Social media is transforming the public sphere: More and more people have the opportunity to participate in discourse and express their opinions. This can be an advantage, but it also entails risks: Especially for communicators, it is therefore important to integrate a suitable community management strategy into their daily routine. Community management refers to the development, organisation and finally the supervision of a community. This can be classically analogue or also virtual, as in the case of social media.
In general, good community management requires more than just monitoring comments. In fact, it requires a solid foundation and creative strategy to create and maintain a purposeful community. As this means a lot of work, it is important that communicators approach the task with a clear structure. Here isour step-by-step guide:
Set a precise goal. Ask yourself: What do you want to achieve with your community management? Increase traffic to your website, attract (new) customers or retain them? Sell products and services or increase brand awareness? Our tip: The more precisely you define the goal, the better. This will make it easier for you to define your target group in step 2.
Define your target group precisely and create a target persona that is described according to demographic criteria such as gender, age, educational standard and profession as well as according to their habits, interests and needs. Above all, ask yourself: Which content does the target group react positively to and with which content do they interact at all? In order to generate interest with the posts and to prepare and play out exciting content on a daily basis.
The selection of the right platform is closely related to the target group. Private platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are mainly relevant for the B2C sector, while Xing and LinkedIn as business networks are used more in the B2B sector. If you deal with the same topic on different platforms, you have to consider the target group-specific address and differentiate the type of content.
The platform is ready – now comes perhaps the most relevant step for communicators: measuring success. The focus here should be on KPIs such as engagement, traffic or conversion rate; the sheer number of community members is not necessarily decisive. A guideline, which is created in cooperation with all relevant company departments, defines the role of the community manager, the wording, the tone of voice and coordination processes.
The daily routine begins. This includes the daily interaction with the community, i.e. a mix of listening closely, being quick and pointing the way. In order not to lose orientation, the work of every community manager should be based on a structured concept. Other pillars concern the topicality of your topics as well as the personal approach to your community. Finally, it is also a matter of responding quickly and flexibly to enquiries of all kinds.
As in PR, it is also indispensable for managing a social community: the editorial plan. It forces you to post regularly and find an optimal balance. Why is this important? Quite simply: because regularity pays into the social media algorithm. It also encourages interest from the community in the form of interactions. Community managers are impulse generators and moderators, for example by running polls, posting videos or live streams.
Sensitise yourself to undertones and nuances by listening closely within the community to develop a sense for them. Communicate based on the values and tone of your organization and allow for negativity by responding to criticism.
Use appropriate tools to keep track and avoid shitstorms in time. Also, if the worst comes to the worst, prepare a concept that takes care of crisis management. Rule of thumb is reaction – no-go is silence!
Community management means work. Offer your community added value and adjust your social media strategy regularly. Monitor your measures and always work on a sound basis. This way, nothing stands in the way of your success as a community manager and a growing community!
As you see, with the right strategy, good community management is not witchcraft. With this in mind, have fun designing, monitoring, social listening, liking, sharing and commenting.
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