Editor’s Note: This post was written by guest blogger, Jacob Curtis. Learn more about him in the bio below this post.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experience in community management, it’s that in order to do social media right you’re going to have to make the time to do it. If you’re a small business owner however, having extra time is unfortunately pretty hard to come by.
Let’s face it, you’re busy doing what you do best – running a business. Adding one more straw to the camels back may just be the one that breaks it. With the introduction of social media most businesses are recognizing that there’s an obvious hole within their company that needs to be filled – and fast!
Ignoring social media is no longer an option. Businesses are recognizing this and scrambling to hire consultants, agencies, interns, or even promoting their old receptionist to take over their brand’s online presence.
Regardless of who’s doing the job, here are a few things you can give any community manager to prepare them for success:
Ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish for my business by being on XYZ platform? Do I want to increase sales or do I want to be seen more as a resource or thought leader in my industry? Is there a reason for each platform out there?
If you don’t have a goal in mind as the business owner, you can sure bet your community manager doesn’t either. If you hired someone for their supposed social media know-how, that makes sense. But reaching your goal depends on having the strategy in place to get there and a road map is much easier to develop with an end goal in mind. Logistics come second.
Educate your community manager about your brand identity and voice. Be very clear about how you expect them the behave while representing your business online. Allow this conversation to be a dialog between you and your community manager, chances are you’ll arrive at a solid middle ground where you haven’t totally smothered their creativity.
Finally, discuss with your community manager how you expect them to deal with negative comments or bad reviews and prepare them with details if you suspect a bad review may be headed your way. Sure, deleting or ignoring a negative post is one way to put out the fire. But is it the best? It’s likely that conversation will be taken elsewhere where you have much less control. The earlier you have these conversations, the better! So prepare your community manager with the approach you want them to take with each situation.
Fans love content. It’s what keeps them engaged and coming back for more. Without content, your fan page would be a barren ghost town. Guess what? Your community manager loves content too! This means providing them any pictures, videos, testimonials, blog articles, publications, newsletters, and press releases they can share with your growing online community. Don’t expect them to share it all at once, a healthy mix of your internal content along with external industry-related articles is very important for your fan page’s longevity.
Keep it coming! Have an event your employees volunteered at? Take people out on wine tours? Celebrate Halloween in your office? Taking up-to-date pictures not only keeps your followers current with your company but multimedia is some of the most engaging pieces of content. Re-purposing old stuff is also an effective strategy, but try to stay as current as possible with that you’re sharing.
Dust off the photo albums! Nothing says “we’ve been in business for 25 years” better than an empty Facebook timeline. Take a stroll through memory lane and have your community manager scan old photos and insert them into your Timeline. Fans love a good story and this is a great way to build a personal connection with your brand to see where you came from and how you’ve grown.
Community managers typically have the same attributes as cheerleaders. Not necessarily the pom poms – but becoming very passionate about whatever they’re involved with. Providing them with feedback about how they are doing is great not only for their own knowledge and encouragement but to keep them from wandering blindly down the path to achieve your established goals. Also, do your community manager a favor and ask customers where they heard about you and if it had anything to do with your social profiles like Facebook. If a fan converted into a sale based on your community manager engaging with them, that’s a definite touchdown in everyone’s eyes.
Manage your own expectations of your community managers performance and recognize the limitations they may have. For example if you aren’t advertising don’t expect 1,000 new fans or followers within a month or your social media campaign to be very successful. This can be very demoralizing for your community manager and may lead to even worse practices like purchasing fake “Likes” or Follows. Understand that relationships on social networks take time to develop.
Your community manager is your brand’s biggest advocate. Prepare them to succeed and reap the benefits of a successful social presence for your business.
How do you prepare your community manager for success?