Feb 29, 20164m read
Community Management Best Practices for 2016
The necessity of creating online communities has been addressed again and again. What we often leave out however, is the next step. Once you have that community, your work is far from over. In fact, in reality, the work is only just beginning. After you get people interested–you have to keep them that way–and that takes time, dedication, and strategic thinking.
Though it can be overwhelming at first, developing a community management strategy does not have to be scary, especially if you take the time to do research and get to know your audience. Here are some winning methods that have been proven to help make online communities thrive:
Empower your Audience
Your community should be all about your audience. Therefore, you should cater both your content and social features to suit them. On a basic level this means to make sure your content answers your audience’s questions and provides useful and applicable information. You can discover relevant content ideas by asking your audience or by conducting market research on your audience’s pain points.
In addition to that, giving your audience a voice is imperative in this day and age. For this reason, it’s critical to ask questions that provoke comments and encourage dialogue. This way, you give your audience the irreplaceable opportunity to get involved in your brand and the content you produce. Encourage your users to participate by rewarding top contributors with a mention, or even a prize.
To take it a step further, you can even let your audience contribute content content to your site. This not only gives your content a more diverse and interesting perspective, but it also fosters your community and makes your user-base feel valued. By taking these steps to value your audience, you are sure to increase your site’s engagement and gain a loyal following.
Be a People Person
People respond to people, not to computers. Although we all love technology, nothing can replace the personal touch. That’s why it’s important for your personality to shine through in your content, comments, and social media posts.
It goes without saying that you should always respond to your audience’s blog comments as well as their postings on Facebook and Twitter. It’s also a great idea to use personal identifiers such as a picture or Gravatar which links to your social accounts. This way, your audience can see the human behind your brand and formulate a deeper connection to your company.
Of course, part of being a people person is communicating regularly in a voice that is casual yet informative. Since 65% of people prefer content to be written in a friendly tone, it is much more useful to write similarly to how you would speak, while still making sure to keep it professional.
However, this rule depends on your audience. For example, if your audience is startup executives, they are more likely to appreciate this casual vibe. However, if your audience consists of political science professors, you should keep the tone more formal.
By matching your voice to your user-base, you are sure to increase your following and create a loyal fanbase.
Write Good Content
Although we just put a ton of stress on the tone of your content, tone is nothing if your content is not of value. As we previously stated, your content is there to educate your audience and provide answers to their most pressing questions pertaining to your niche. In other words, you are there to be a resource for your target audience.
Therefore, the key in providing good content is to conduct proper research into their needs, questions, and objectives in order to give them actionable insights they can apply to their everyday lives. Ideally, the expertise you hold in your industry should provide them with unique solutions, but don’t forget to back that up with data, case studies, and stats to give your content greater authority and value. Make sure your content answers basic questions: who, what, where, why, how, and when so the topic is fully explored.
To gain loyalty, your customers want to know they can depend on you to provide what they need when they need it. Therefore, it’s imperative to regularly write new content so they know they can continue to count on you as a key resource for information.
Generally speaking, it’s ideal to update your blog at least once a week at around the same time. This way, your audience regularly returns to your site and you gain an avid and enthusiastic following as a result.
Community management is a must nowadays. We can no longer simply stand back and let communities flourish on their own. Instead, it takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication to your users’ needs to ensure the conversation flows, and your audience comes back for more. By employing these simple tactics, you give your audience every reason to love your brand and become fully dedicated community members for a lifetime.