Community management (CM) is often overlooked as an integral part of a digital marketing strategy, but it’s an essential component in building an engaged, loyal base of advocates for your brand.
With hundreds of CM jobs up for grabs around Australia right now – and even a dedicated CM conference running this week (check out SWARM, if you haven’t already) – it’s clear there’s a need for brands to connect with their customers.
First and foremost, we have to accept that these days, brands aren’t entirely the property of those who create them.
Venessa Peach, co-founder of SWARM, gave us her expert angle:
“In this attention economy space where there’s an awful lot of noise, your brand doesn’t belong to you any more. It’s shaped by your community as much as it is by you. So, it makes sense to be weighing in and engaging in these conversations.”
Today, people go online to review and research a brand or product before they decide to buy. What consumers see online in this decision-making phase is very powerful in forming their perceptions.
The reality? People are going to talk about your brand online whether you like it or not. Community management is an opportunity to join this conversation, engage with customers (and potential customers), and help shape their experiences.
Community management creates engaged customers; and we know that engaged customers buy more, more often. There is a direct link between CM and social media ROI: research has shown that more engagement in online communities can mean up to 25% more revenue.
Engaged customers have an emotional connection to your brand. A great CM strategy that continues to provide people with experiences and information about your brand, products and/or services will strengthen this connection. Good CM fuels this cycle by creating a bond that goes beyond brand loyalty to create advocates: people who are ready to spread the good word about you to everyone they know!
Venessa says that because great CM isn’t easy, many brands simply put it in the too-hard basket. And the reality is, CM really is a slow burn. “It needs investment,” she says, adding that short burst community management that only spans a campaign is counterproductive.
Gallup research perfectly explains why campaign mentality amongst brands can only do so much for engaging customers:
“Aggressive advertising campaigns, mega sales promotions, promises of low prices, and reward programs may get customers through the door – but they don’t create the types of emotional connections that drive long-term profits and loyalty.”
As an agency that pushes clients to adopt an ‘always on’ approach to digital, we see the benefits of a consistent engagement strategy and agree that this couldn’t be more important. In celebration of this week’s SWARM conference we’ve compiled our top eight community management commandments that everyone should know.
If your community management strategy needs to be taken to the next level, we’d love to help!
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