As we find ourselves in a new academic year, landlords, accommodation operators, residence life roles and other teams not directly related to marketing all across the country prepare to welcome thousands of students. So, with branded bunting in place and edible treats galore, the hi-vis vests usher students onto their new campus and into their new homes, but when the roar of freshers dies down and the new norm kicks in, who’s managing these communities?
We know how often it falls to marketing teams to support with community curation but despite elements of recurring custom in the shape of returning students, how much of community management can actual be considered marketing? It seems the tally is split on this topic! What we do know after almost 15 years’ is that authentic community management comes from on the ground. Who knows community energy and engagement better than site teams?! And the great news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact, with the right toolkit it can become a fun and familiar daily task.
So, what actually is, community management?
Community management is the nurturing and management of brand loyalists and customers of your business. “Community” might suggest a single location but in reality, your community is spread out all over the internet.
As one of the largest go to platforms for online communities, here are a few quick stats that might surprise you about Facebook Groups:
- Facebook has 2.91 billion monthly active users! And that’s a jump of over 6% since 2021 showing the platform is still on the up and up.
- Facebook Stories continues to grow in popularity with 62% of users saying they plan use stories even more in the future.
- Facebook users spend an average of 19.6 hours every month on the platform – this comes in second only to YouTube where users spend a whopping 23.7 hours every month (substantially more than Instagram with just 11.2 hours per month)
- 1.8 billion people use Facebook Groups every month. Facebook is even investing in new Groups features including sub-groups within a Group, member awards and live chat events.
Don’t be fooled though thinking that community management isn’t important because it’s made up of smaller scale interactions because that simply isn’t the case. In fact, community management is one of the best, most impactful ways to manage your brand, keeping in mind that customers often take to social media to express concerns. With that in mind, although today we’re focusing on Facebook, online community groups could be on any of the following, and be aware, one single angry ‘voice’ speaks much louder than a collective of happy, content customers:
So, why do customers join online communities?
- For their voices to be heard and to feel valued.
- For inspiration! Ideas sharing is a huge part of many communities.
- For information. Many communities are a place where customers go for answers to questions about the brand.
- To be apart of something. A sense of unity and to feel like they are part of something bigger.
- To empower and support others.
- To interact and build relationships with other like-minded people with common interests.
- To access to behind-the-scene content and gain insight into the brand on a deeper level.
What can brands provide customers by doing this… and why?
- To let them know you are listening! Build a sense of trust and reassurance.
- To get to the heart of customer pain points and truly understand their needs.
- To unlock other interests and habits of your customers.
- To nurture your audience by rewarding them with exclusive content, tips, offers and competitions.
- To share expert knowledge and advice on topics you know your audience will appreciate.
In a nutshell brands that don’t have a community management plan are missing out on opportunities such as:
- Managing customer complaints (in private)
- Turning customers into loyal fans
- Getting valuable, raw customer feedback
The basics of online community management
Managing a community may feel overwhelming at first but when broken down into parts it’s much less daunting to a beginner. Here are the basics:
- Monitoring: Listening in on and tracking conversations that relate to your brand.
- Engaging: Keeping conversations alive and proactively engaging with customers, prospective customers, and influencers.
- Moderating: Weeding out comments and conversations that don’t add value and troubleshooting customer complaints.
- Measuring: Analysing how your brand is perceived and getting real, unfiltered feedback.
For a more detailed look at how to manage your community, download our toolkit
Community management Highlights
If you’re looking for answers as simple as “what is community management” and “how do I get started?” then look no further. The below Q&A should address some of the basics but for more detailed information and to make a personalised plan, then download our guide at the bottom of this page: Community management refers to how brands build engaged audiences around their products and services online. One great example is Airbnb who curate their community platform to enable Airbnb hosts to connect, get support and share their hosting experiences and knowledge.
What is the role of community management?
The role of community management is to build and maintain a brand’s audience, both on and offline. Community managers are responsible for engaging members through various channels like social media and in person meet-ups.
What does good community management involve?
- Setting and monitoring community guidelines
- Regularly engaging with members
- Maintaining consistent and authentic brand image
- Taking feedback from community members
- Creating brand ambassadors
- Building brand loyalty
What skills are required for good community management?
- Interpersonal skills
Getting started can be as simple as creating the Group and telling your customers about it, but if you’re still not sure, talk to us about a community you manage, or would like to curate as part of your brand – we’d love to hear from you!