Over the years, social media has become people’s primary method of communication, entertainment, and even shopping. It’s a little known fact that social media has changed the way consumers shop, and the way businesses advertise, and while brand recognize the importance of reach and engagement on social media, many marketers seem to be missing the value of dedicating resources to community management on their brand social media channels.
Before social media, when consumers had questions about products and services they went in-store, made calls into customer service lines, or went on websites to use a company’s “live chat” feature. But as consumer behaviour has changed, so has the way consumers look for information.
Individuals now look to social media for answers from companies, but between chatbots who have limited responses and companies who have a slow response time, there is a lot of room for disappointment. Companies need to look at social media as not just an advertising tool, but also as a customer service tool – a line of communication that allows them to speak directly to customers, educate them and engage them – in turn selling to them.
In addition to using social media as a customer service tool, companies should also be using social media as a conversational tool. Companies need to start using the comment sections of their posts as an opportunity to engage with users and tell their own brand stories. While this can be as simple as thanking users for positive comments, there’s also an opportunity to use brand voice as a method of further entertaining and engaging users. (Think Wendy’s famous clap backs for example)
A more recent example of a brand that could have applied good community management to “win” social media, was Tim Horton’s recent tweet offering Megan Markle and Prince Harry free coffee for life. This tweet received a lot of hate. Instead of embracing the hate or using it as an opportunity to open a dialogue with users, Tim Horton’s remained silent.
A brand can manage a crisis with humility and acknowledge their mistake by communicating with their audiences and acknowledging errors or any inaccurate information. Community management is not about pleasing everyone or responding to every message but giving brands the opportunity to converse with consumers and hear their stories.
Amanda Carreiro is the Senior Digital Content Manager at ruckus Digital.
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