Last updated on February 24, 2021
For today’s social-savvy generation, the only way to keep pace with the steadily evolving space is to engage directly with your prospective customers. The most practical way to do that is to establish an online community where your followers can seamlessly interact with their people who share their support for your brand while helping you build rapport with both new and existing clients.
Doing so improves your customer retention and acquisition capabilities. As your community flourishes with additional members, their discussions and interactions will help you drive more leads, sales, and even referrals, thereby, increasing the chances of your business reaching its core objectives.
Unfortunately, creating one can be daunting especially when there are tons of channels that you can choose from. Also, stretching your presence too thin just to stay aligned with the current trends is not as practical. What happens is you are compromising the overall quality of your online presence in the process.
Are you thinking of fool-proof ways to effectively foster an excellent social community for your business? Then you are in the right place. This article will get you acquainted with surefire ways on how to manage an online community.
Statistical data conducted by Higher Logic suggested that online communities are proven effective components in sustaining marketing efforts in engaging with their existing followers for up to 12%. This number alone is proof that creating an online community to support your business’ marketing efforts is crucial. It plays a vital role in staying relevant, visible, and consistently aligning your business with the dynamic market demands and conditions. This is especially true if you want to survive in this post-pandemic setup.
For people who are new in this setup, they always fall into the burning question: How to develop an online branded community?
Working on an active online community revolves around numbers. The key to managing online communities like a pro is to know which metrics should you be focusing on. Having an in-depth understanding of how to translate and define these metrics prove useful in determining how well and how effective your marketing strategies will be.
Remember, the interaction between your members fuels the success of all the marketing efforts you invested. That is why it is essential to have a comprehensive online community management plan together with these specific metrics. Combining all these gives you a clear road map ahead of you. This way, it enables you to monitor how well your organization expands with minimal drawbacks.
Here is a breakdown of the most utilized key performance metrics to help your community center its priorities.
Members/Followers — Track the numbers of followers and members you gain or lose on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Monitor their engagements through their registrations, likes, or follows within your forum. Knowing these numbers helps determine whether your community is growing or not, thereby, giving you a heads-up on whether you need to reassess your existing marketing campaigns or not.
Members Activity — Get yourself acquainted with your members’ interests, the frequency of them opening the community portal, and the peak hours they go online. This way, it becomes easier for you to adapt and reconstruct your marketing campaigns based on your members’ activities.
Traffic — This is especially useful when your forum is within your website. What’s feeding your website traffic? Where is the traffic coming from? How many site visitors do you gain on a daily basis? Do you see a timely growth in your community?
Engagements — How effective are your marketing strategies to keep your visitors engaged? What discussions and threads pique their interests the most? This plays an important role in establishing fresher content, questions, discussions for future threads.
Conversion Rate — Are your social media pages and forums effective enough to lead prospective clients to your business website? If so, how many people visit your website versus those who actually buy your products and services? What percentage converts your community members and page followers to paying customers?
The aforementioned metrics are essential factors that community managers need to consider when handling a branded online community. It enables you to see the overall potential of your marketing strategies, provides a detailed plan on how to maximize all your marketing channels to reach your core goals, and ultimately, enables you to be one with your customers. Forums and social media pages are an excellent way to have a more personal connection with your followers while continuously expanding your influence throughout the internet.
Establishing a strong relationship among customers is an ideal way to improve customer retention, enforce acquisition, boost sales, and most importantly, help your business to consistently stay above water amid the sudden shifts in conditions of the market.
Managing an online community does not only revolve around moderating content posted by your members. It also requires prior knowledge and understanding of how to encourage topics and discussions related to your niche, which will help you maintain relevance and continuously drive in more individuals from your target demographics. As such, it is important to bear in mind that community management requires a systematic process in order to effectively maximize all the strategic efforts you invested in each campaign to make the most ROI possible from your existing user base.
Here are five amazing online community management tips to help you get started:
In order to maximize the effectiveness of your online community, it is important to maintain harmony all throughout. The first one on the list of tips for online community managers is to set a comprehensive guideline of do’s and don’ts that members should follow at all times.
When explaining your ground rules, make it a point that each and every member (especially new ones) can easily understand the moment they enter your community portal. For forums, create a separate thread for these rules so that all your members get acquainted accordingly. On social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn, group moderators can pin their rules on the top of the page where followers can easily read them.
See to it that this set of guidelines favors no one specifically but highlights the convenience of everyone in general. Take note that a guideline that doesn’t show equality in all aspects leaves a lasting negative impact on your members, leading you to lose them in the process.
The interaction between members can be sometimes akin to a kaleidoscope: It changes from one form to another. Sometimes, the escalation of emotion and mood is hard to predict which leads to some misunderstandings between members.
While arguments and conflicts between members with diverse stands and beliefs are common and inevitable, there are still effective ways to avoid these types of interactions and foster a more sensible and wholesome atmosphere.
Reinforce and highlight the importance of respect for each other’s beliefs and differences in every discussion. Doing so improves your brand’s integrity as a whole.
In order to maintain a peaceful community away from harmful and inappropriate content, it is a practical move to employ a content moderation system in your forum. Content moderation proves instrumental in setting up strict guidelines and policies to monitor which content or users are deemed abusive and not abiding by the forum’s standards.
There are several types of content moderation and it can either be powered by a human operator or artificial intelligence. However, community managers can go further by incorporating content moderation powered by both for maximum effectiveness.
Employing a content moderation system enables you to set up smart profanity filters that are effective in controlling the use of swear words, hate speech, or any other words deemed offensive to your members. Moreover, content moderation helps in identifying fake accounts from real supporters, allowing you to maintain a more peaceful communication avenue for your members.
The whole point of creating an online community is to have a strong relationship with your supporters by understanding the things that interest and motivate them on a daily basis. That is why it is important to have an open space where your members can give their feedback and suggestions regarding the online community, products, services, or your brand as a whole.
Always remember that word-of-mouth is a vital component in staying afloat at present. Proactively lend an ear whenever they send constructive feedback and carry out a conversation regarding their concerns as this helps you devise quick and effective countermeasures whenever they encounter some issues with your products and services. Consistently reaching out to customers significantly improves user experience.
Indeed, your members’ interactions fuel the hype of your brand. But as the community manager, it is not ideal to let your brand’s life support do all the heavy lifting. Be more interactive when dealing with your community members by sharing fresh content about your brand to boost engagement. Sharing relatable posts like memes, blogs, or videos opens a whole new space where your members can share their thoughts and opinions. This way, you’re not only meeting their expectations. You are also ensuring their long-term loyalty and rapport with your brand.
While these tips for online community management are proven effective in handling different types of communities, it still pays to know that everything gets easier with the help of other virtuosos in the field of forums and social media content management.
New Media Services might just be the helping hand you need to add another level of improved safety and user experience. Through our forum and community moderation services and an expert team of content moderators at our disposal to moderate your site content, the safety of your members, social media pages, online communities, and your brand against harmful and inappropriate texts, images, and videos is ensured.
Managing online communities and other social channels can be very daunting and time-consuming especially when you are new to this kind of landscape. But with proper knowledge coupled with a pinch of dedication, commitment, and the tips mentioned in this article, it will serve as your medium to reach greater heights. As you push forward, you will get yourself acquainted with fresher, and even more sophisticated management strategies to help adapt to the unpredictable world of the internet.