Long before social media networks emerged, companies had already realized the value and benefits of creating communities around their products and brands. And why not? When treated properly, these communities generate goodwill to the company's customers and prospects.
They can also serve as an infinite source of new leads that sustain the company's marketing efforts. And there is also the possibility that community members eventually become passionate spokespersons and evangelists for the brand.
The popularity of social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter has made the task of community-building much easier.
But community managers still need to put in some work in order to ensure that their communities grow and thrive. Here are five useful tips for community managers.
- Keep the Blog Going - Your social media accounts are the perfect complement to your business blog. The blog provides a steady source of content to keep people engaged, while social media does a great job of managing community and directing traffic to the blog. This mechanism alone can net your business an infinite source of traffic to your blog and website, as well as fresh new leads for your business.
- Listen to Your Community Members - Make it a habit to know the concerns of individual members and entire segments of your community. The insights you get from listening in on conversations, comments, complaints and suggestions are immensely valuable and can result in better business decisions.
- Engage Your Community Members - You can't be a lurker forever! Your community also expects you to be a source of answers, new information, thought leadership and even comfort. You need to regularly put out announcements, promotions and special offers. At the same time, you need to serve as a curator of useful information, providing straight-up tips as well as links to external resources, including your own blogs or websites.
- Mix It Up - When engaging your community members, don't just post stuff about your business. That would be very boring and your community may soon experience information fatigue. Throw in some content that may be remotely related, or even totally unrelated to your brand or business, but may be of interest or value to your community members. In fact, the Pareto Principle becomes useful here: 80% of your posts should be about diverse topics, and 20% should be about your business.
- Segment Your Community - A practice that can be extremely useful to your community management efforts is to segment your community members. Facebook and Twitter have mechanisms that let you build lists that you can use to group together common contacts. This is very handy when you want to send specific messages to the corresponding set of contacts.