Community Management sure did change a lot in 2015. Two major trends were identified in the B2B and B2C social landscape:
The Shift in B2C Social Customer Service
Brands big and small realised quickly that providing exceptional social customer service could land them with some fabulous PR, brand advocates and a boost in brand image to boot
1 in 3 users prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone, according to research conducted by Neilson.
Furthermore, 32% of social customers expect a response to a social complaint within 30 minutes, and 42% expect a response within 60 minutes, according to one piece of research. What’s more, 40% of unresolved social complaints resulted in phone calls.
Social Media platforms such as Facebook have seen this, and have adapted to the growing trend by placing the onus on brands by broadcasting how long customers can expect to wait before receiving a response from a representative. Talk about putting the pressure on!
B2B Communities Became Customer Forums
Think Community Management is just for B2C? Think again. A shift from traditional use of forums to users going straight to the source where there query is more likely to be answered can be seen to have developed over the past several years.
Brand social feeds also developed into places where customers could showcase success using the product or service, providing brands with a perfect opportunity to interact and boost sentiment on a human level.
A great example of this can be seen on the SAP Community Network, with dedicated Twitter and Facebook pages dedicated to the users of SCN software solutions brand. The network is cited as “the most extensive use to date of social media by a corporation,” and users are encouraged to engage and invest in the common interest of the product.
A New Approach to Community Management in 2016
We all know personalisation is key to winning the support and business of new and existing customers; so much so that 52% of marketers see content personalisation as critical to their digital strategies. In 2016, personalisation will become integral to Community Management, with marketers using tools to work smarter, not harder. Having access to a wealth of knowledge on your social community – when they’re most active, their Klout score, and identifying users on each platform to actively help with your expertise – can be hugely beneficial on the road to improving the relationship between your brand and your social community.
Having a go-to social media monitoring tool is just the beginning of advanced Community Management for brands.
We’ve teamed up with Andrew Caravella, VP of Marketing at Sprout Social, to provide some tips on how businesses of any size can leverage their social communities to build brand advocacy, increase lead generation and become leaders within their market.
Look for Opportunities to Engage
Replying to public and private messages is at the heart of community management, but finding opportunities to enhance relationships with your social following can be the difference between whether that followers buys from you or not.
Look for opportunities to engage outside of your brand’s social media accounts. A quick search on Twitter with some clever keywords can identify users who are looking for answers on a particular subject.
“When seeking out these relevant conversations and communities, approach them as a participant, not a salesperson,” says Andrew.
“To stay top of mind for your current followers and reach new audiences, make sure your brand publishes helpful, timely and relevant content on a regular schedule that enables you to take advantage of trending topics and pertinent current events.”
The graph above displays the benefits of real-time social media engagement according to marketers in the United Kingdom in 2014. In 2014, 76 percent of respondents reported "increased audience engagement" as a benefit of real-time social engagement, making it an extremely important component to any community management strategy.
“Don’t shy away from hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—hashtags help amalgamate relevant content and can increase your reach to people with similar interests.”
And last but not least, remember to nurture your existing social community as you seek to increase it: “Personalise your messages, thank those who share your content, and make sure to regularly
engage with the people who make up your audience,” Andrew advises.
50% of marketers use influencer marketing to generate leads and sales. Influencers can be exceptionally beneficial when it comes to the online sentiment of your brand.
This group should consist of industry professionals and customers who have a large following on their respective social media platforms.
In 2013 Deloitte found that a 30% increase in positive tweets led to, on average, 4 times as many sales as a 30% increase in traditional marketing spend.
Ensure you have a criteria for what your brand defines as an ‘influencer’ before approaching those who had can to increase amplification for your brand: “Consider how active they are on your brand’s key networks, how often they engage with their audience, their leadership within their industry or community and if they have an authentic appreciation for your brand or products,” recommends Andrew.
The effects of a highly-organised group of influencers can prove wonders for brands on social, as Andrew points out: “An engaged community of advocates, which might include employees, customers and thought leaders, will give your brand more credibility as well as access to a larger social audience, including more potential leads and customers. “When it comes to influencer marketing, relationships matter - make sure you develop a mutually beneficial, authentic relationship with influencers so that both parties reap the benefits.”
Introduce Social Listening into the mix
Did you know that 30% of tweets mentioning your company don’t include your official Twitter handle? Furthermore, only 9% of tweets are actually directed at your brand, meaning that your brand could be missing a huge opportunity to source new followers for your community.
Marketers can expect social listening to become an integral part of their social media strategies in 2016, adding a new level to their community management. Social listening is still in its infancy, with studies showing that only 42% of businesses use it to learn more about their customers.
But how exactly can social listening be used to build better social communities and build brand image?
“While social media monitoring enables you to track and respond to individual messages from your community, social listening gives you a bird’s eye view of when, how and why people talk about your brand,” Andrew says.
Measuring what your customers are saying online can be hugely beneficial and can help social media marketers provide better services, which can lead to a decrease in negative sentiment towards their brands on social media.
“Whether you are running a one-time campaign or want to use all-time insights to inform strategic decision-making, determining success is a critical step.”
Luckily, there are some great tools to help aid this: “Sprout Social’s Trends and Twitter Listening reports can help you do just that. The Trends Report surfaces data on trends over time, such as topics, hashtags and users frequently mentioned with your brand in a given time period.
Andrew continues: “The report also allows you to see the people who most commonly talk about you, giving you valuable insights into potential brand advocates and influencers. The recently released Twitter Listening report enables you to monitor and analyse campaigns, measure keyword effectiveness and benchmark against competitors by tracking share of voice on social.”
With even the most robust plan in place, a disgruntled customer can still pop up at any time to make waves among your social following. Social listening and monitoring brand sentiment play a big part in avoiding such situations, but how they are dealt with will ultimately be the decider on whether the customer will look for a similar product elsewhere.
Luckily, using the seven tips listed in the infographic below, brands can decrease the chances of a social media crisis.
Click the image for the full version.
If you'd like more information on how to transform your social community into brand advocates and customers, we're on hand to help. Get in touch with our social team for more information.