Arguably one of the most important aspects of creating a strong social presence starts with good community management. Granted, you want to create a loyal following, but how do you keep the community happy, engaging and coming back for more? Social media has become the go-to channel for customer care, making it vital for your brand’s social media efforts. Having someone that deals with the customers directly will help boost awareness and brand credibility. Typically, community managers connect with a community, answering business related queries and advocating an appropriate response. But what does regular day-to-day community management entail? We’ve asked some of our in-house community managers what their top do’s and don’ts are when it comes to community management. This is what they’ve had to say.

Tonality

Nothing kills the mood quite like a robotic response. The best route would be to check the community a few times daily and interact directly with your audience without autopilot ON, offering more substantial value to the user’s experience. We’ve found that whether you’re responding to the community or writing posts carefully crafted with the audience in mind, it’s wise to try and keep the content pushing the boundary. A little bit of cheek will of course not fly too well with all brands but taking calculated risks could offer a refreshing break from the norm. After all, social media should humanise the brand. While it’s good to stir the pot from time to time, just keep in mind that sarcasm and humour don’t always translate too well. When in doubt, ask a second, third, fourth opinion if you’re unsure of how the message will be received.

Dealing with negative feedback

Of course, there’s a difference between a negative comment and an ongoing mismanaged PR crisis, but both should be swiftly dealt with. We have an internal (and client specific) escalation plan in place to make the process as painless as possible for the client and their community. When things start getting out of control we have a manual of guidelines for each brand to tell us what to do. From petty theft at a shopping centre to larger scale accidents, we have a go-to response noted in the crisis response strategy. Once the problem goes beyond what the community manager can resolve, we escalate it to the client along with their contact details. The most important piece of advice we can give is to not try and ignore the issue. Whenever possible, it’s best to respond politely and do your best to turn the negative sentiment around by addressing the complaint and attempting to rectify it.

Response time

The response time should be as quick as possible with a few hours (at most) in between community checks. We cannot stress this enough: do not ignore negativity. It’s unlikely that if the customer took the time to complain on social media that they will leave the matter there. In fact, they might get even more enraged if they feel like their opinions don’t matter. Deleting comments is possibly the worst course of action you can take (unless the comment is offensive and against the community rules of engagement for the page). Try not to upset followers who reach out to express their annoyance by ignoring or deleting their comment.

You can’t always please everyone and community management isn’t any different. Community management is just another form of customer service where things go wrong, people complain, and you have to diffuse the situation as quickly and calmly as possible. The trick is to listen to the audience, learn from your mistakes and treat each comment, like or share with appreciation and they will return the sentiment.