Strong customer relationships help you build a successful business, boost customer retention and enhance the emotional connect between them and your brand. An online community is the simplest and easiest way to build such a relationship.
This community turns into a haven when you can connect with customers regularly, encouraging chats and discussions while asking questions. With the community growing, your goal becomes to upsell, gain referrals and drive leads.
As you may realise, flourishing companies don’t sprout branches overnight. A community manager’s role entails setting metrics, monitoring conversations and organizing data being received. All this helps you run and grow successful branded communities.
If you require a few tips on community management, here’s what is needed to be successful:
Success Metrics in place
Your business’s most valuable tool can be your online community. Besides engaging with customers, increasing word of mouth marketing, brand building and driving leads, the focused framework is where true growth takes place. In order to plan for such true growth it is imperative to set metrics. These metrics are viable for dictating discussions topics, themes and more. A few key data points to keep in mind:
- Traffic – are you seeing growth in traffic over time? What is the source of this traffic? Consider traffic to your online community aka your website.
- Engagement – actually engaging vs visiting the community? How much of your regular traffic is doing both? What discussions catch their fancy? This could dictate future questions, discussion starters and content.
- Member count – what is the number of new members each month? How any do you lost? Is this consistent on a monthly basis? Any spikes in numbers? What caused it?
Guidelines to administer better
Community guidelines are essential to keeping conversations positive, effective and on-track. Basic guidelines such as keeping negative comments out of the situation, being respectful to everyone in the community and no sharing of private information could be implemented. For reference take a look at Telstra’s community guidelines. Include anything essential you might feel is specific or important to your brand. They don’t need to be long or complicated. The fewer rules the better.
Ensure you create a specific web page for these guidelines along with a unique link. This enables it to be shared much more easily with new members or once in a while if issues arise.
Even with guidelines in place, there could still be times when are you required to remove comments or address issues. As such it is essential for you to monitor the community closely daily. Unless conversations slow on weekends.
In case you do need to remove a comment, you could consider addressing the group regarding it. Or you could choose to reach out to that person specifically for an explanation. When addressing the group, you could reshare the URL according to guidelines in order for others to get a refresher on what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
Networking for success
Your community rises in value only when your members believe. Encourage your members to network amongst each other in order for your community to become a place for them to meet and talk, instead of just a group created by your company. You could plan meetups in areas where your organization has offices. This allows customers and community members a chance to meet face-to-face as well as interaction with your organization’s employees.
Community members will require a bit of a push in the right direction – they will not speak with each other naturally. In order to remain consistent, you could add discussion points to the weekly or monthly content calendar, determining beforehand what each week’s topic of discussion would be. This enables you extra preparation of resources ahead of time, such as polls.
Your prep time could also be used to request other team members to join in or host discussions. Brining in your CTO could help you answer a lot more technical questions. Remind your guest to keep the talk fun and friendly and to let the personality show.
Keeping personality at the heart of things
Your greatest asset of an online community is the chance to build a ‘human’ brand and your business through an injection of personality into the conversation. Allow the fun and vibrant culture of your team to shine through when engaging with your community. Your goal should be to have fun while staying professional and speaking from the perspective of the brand and organization. Don’t stay too far from the brand’s tone or over-share. You can always be more personable by striking a balance between your brand’s true personality and the individuals creating it with the outward tone.
The missing element – webinars
The digital world is all around us. However humans still want human interaction. Connecting with your community members in such a format has many benefits. Hosting live interaction sessions are invaluable for connecting and engaging your user base. It humanizes your brand and makes you much easier to relate to. On the client end this becomes important towards building trust loyalty.
Hosting monthly video calls with community members regarding a specific topic and agenda related to your business grows your user base too. In a programmer community you could do a new feature on the latest in-demand language and a tutorial to grow email subscribers the next.
Keep the flame within your community going
Each business contains a bottom line. Your community is the ideal way to grow profits and bottom lines. The secret is in keeping everyone excited and enticed about the brand. In order to achieve that, exclusive opportunities, coupons and discounts as well as product demos and freebies need to be given. The key is in driving direct and indirect leads.
Indirectly via offering something to a user while still showing value.
Directly – turning community members into leads
Organization is key
From questions and queries to stories being created, you’re managing lots of information coming out of the community. Your job as community manager is in keeping it all organized in order for your company to use that information. Example – common community questions point out flaws within the service offering or a needed product upgrade. The more organized you become the more valuable to your company you turn.
Apply these tips in turning your community into a powerful tool driving leads while enriching the work experience with your organization.Like the article? then do subscribe 🙂 and also don't forget to checkout our accounting, invoicing and expense management software Pi.TEAM - finance simplified.