Properly integrating search, social, and content marketing will increase the odds that your digital marketing strategy will succeed. An effective community manager will help engage your followers/customers, amplify the visibility of your content, and drive more traffic to that content, sending social signals to search engines that your website is important, popular, or authoritative.
What are the key elements of a truly successful community management strategy? Here are seven basic elements of community management for marketers.
1. Know What You're Trying to Accomplish
As with any marketing strategy you must first identify your goals.
Because some might be quick to jump to a goal such as increasing your number of Twitter followers by 67 percent, you should discuss exactly what this means.
Don't focus just on quantity. Focus on the quality of your online community. Determine what business problem you can help your community solve and measure true engagement and interaction with your community.
2. Bite Off Only What You Can Chew
One of the biggest crimes a community manager can commit is trying to spread themselves too far or be too much to too many people.
After determining who your audience is and what they care about, you will be able to better select which social channels, forums or other sources will be the best place to interact with them.
Start small. Begin building your community in a meaningful way on a select number of channels and then create a roadmap for growth.
3. Show Dedication
Community management is no easy undertaking. It requires constant attention and adaptability.
Rachel King, former Adobe senior community manager, was once quoted as saying "When you're a community manager, you're on 24/7. Good or bad, something huge can happen at any time, and when it does, social is the first place it hits."
This means not only dedicating time to creating and following a process to ensure you take advantage of every opportunity to connect, but making yourself available whenever needed to field questions or address concerns.
4. Be a People Person
If you don't consider yourself to be a "people person," then community management may not be the right fit for you.
Consider your online persona as an extension of your real life.
As the face of your brand (or client's brands) it's important that you be conversational, approachable, rational, and quick to jump in and help.
5. Always Measure Success & Failure
Let's face it; there will be times when you knock it out of the park, and times when you strike out. It's important that you accept that this will happen and that you learn how to evolve your strategy in the future.
Being able to pinpoint the cause of your success or failure is incredibly helpful in determining a long-term strategy.
6. Empower Your Audience
A successful online community will contain mostly user-generated content.
If your social profiles consist mainly of links to your content, news you have and don't entice any interaction, you're in trouble. You'll have outspoken members and those that take a little more prodding.
Enable your community to speak up by enticing them with questions and content that inspire a reaction.
7. Storytelling Helps You Relate to Your Audience
People love getting lost in a story. It helps paint a picture of a situation and makes them feel like it is something they have or could experience.
During his six years at Ford, Scott Monty provided a stellar example of how an organization can take storytelling to the next level.
One of Monty's best pieces of advice is that people love being entertained and that if you have a good product your customers will tell your story for you. Sometimes it just might take a little extra encouragement.