said; the key thing here is to do that before you respond. There are lots of tools to help us hear what people are saying about brands online but it’s up to us, as community managers, to actively listen to this.
Originally posted on switchedonmedia.com.au.