For all the time people spend online, it is no wonder that we have begun to seek and value authenticity. Over the years, consumers have demanded brands and businesses to become more human especially with today’s digital marketing efforts flooding the digital space.. Rather than using the stereotypical customer service voice, the audience wants a genuine and relatable interaction at all points of contact. Once people find that genuine interaction, they flock to your brand — you’ll then have created a community.
As with any group of people sharing the same interests on a place like the Internet, you’ll need a moderator. A mediator. A manager!
If your brand is on social media, it needs a proper Community Manager. And no – this can’t be the same person as the one you’ve hired to actually create the content that you post on your chosen platforms that draw the community members in.
Let’s learn about the importance of community management and establishing a community management strategy that contributes to brand growth.
What is Community Management?
According to Upwork, Community Management refers to a process in which a brand or a business engages with their audiences. The term community refers to the customers, fans, partners, and potential clients that the brand or business interacts with. Community management utilize marketing, communication, and branding to craft a narrative that accurately represents the brand and upholds its reputation.
When successfully utilized, community management can build authentic relationships between the brand or business and their consumers. Organizations further benefit from this by knowing their target audience more and work towards increasing the brand’s appeal and longevity.
So, how is community management and public relations connected to each other?
Community Management and Public Relations
Community management isn’t another modern term for public relations. Rather, community management is an important part of public relations, especially in the digital age. The easiest way to differentiate both is to look at the scale of the work they do: PR handles macro work, while Community Management handles the micro matters. PR agencies like NGP-IMC can help you do both, with a dedicated team for both PR and Community Management! Here’s a more in-depth look at the roles of a community manager and benefits of effective community management:
- Community management is often associated with social media management since it focuses on forging direct relationships with the consumers of the brand. PR management focuses more on building relationships with the media that consumers of the brand are on.
- Community managers handle direct online interactions with the target audience that may have discovered the brand as a result of the PR manager’s work to stage a successful media event, press conference, or article seeding campaign.
- Community managers and PR pros both understand why communications are vital for organizations like yours. Where PR managers create the strategy and ensure that brand relations to the public remain generally positive, community managers execute this strategy in the digital space. They also proactively communicate with the brand’s audience (or community!) to help ensure that the PR managers never even have to think about crisis PR and the like.
- On that note, PR managers also develop the publicity strategies for the products and services offered by the brand. They also prepare a crisis management strategies meant to mitigate problems in case campaigns go off track.
Community managers, again, help ensure as much as possible that the latter strategies never have to be executed.
- PR managers are in charge of crafting content calendars in tandem with the social media team, which the community manager may be a part of.
- Community managers ensure that content released by the social media team is positively received, implemented publicity strategies are working well. They keep an eye on how the general public perceive the brand and report on what the PR team should improve on for better customer reception.
Community managers, in a way, determine the on-ground effectiveness of the PR team’s campaigns.
- PR managers write and edit press releases, oversee PR teams, and guide overall media engagement. Community managers are the implementers. They’re the customer-facing role that also gets in touch with influencers and other personalities beneficial to the brand through majorly online platforms (though sometimes mobile communication may be required).
- PR managers handle bigger and more traditional communications such as press conferences and events. Community managers, on the other hand, keep track of the brand’s digital footprint — owned, earned, and paid media, as well as online conversations (social listening) involving the brand. They also monitor the brand mentions on social media – thanking those that show appreciation or resolving complaints posted publicly.
Related: How to Create a Solid Outreach Strategy
While community management takes hold of the ‘smaller’ tasks, it does not mean their work is valued less as that of a PR manager. An efficient community manager is needed for a well-functioning PR team that can establish a genuine connection with the brand’s customers. If you want loyal consumers, effective community management is the key.
More Benefits of Good Community Management
Good community management helps make your customers feel cared for and understood, which contributes to the positive image of your brand!
Here are additional specific advantages of having an efficient community management led by an effective community manager:
- They can help gather and sort through valuable feedback – Since community managers directly converse with the customers, they are able to get actual feedback on the brand’s performance.
- They can effectively address matters with customers – Aside from the product or service feedback, community managers efficiently manage customer complaints. People want a brand that listens to them and resolves their complaint as soon as possible.
With a proper response protocol in place, community managers can respond to customer interactions swiftly, efficiently, and with structure and integrity as fitting for your brand.
- They can be instrumental in helping convert consumers to loyal customers – When consumers feel that the brand treats them well, they will surely come back for more. On top of answering their concerns in an accurate and timely manner, community managers can tailor product or service promotion to the customers according to their needs.
The community manager is like a personal shopper that knows exactly what you want and need.
- They can help pursue and build valuable B2B partnerships – More than talking to customers, community managers also connect with influencers and other brands that the business can partner with to help it grow! Since they know how to communicate well, it’ll be a breeze to persuade such personalities to collaborate with the brand they work for.
Small tasks but with big impacts – that’s what community management entails!
Any business or brand that gives importance to community management will not fall short on building strong customer relationships and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Your ideal community manager should be an expert on protecting the company image, promoting the brand and its products or services, and genuinely connecting with consumers, businesses, and influencers. If we weren’t already clear, community managers should also be a separate entity from your content creators, social media artists, and others. With a dedicated person or team with the necessary community management expertise, your brand can exude the authenticity your customers desire.
In the words of Shopify, “community management brings your brand to life online – like a real person with a real personality behind real interactions.”
Have you ever thought about hiring a community manager? How about hiring a PR agency do the PR and community management work that go hand in hand? Contact us today and find the best PR & community management service package for you!