The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

The Community Manager

leave a comment »


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The role of Community Manager is becoming more and more prevalent. As businesses establish their social presence they begin to link it with their overarching brand and marketing strategies. So what should the Community Manager do?

For me the key word here is Community. I’ve banged on before about the importance of Social Networking above Social Media and the irrelevance of numbers in Social Media. A community illustrates this perfectly. The definition of Community is (according to Meriam-Webster):

1: unified body of individuals: as a : statecommonwealth b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location d : a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society e : a group linked by a common policyf : a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests g : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society 
2: society at large
3a : joint ownership or participation b : common character : likeness <community of interests>c : social activity : fellowshipd : a social state or condition
The emphasis here is about common interest. To be meaningful that common interest has to be you/your brand/your beliefs. This is very difficult to achieve but some brands have been successful. They have created a sentiment about what they do which is very powerful. In the UK consider Marks and Spencer. When I was growing up I could have believed that this was a nationalised industry; so passionate were those people around me about its activities and trusting in its stability. Think about the Apple community worldwide – advocates, contributors and investors.
That is the goal to achieve. As a community manager the first task is to understand what your community is or could be. If a community already exists, outside your control, the objective is to become an accepted part of it. Google keywords and product names, search for hashtags in Twitter and Groups in Facebook. Monitor them through your social media listening tools to assess the scale and sentiment of what is already out there. Only then can you realistically set the objectives for the Community Manager role.  For example many brands may already have only negative communities – the crowd is always keen to share its negative opinions. Objectives must be based on something real and achievable and so an objective may only be to be an accepted and trusted voice in those communities. Even in a negative environment though, community management can be powerful. Take the example of  Dell Hell – a phrase triggered by this blog from journalist Jeff Jarvis http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2005/aug/29/mondaymediasection.blogging. Dell did a great job of listening and using Social Media to respond to a catastrophic situation. Thanks to Mei Lin Fung for this summary of the turnaround http://www.customerthink.com/article/you_can_learn_dell_hell_dell_did
Going forward with the strategy the Community Manager is responsible for:
  • Recruiting – seeking out the people who would enjoy being part of the community. This involves establishing the Social Media groups on the platforms most suited to the brand. ASOS’s use of Pinterest is a really good example of this – it uses a great medium well for the type of brand and the type of customer. The Community Manager in this role needs to be involved in the marketing strategy to use existing campaigns in a way that will attract – e.g. getting hashtags, @s and Facebook pages publicised along with telephone numbers and email addresses.
  • Entertaining – Creating unique content which will appeal to the community. Especially in the early days this is important – you want to keep the notoriously fickle attention (Facebook group active lifecycles are short). Research has indicated that successful community managers are posting 4-6 items of unique content each day. This can be boosted by retweets and other third party content. Remember, this isn’t just retweeting anything mentioning your brand in a positive way but also spreading the word of people who influence you or think like you. This recycling of content is a great way to attract the attention of people you would like to become members of the community too.
  • Engaging – Community Managers need to listen carefully to what the community is saying and engage with it in the voice of the brand. Larger brands will have more than one individual working with the community and although you want their individuality to be apparent, the message will be consistent. Asking questions and thanking are easy ways to do this. Some brands have experimented with engaging with people outside the community through Random Acts of Kindness. As ever Trendwatching have some good examples of this: http://trendwatching.com/trends/rak/
  • Interacting – This is the ultimate challenge: to step into the community and treat it as a communication challenge. Dealing with public criticism and customer service situations in an open social media forum is challenging but has huge rewards. It can be a real way of both differentiating the brand (exaggerating the overwhelming positive sentiment) and greatly reducing service costs (through crowd-sourcing).
The Community Manager needs many hats to be able to turn a Community into a Managed Community.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: