Community Management: An Essential Part of the Customer Experience
Ever sent a message to your favorite brand and gotten radio silence? It can be a little discouraging and, at worst, really frustrating if you’re having an issue with their product or service.
These days, many businesses use social media to build their brand story and reach a massive audience; it’s a great way to start conversations with consumers and have them engage directly with your brand.
However, as customers interact with you, bear in mind that they’re not necessarily thinking about which channel they’re communicating in; they’re thinking about your brand as a whole. They want an integrated, consistent experience, whether it’s over the phone, in person, or on social media.
Because of this, it's vitally important to keep up with these online conversations and respond in a timely manner — otherwise, rather than building strong relationships, you may end up with missed opportunities and upset customers.
That’s where community management comes in. Many successful brands depend on a person or team to monitor their social media accounts, respond to questions and comments, acknowledge consumer interactions, engage with partners, and stay on top of trends.
TOP 6 REASONS YOU NEED COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT
Here are a few important reasons why you should add a dedicated community manager to your team:
- It’s just good customer service. It’s a fact: Consumers expect the same customer service experience online as they would receive in person. According to Sprout Social’s The State of Social Media report, about two out of three consumers attribute a high level of importance to responsive customer service when it comes to creating a positive experience with a brand on social media. In real life, you would never wait for days to respond to a complaint or question — or completely ignore it. Unfortunately, without good community management, it can be easy to lose track of comments and feedback on social media, and your customer’s experience can lead to disappointment rather than delight.
- It makes you sound more authentic. Thoughtful, genuine online conversations are a great way to humanize your brand and show its personality instead of using canned responses, which can sound bot-generated and take away from your authenticity.
- It builds a personal connection. Engaging in meaningful conversations with consumers builds trust and loyalty and helps to create a positive dialogue.
- It allows you to shift the narrative. Instead of letting commenters control the conversation, you have the power to step in, clarify facts, and correct false statements if necessary.
- It keeps you relevant. An important part of a community manager’s job is to stay on top of social media trends. Being at the forefront of these conversations makes your brand appear savvy, modern, smart, and relatable.
- It literally increases your engagement metrics. When you comment on a comment, not only are you creating a dialogue with your customers, but you’re also boosting your engagement rate. Win-win!
Creating a great social media experience for your customers can have a huge impact on your bottom line: As a result of a positive experience with a brand or company, 70% of consumers are likely to develop a stronger bond with the brand, 78% are more willing to make a purchase, 77% would choose that brand over the competition, 76% would recommend the brand, and 72% would increase their spending with that brand (Source: Sprout Social The State of Social Media).
GREAT COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT AT WORK
Looking for ideas on how to engage with your customers on social media? Here are a few companies we’ve noticed doing an excellent job in their social channels.
- Why? They include a personalized response every time, regardless of whether a customer posts a question or just a simple comment.
- Why? They end all their tweets with their first name. Plus, they constantly reply to comments and are great about reaching out with next steps, whether it’s a phone number the customer should call or a link to DM.
- Why? They always try to be the first to respond to any member comments, and they’re not afraid to address anything: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
- Why? They do a great job of celebrating and commenting. Also, there isn’t one photo they’ve been tagged in that they haven’t liked!
CLIENT CASE STUDY: BOX TOPS FOR EDUCATION
One of our long-standing clients, Box Tops for Education, is a school fundraising program developed by General Mills that allows consumers to earn cash for their school when they purchase participating products. In 2019, Box Tops began a transition from a physical, “clip and redeem” program to a digital, app-based program; amidst these changes, their user sentiment score dipped to 76%.
What is user sentiment? It’s the emotion that customers feel as they engage with your brand — positive, neutral, or negative. Knowing where your customers fall on this spectrum at any given time is hugely important in understanding how to respond and interact with them.
In the fall of 2020, Box Tops asked our community management team to moderate and respond to questions and comments in their social and app channels in an effort to help customers feel more comfortable with the app, navigate the journey more easily, and earn more cash for schools.
We use Sprout Social Advanced Listening and Smart Inbox tools to monitor social channels and other top-viewed websites for mentions of Box Tops. The tools compile all these mentions into one location, noting demographic info and user sentiment for each one, which helps us respond to people in a timely manner with a like or a comment. In the case of customer service complaints, we can use this data to determine if it’s a one-time event or an ongoing issue. It also allows us to create a repository of FAQs that we can use to answer future questions and recommend new content across all of Box Tops’ communication touchpoints — including social, email, website, and app.
“Since we started working on community management for Box Tops, we have more insight into what their consumers want from the app and the program,” says Ingredient’s Social Media Coordinator, Ellie Fleming. “We’re able to turn that into new, relevant social content and are able to provide a more timely response to any issues that come along.”
We’ve used these insights, along with over two decades of experience working with Box Tops as a client, to create a more positive dialogue between the brand and its core audience — and Box Tops users are noticing. The proof is in the numbers: As of February 2021, Box Tops’ user sentiment score has risen to 85%.
Interested in exploring a community management plan that helps build trust and loyalty with your consumers? Give us a call, shoot us an email, or DM us on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We’ll be watching for you!