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Today, social media is a vital part of conducting business. As an online community manager for a business, you likely connect with customers and get feedback through websites and other online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. But you also need to know how to manage activities and discussions that take place online. Discover the following five tips for keeping the peace in an online community.

Practice the Traits of a Good Community Manager

A community manager is a leader, content developer, moderator, and advocate. This individual understands that not all people can censor themselves well online, so show empathy for members and resolve conflicts in a positive way. In addition, media managers need great verbal and written communication skills. As a community manager, above all, you find ways to help people.

When looking for a community manager, keep the following questions in mind:

  • Does this person understand and use social networking?
  • Does this person show a true interest in your company and know how to connect with clients?
  • Is this individual professional and respectful at all times?
  • Are others naturally drawn to this person?
  • Will this individual offer new ideas to grow your site?

The community manager is the face, so to speak, that your clients and customers see every time they go to your website or look at Facebook or other social media sites. Your company’s or brand name should pop-up every time someone checks their social accounts. A good community manager constantly keeps your name and product in front of the public. So, choose this individual carefully and the company’s growth will follow.

Understand That Community Managers Set the Rules

A community manager sets the rules and guidelines for customer interaction. Always use online identity verification and never let comments post without a name so that you can contact someone to respond to questions or criticisms. By guiding and checking the online posts, you can build brand loyalty.

Background checks are great tools to help you make sure the people you engage with are who they say they are. In today’s world, especially online, false identities are easy to create. With a public records search, you know much more about a person even if you only communicate online. Your reputation depends on what posts online about your company so make sure you check out your community members as needed.

Set online community rules and post them. As a community manager, don’t fear issuing warnings or banning people who abuse the community rules. Handling customers properly is the key to maintaining a strong online community.

If required to set up an online forum, always lay the ground rules beforehand and make sure the participants agree to follow these guidelines. Keep track and limit the time of discussion so no one goes off the track. Everyone needs a chance to take part in the discussion and be sure to defend any personal attacks as that type of talk is never proper.

Welcome Members of the Community

Social media platforms can act as first impressions for your company. Welcome new members with a friendly and helpful atmosphere so that they enjoy returning to these platforms.

When you’re working with forums, introduce new members to current ones. Start conversations and help members take part in the discussions. Always act in the best interest of your members by handling any complaints promptly and sharing concerns with the correct person or department. Keep all information about your services or products up-to-date.

One of the top reasons people log onto your website is for answers to questions. Being a resource means responding in a timely manner, even if you don’t know the answer yet. This tells visitors you’re working on it. No response gives an attitude of not caring and you never want the community to think that. Keep your notifications turned on to let you know there is a new post. And, make sure to always post useful information like tips, links to other articles, and free resources.

Track and Analyze Engagement

Measure your social media engagement by using tools such as Google Analytics. These tools track community members’ habits and preferences and show traffic patterns, the number of visitors, and how long each person stays on your pages. Discover your most popular content and decide what topics to drop.

Find out where your members come from through backlinks to your pages from other blogs or websites. Notice which days and times get the most visits and which get the least. Track what keywords land the most new members. This information can show the success of your social media campaigns and activities.

Remember, that although measuring is part of the community manager’s position, enjoying the community and wanting the best for customers takes precedence over everything else. Success follows when others feel truly engaged with your product and that means talking about your business on all fronts of social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the other sites you can use to promote your product. And don’t forget to retweet the positive things others say about the company or product.

Know How You’ll Handle Negativity Before It Occurs

Dealing with negative comments is part of the job, too. You’ll always meet people who don’t like your company or product, but some may criticize to help you fix flaws. Read every comment, then figure out which ones need a response. Discuss responses with your staff before you post and never respond with anger. Learn the difference between people who try to help you succeed and people who only want to create drama. Stay neutral and always be honest. By handling negativity properly, you further grow in your community.

More and more people express themselves through online communities every day. A good community manager is friendly, creative, responsive, and helpful. Your job is to reach new people by widening your online audience. Expanding your online community takes time and work. Staying engaged each and every day is the community manager’s job, keeping communication lines constantly open, listening to opinions, and passing information along to those that effect change.

Image via Flickr by clasesdeperiodismo 

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