The three pillars of successful social media communities lie in great content, active engagement, and professional community management. Building the content which drives your message, products or services is essential for growing your ‘fan’ base. The problem comes in when your social media audience start interacting with your page as many business owners don’t understand what to do next.
Ignoring the engagement on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube page is a dire mistake. Your audience may grow disillusioned with your business or brand and do one of two things. Firstly, they can leave a scathing review or comment on your page which places your brand in a bad light, or they simply unfollow, unsubscribe or unlike your page. The former action can still be turned around and the customer can be retained but the latter is a total loss and the chances of you gaining that person’s trust again is little to none.
- Never ignore comments, questions, or complaints
- Always steer negative or on-going conversations off-line and onto email or a call
- Never use foul language, insult users, or respond sarcastically
- If you say you will follow up with someone, do it
- Ensure you respond as soon as possible and within 24 hours if possible
- Nurture your community – thank them for compliments or well wishes
- Encourage engagement without annoying your followers
- If you cannot initiate discussions, ensure you don’t ignore them
- Avoid discussions on religion, politics, or other sensitive issues
- Never respond in an unprofessional manner, be cognisant of your tone
- Address bad press head-on and avoid sticking your head in the sand
- Honest responses are the best
- Avoid copy and paste answers
- Always be respectful in replies
- Have a crisis communication strategy in place
The worst mistake one could make is to miss conversion opportunities. If a follower or subscriber asks about a specific product or service, ensure you reply in time and with enough information to satisfy their query. Such conversations almost always end in a positive manner and can encourage buying behaviour or leaving a positive review.
Eventually, if you are doing a stellar job – your followers and subscribers will become brand custodians and will refer your business or page when possible. This is the type of social media community any brand or business should strive for. This kind of community is priceless.
If you don’t have the time to manage your social media community, consider employing a social media community manager or outsourcing this aspect to a reputable agency. If you employ a third party, ensure they understand your business and brand 100% before entrusting them with your community.