What Is Community Management on Social Media? (2024)

Social Media Marketing
What Is Community Management on Social Media? (2024)
Article by Szabolcs Szecsei
Last Updated: June 19, 2024

Many business owners may roll their eyes when they hear the phrase “community,” which can sound like another made-up marketing buzzword. However, once you actively get involved in community management via social media, you quickly realize that it’s more than just a mere fad but an excellent way to add more value to your brand and customer interactions.

According to data from TINT, 76.6% of internet users wish their favorite brand had an online community. That’s a lot of untapped potential, so how can you effectively leverage these hidden opportunities? We asked our marketing experts to help us answer that question — and more.

What Is Community Management on Social Media?

Social media community management is the process of creating a vibrant and unique community of a brand, the team that works for it, its customers, and partners on social media, where they can all connect, share experiences, and insights, and build relationships along the way.

What makes social media community management so important? Why should you care about it? Before the Internet, the business world communication was mostly a one-way road, with brands pushing generic marketing ads to audiences and hoping for the best. Customer interaction and feedback was scarce, and buyers mostly cared about prices.

However, we live in a digital world now, which has opened countless new possibilities. We’ve noticed a huge shift in buyers’ behavior, which has led to an increased interest in companies’ values and mission and the creation of vibrant communities on brands’ social platforms.

In other words, community management is all about enabling audiences and brands to interact with each other. It makes consumers feel valued and heard, building brand trust and credibility in the process.

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The Benefits of Social Media Community Management

One of the most significant benefits of social media community management is the fact that it’s probably the simplest form of community management, especially if you’ve already built branded social channels with a solid following.

According to experts, Facebook is one of the best platforms to start an online community, as Facebook groups had a total of over 1.8 billion users in 2023.

Robust social media community management allows you to:

  • Gather direct ideas and get timely feedback from your target audience and customers.
  • Provide quick support for customers and fans.
  • Boost product and brand awareness within your target audience.
  • Better understand the expectations and preferences of your customers, enabling you to create more tailored products, services, and even marketing campaigns.
  • Build meaningful relationships between your brand and customers.
  • Boost customer loyalty, conversions, and sales.
  • Create a sense of belonging, going beyond simply offering a service or a product.

Developing a Community Management Strategy

Seasoned experts at social media agencies will tell you that you can’t just create a Facebook group, invite your brand’s followers and hope for the best. Creating a community, whether you want to do it with the help of an external agency, on your own, or with the help of white-label social media services, takes time and planning.

Below, we highlight some of the basic steps involved.

1. Set Your Objectives

You need to define the primary objectives you want to reach with your community management strategy. Do you want to focus on increasing brand awareness, boosting engagement, providing better customer support, gathering user feedback for further product development, or just build a loyal community of brand advocates?

Or you may wish to drive more traffic to your website and get the word out of your latest updates, services, and products. These are just a few examples, and your objectives will most likely be different, depending on your project or brand.

Still, defining what you want to achieve with your community helps lay down the foundation for your strategy, influencing the platform you choose, the kind of content you want to push there, and more.

2. Pinpoint Your Audience

Just like in the case of traditional digital marketing strategies, you need to know who you are targeting with your community and what their concerns, pain points, and preferences are. You can start by gathering data about your current target audience or demographics. Who are they, what their values are, how do they interact with brands, and which social channels are they the most active on? What are their challenges and needs? How can becoming a part of your online community help them?

Once you have the necessary data, use it to determine your most effective way of communicating with them on the most popular social platform.

3. Opt for the Right Channel

As we discussed earlier, you need to choose the right social channel for you and start building a community there. For the most part, Facebook is your best bet for creating the most comprehensive and immersive experience, as you can create brand pages, dedicated groups, and group chats.

[Source: TechCrunch]

However, this doesn’t mean that Facebook will be the right choice for you. As such, consider the following factors:

  • Audience preferences: Make sure that the platform you use aligns with the ways your target audience currently likes to communicate. If you are after a younger crowd, you may want to build a community on TikTok, but if you want to create a professional circle, LinkedIn will be more suitable.
  • Type of interaction and features: Do you want to enable your community to engage with you in real-time or are you looking for a more conservative approach? Instagram and Facebook, for example, are great options for real-time engagement.
  • Control: The amount of control you have can also influence the platform you choose. For example, if you want total control over what’s happening, you may reach out to a development company and discuss hosting a community on your own site. This way, you’ll have significantly more control over the way you interact with your audience than you would do on social media.

4. Target Setting

Now, set your targets which should flow naturally from your main objectives. If your primary goal was boosting engagement, you may set a goal of increasing the average number of comments on your social posts by 10% over the course of three months. The key here is to be realistic, and to give your community time to become active.

The best way to go about this is to take a closer look at industry benchmarks by examining similar communities online to get a better understanding of the dynamics, baselines, and achievable goals. On that note, it’s best to take a slower approach while taking smaller steps. Building a vibrant community takes effort and time. Set smaller, achievable goals instead of pompous objectives, as they will most probably discourage you and hinder your progress.

5. Engage Regularly

There’s no social media community management without regular posting and engagement. This is what keeps your community engaged and sustains their interest. Creating content calendars to share a steady stream of posts is a great idea that will keep you on the right track.

Based on your goals and the type of community you’re trying to build, you can post articles and blogs, spark conversations with thought-provoking posts, or host quizzes and polls. You may also organize giveaways and contests to encourage your followers to actively participate in the community. Posting regularly also helps you remain visible in the social media channel’s feed.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t just post, but interact with your followers too. Show them that you’re listening by liking comments, upvoting valuable posts, and addressing any concerns and questions.

You can also follow back your most loyal brand advocates and interact with their content regularly. Although a tiny gesture, it can go a long way in showing that you care and could strengthen their relationship with your brand.

Remember, active community engagement makes your members feel valued and gives you more opportunities to understand their challenges, preferences, and needs.

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6. Track the Results

Measuring the efficiency of your community management strategy enables you to see whether your current tactics work or need tweaking. On that note, don’t get overwhelmed and carried away by data. Numbers can’t always capture the community’s spirit, and creating a vibrant group always takes time, so focus on the long haul.

Still, there are some great ways to track your progress. For starters, social listening includes keeping a closer eye on your social channels and other platforms to see what people are saying about your products, services, and your brand. This usually involves tracking any discussions, mentions or keywords related to your or your competitors to know whether your efforts in building a community are paying off.

Social Sprout
[Source: Social Sprout]

You can also use platform analytics, or built-in analytics tools like Facebook Analytics or Instagram Insights to gain data directly from the platforms. Third-party analytics tools can also offer a more in-depth look, i.e., more insights and data. Sprout Social, Sendible, and Hootsuite all offer excellent social media management tools that provide essential data to help you tweak your strategy to maximize its potential.

Social Community Management Best Practices

Before we conclude the article, here are a few effective tips for maximizing the potential of your community management efforts on social media.

Create Clear Guidelines

If you have your own group, set concrete guidelines for contributors and members, covering everything from tone of voice, allowed content types, commenting rules, and disagreement handling. Having a clear set of rules helps you maintain a healthy and safe environment where everybody can feel safe to contribute and engage.

Be Transparent

Transparency can go a long way so be as honest and authentic as you can when you interact with community members. Don’t just address positive comments and posts. React to negative feedback and other challenges as well. Acknowledge any mistakes and shortcomings when they happen. This helps you build more trust and stronger audience relationships.

[Source: X.com]

Take Advantage of Technology

Use live chats, polls, streaming, or other platform-related advancements to your advantage. Social media is constantly evolving and offers new features to improve engagement and optimize your workflow. Embrace trends and new advancements to maximize engagement and add value to your posts.

Encourage Interaction and Personalize Your Interactions

A thriving community is all about interaction, and not just between the brand and the audience. According to Hellen Katherine, MG Empower’s Senior Marketing Manager, brands should focus on sparking conversations between consumers through acting as a facilitator of these interactions.

On the other hand, you also need to put in some work and leave generic responses to rest. Running a community presents a great opportunity for your brand to shine via interactions. Post, reply, like, react to interactions, using your brand’s tone of voice, highlighting that there are real people behind the brand’s profile. Try sharing behind-the-scenes footage, staff stories and more to truly humanize your brand.

Keep a Watchful Eye

Appreciate your community members. Show that you value their commitment and time. Recognize and reward participation by welcoming each member personally and acknowledge contributions via special little gifts or mentions.

Responding promptly is also crucial to manage a community effectively. Do your best to address messages, comments, and questions as soon as you can as it shows that you’re attentive and care about what your followers have to say. Being prompt may also increase the chance of extending interactions with subsequent responses and allows you to resolve any issues before they can get out of hand.

Another valuable tip is to celebrate achievements both for your brand and your members. From the community’s anniversary through individual member achievements, to reaching a specific number of followers, mentioning these moments can strengthen the sense of belonging and improve the connection between your brand and your audience.

Keep Your Brand Voice Consistent

Humanizing your brand is important, but you can’t afford to get out of character. Maintain the voice of your brand when engaging with the community, as this is what makes you unique and identifiable to the entire community. If you have a more laid-back tone, for example, it should be reflected in all your posts, comments, DM response, and so on.

Learn Continuously

Like most aspects of the digital world, communities and their management also evolve. Embrace useful trends, be open to new ideas and best practices, and regularly examine where you can improve your strategy. Having a proactive approach by looking at industry trends, social media algorithm changes, and shifting audience preferences can help you update your tactics if needed to keep the community engaged.

Lego: A Perfect Example of Community Management Done Right

Lego is a perfect example of a brand that implements community management effectively. Its Lego IDEAS platform enables fans to submit their own designs and receive votes by the community. The winning designs have a good chance of becoming official Lego toy sets.

[Source: Lego IDEAS]

The brand is also active regarding organizing workshops and other live events held in its stores, which gives community members a chance to meet each other in-person and participate in building challenges and other fun activities.

Thanks to the Adults Fans of Lego, or AFOLS Facebook Group, the company has expanded its reach and has gained even more insights to brainstorm new product ideas.

In addition to all these efforts, the toy maker also has a massive social presence on all major channels, where fans can interact with the brand via polls, collection showcases, themed challenges, and more.

Sure, not all businesses have Lego’s budget, nor its popularity, but this example illustrates that even the biggest brands know just how important it is to engage with customers and brand ambassadors any way possible. Fortunately, a lot of Lego’s tactics and challenges can be replicated for smaller brands too, using just one platform.

Social Media Community Management Takeaways

Social media community management holds immense value for brands. Whether you’re outsourcing your social media marketing or doing it in-house, setting up a solid community management strategy can provide you with valuable insights, build trust, credibility, and above all, loyalty within your audience circle.

However, don’t forget that building a vibrant community isn’t something that will happen overnight. Put in the work, be active, don’t be impatient, and while you’re at it, make sure to have fun during the process of building your brand’s social presence.

Social Media Community Management FAQs

Can you do community management with only social media?

You can implement an effective community management strategy by using social media only. As a matter of fact, most social marketers agree that even just prioritizing Facebook can help you achieve your goals. The key to success is having a consistent brand voice, posting regularly, aiming to spark conversations with and between your audience, while addressing their reactions, comments, and messages promptly.

Should you host offline events?

It’s not necessary to host offline, real-life events, but they can instill a stronger sense of belonging in your community. If applicable, consider organizing a type of brand activation that aligns with your profile the most, and turn your online community into a circle of people who connect on all levels.

Which is the best social channel for community management?

As mentioned above, Facebook has the best features to double as an all-in-one community platform, as you can create a group, where you can post, comment, stream, and more. However, you can also use X, Instagram, and TikTok to build a community and get closer to your followers.

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