Community management: The link between users and the company

Almost everyone has heard the saying “The customer is king”. Therefore, guaranteeing the highest possible level of customer satisfaction is a top priority for many companies. However, there is now more to it than just offering a flawless product and good service, because with the increasing popularity of social media, customers* also want to be both informed and entertained on these channels. To ensure this, you need not only a good social media manager, but also skilled community management.


What are Community Manager*inside?

The job of a good community manager is to look after the virtual community on the various social media channels, the website and, if necessary, in forums. The community managers act as a link between the company and users and ensure that questions are answered and that netiquette is observed.


What are the tasks?

The task of the community manager is to cultivate and maintain the relationship between users and the company. They have to interact with the community, react to comments and posts, intervene in discussions and, in case of doubt, intervene if a user goes overboard. Community managers should meet users at eye level and adapt their language to the respective target group.

Essentially, the task of the community manager consists of four areas of responsibility:

1. member generation: community managers try to gain more members together with social media managers. Outstanding community managers manage to ensure that many users follow the site not because of the product or the brand, but because of the answers, which are convincing, for example, through quick-wittedness.

2. engagement:another task of community managers is to encourage users and promote dialog. An account where nothing happens quickly becomes boring for many users. Community managers should therefore ensure that there is as much interaction as possible on the channels.

3. monitoring:community managers also need to keep an eye on comments and discussions that may not require a response at first glance. In this way, community managers can prevent possible shitstorms at an early stage and ensure that netiquette is adhered to.

4. Interface within the company: As a community manager, it is not only important to respond to customer questions, but also to support the corporate identity of the company. For example, community managers can respond to current campaigns.


What is the difference between Community Managers and Social Media Managers?

Community management is a subarea of social media management. However, one should not make the mistake of confusing social media managers and community managers. The main task of social media managers is to develop a social media strategy, create content and post it. Community managers, on the other hand, have nothing to do with this, but are exclusively concerned with communication with users. However, it is advisable that community managers and social media managers work closely together and use a uniform language, for example.

Community managers have the task of communicating with the community.


With what comments get it Community Managers have to deal with?

A distinction must be made between positive and negative comments. Positive posts include, for example, praise for the company, its service or one of its products. The task of the community managers is to like such posts and, if necessary, to comment on them with a thank you. Creative comments are also considered positive, even if they may criticize the company in a (humorous) way. Content managers can then use such posts as a showcase to demonstrate that the company can handle criticism or even laugh at itself.

Otherwise, in the case of dissatisfied users, we will help them as best and as quickly as possible and try to solve the problem. If users present false facts, these should be set right, but without lecturing. However, if users display an aggressive tone of voice or are even trolls, it is important for community managers not to respond to the discussion, but to monitor it, point out the netiquette and take further steps if necessary. Community managers must also intervene in cases of trademark and copyright infringement or violation of legal aspects such as pornography, discrimination and personal rights, contact the users and delete the content as appropriate.


What are the Advantages of Community Managers?

Although not all companies have yet recognized the benefits of community managers, there are good reasons to hire one. Users want to interact with companies and, especially when they have questions, they expect an answer and preferably a direct one. Since community managers have an overview of all channels, they can ensure this. Especially in the event of a shitstorm, it is important that someone keeps track and de-escalates. In addition, community managers can contribute to positively influencing the company’s reputation with contributions, for example by providing witty but at the same time competent answers.


What are the challenges in community management?

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges in community management is staying on top of things and being fast. This is especially important for large companies with a lot of traffic or after a provocative campaign. On the one hand, community managers must be aware that they are not acting as themselves but for the company, which means that the company’s opinion must also be communicated to the outside world.

In addition, it is important to pay attention to the choice of words and the target audience. Depending on the situation, community managers may have to adapt their language, but without ever losing their composure, even when provoked. Furthermore, the answers should be individual and of course correct in content. Users notice when community managers only ever copy and paste, which can cost them sympathy. In addition, community managers need to recognize the difference between dissatisfied customers and a troll, as they need to be dealt with differently.


Tips for good community management

  1. They don’t always have to be serious answers. While it’s important to answer questions seriously and correctly, community managers can always include puns, gifs, or memes that fit the situation.
  1. Accept feedback. As a community manager, you are close to your customers and learn a lot about what they want. This can help companies further and ideally even lead to new products.
  1. Benefit from discussions. As community managers, it is also worthwhile to think outside the box and pick up on current discussions. Humorous side blows against competitors are also permitted, as long as they do not go below the belt.
  1. Share pictures from fans. When fans make the effort and send pictures or elaborate posts, this should be rewarded, including through likes and shares. This strengthens the bond with the company.
  1. Consistent language and positions. If there are several community managers in the company, it is important that they coordinate and act in a uniform manner.
  1. Be quick. Users expect quick answers. If they have to wait too long, in the worst case they feel they are not being taken seriously and have a bad image of the company. Especially in the case of false assumptions and shitstorms, it is also important to react quickly to prevent them from spreading.
  1. Netiquette. Clear rules should be set in advance as to which contributions are okay and which are not tolerable. These rules should also be clearly communicated to the users.
  1. Keep calm. The task of the community managers is to moderate and de-escalate. Therefore, community managers should always use an appropriate tone and not let themselves be provoked or even insult or expose the user. Instead, customers should always be taken seriously with their suggestions and questions.
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