Managing your online community is more important than ever. Learn how managing your community has changed post-pandemic, and the impact a good organic social strategy can have your brand in the short and long term.
Over the past few weeks, life, as we know it, has changed – and that means the way people interact with brands and businesses has changed, too. People are spending more time at home, and therefore more time online. And our online Social Communities are booming. As Joel Golby said, ‘’I mean what, truly, else is there to do?’’ So Community Management is more important than ever.
I have had the same discussion over and over again with clients: ‘where should my budget be going?’, ‘Should I stop all marketing spend?’ – the simple answer is no. In this turbulent time, making drastic decisions could really affect your online presence in the future – which means that now is the time to focus on areas that can benefit you in the long term.
It’s no secret that many people don’t understand the true power of Social Media and that Social communities have often been the last marketing channel on decision-makers’ radars. If you are reading this and are included in that, here is why you should shift your strategy to building a social media community and how it can help your business.
Humanise your brand is the key to Community Management
It makes you human. And who do we like talking to? Humans!
In day to day life, communities are the foundation of society. With self-isolation forcing all of us inside, people are now seeking out new ways to interact with their friends, family, and brands in online communities.
Apps like Google Meet and Houseparty are booming, while Zoom was downloaded 2.13m times around the world on 23 March, the day the lockdown was announced in the UK– up from 56,000 a day two months earlier. We want, more than EVER, to be close to our loved ones and the face to face time these apps offer are invaluable.
Comscore states that ‘As general news outlets relayed information about the epidemic, so did social media around mid-February: compared with Feb 10-16, the number of visits in Mar 09-15 increased by 14% in France, 11% in Germany, 30% in Italy, 55% in Spain, and 18% in the UK.’
Retaining Customers in your Social Community
You should always be focussing your business on retaining customers, but now is a new era for businesses to support consumers online and create a really solid base of customer retention using Community Management techniques. Doing the right thing has never been more on-trend! Traditionally we look at Customer Retention as the last thing to pick up in the marketing funnel, but communities show that actually getting emotional buy-in from potential customers first (much like you would in the retention phase).
Pretty Little Thing is a great example of this. They’ve been hosting giveaways for NHS staff and trying to help where they can. Barbour has also been making and sending out new scrubs for Medical staff in the new Nightingale hospital.
The brands that practice ‘social good’ now will be remembered by their audiences for years to come. It all comes back to humanising your brand.
I always advise customers to not spend too much time talking about themselves on social media. You need to make an emotional connection with your audience, and show them that you are more than a product or service.
Get your voice heard
Your brand may as well not exist if your audience doesn’t know about it. A great way to do this is to create a two-way dialogue. Seek out your audience and actually talk to them. Nurture relationships, open up discussions, and get your voice heard. If you spend time with your audience, they will remember it for years to come.
Now is also a really good time to try some different content. What other brands do you want to endorse? What do you want people to think about you? Take the focus away from lead generation, and take it back to nurturing your audience’s and your own voice.
You can even look at sharing your users’ content. UGC (User Generated content) should make up a third of the content you share on Organic Social anyway – and you won’t get this unless you get your voice heard and get involved in conversations online.
Check… and check again
When I first look at social channels, I look for mistakes. Carrying out Community Management is no easy task, and sometimes things fall through the net. Spelling and grammar are the main ones. You need to make sure your brand looks professional. Do all your social channels look and feel the same? What tone of voice you should be using? Do you know the difference between their, they’re and there? (I know, it seems simple but a lot of people don’t!)
If you don’t take your social media presence seriously, then why should your consumers?
Get a helping hand
Using tools that can help you with Community Management and your research to find where your audience hangs out and get involved in conversations is key. Hashtagify is a great way to do this! You can search through hashtags all over social media to do some research – and see where you are missing out.
Social tools to organise your interactions on social are also great. My favourite is Sprout Social, and we use it for most of our clients at Hallam. It also lets you do in-depth research and stay up to date with news, and schedule your own content.
We’re all people
Any conversation you have online should come from a place of emotion. We’re all human, and we are all in this together. COVID-19 might not last forever, but if you ensure you are humanising your business at every opportunity, you will create a foundational base for loyalty in your customers – and they will remember that over anything else.