Online Community Management: Building Better Relationships with Your Customers Online

March 2, 2015

Community Management

Is it time to think about community management for your business? Today, small businesses increasingly have social media marketing strategies, content marketing campaigns , and much more. But it’s important to remember that as your brand grows and your customers and audience become fans, that you’ll be developing a community around your business. Taking a proactive stance on community management and cultivating engagement is a mindset shift. You move from marketing to get people interested in your brand to finding ways to keep customers engaged on an ongoing basis. Here’s a closer look at how community management techniques can help you reach your business goals.

Goals: How You Approach Social Media Management and Marketing

Establishing goals for your social media marketing is an important step for choosing the right platforms, creating compelling content, and making meaningful connections. Your goals may include raising the visibility of your overall brand, marketing specific products, or driving conversions to your website or other strategic content.

It’s important to remember that these objectives are all focused on cultivating new relationships. But businesses also need a separate stream of goals that help them focus on developing strategies to promote engagement with the individuals who have already connected with their brand online. The same concept can be applied to any other form of digital marketing, from content development to video marketing.

Promoting Engagement is the Key to Community Management

The difference between marketing and community management is really about engagement. During the marketing phase, you’re helping new customers discover your brand and learn more about what you have to offer. Once the connection has been made, you need to show that you value the relationship.

Strategies for increasing engagement begin with a clear understanding of your audience’s most pressing needs. What problems or desires are driving them to engage with your brand? What value can you offer them? Work to start a conversation. This can be as simple as posting a question on social media or including a call to action for comments at the end of a blog post; it can also be as complex as developing Instagram or Pinterest campaigns designed to get them sharing photos on social media and having discussions around targeted topics.

Offering Value and Loyalty Promotion

Over time, your community and brand fans become one of your company’s most valuable assets. It’s important to think about how you can give back to them. Many larger brands come up with loyalty programs or offer exclusive content and discounts to people that sign up for their email newsletters or enroll in frequent shopper programs. There are technologies that can make these easy to manage.

But for even the smallest business, think about developing an email newsletter to anchor your core supporters around. What benefits can you offer to them that would be motivating? An obvious one is discounts and sales. Another might be access to content that’s closely related to your business’ core value proposition.

For example, if you own a roofing company and could provide a members-only webinar on steps homeowners can take to avoid ice dams, which would be a popular offering during the winter. Another strategy is giving your community advanced access to hot new product releases; for example, jewelry stores will often give their best customers the chance to purchase limited release items before they’re available to the general public.

Are you ready to explore whether a community management strategy is the right addition to your digital marketing mix? Contact Be Locally today to learn more about our services.

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