If you run a Facebook fanpage or group, for yourself or for clients, then you are a community manager. No matter how large or small your community, it’s important to respect them and to handle it with care. You want your community to feel welcomed and you want them to refer and recommend you to others. Word-of-mouth advertising is a great way to grow a community naturally.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your Facebook community, you should see where you can improve as a community manager. Being more effective in your role will lead to increased engagement and more happy fans. Use the following tips to help build a thriving community that keeps members coming back for more!
1) Set the Tone
You need to have a consistent tone or voice to your posts, or you risk confusing your audience. Even if the page is managed by more than one person, the tone should be consistent. It should be clear whether you are all business; or if you can be lighthearted, humorous, or smart-alecky. Visitors to the page should get a clear, focused and consistent tone each time they visit your fanpage. You also set the tone for a positive atmosphere or one that is riddled with complaints and negativity.
2) Respond Quickly
Even if you don’t have an answer, it’s still important to at least acknowledge a question or a complaint as soon as possible. Let them know you are looking into an answer or solution and then return and respond as soon as you can accurately. Don’t give them an answer when you aren’t sure if it’s correct or you risk losing their respect.
Now this doesn’t mean you can never step away from your page. How would we ever get anything else done? Popular pages could have comments and questions coming in 24/7. So what you need to do for large/popular communities is set up regular times that you will check in throughout the day and reply to comments that are left. Don’t forget to “like” all those posts and say ‘thank you’ as well.
3) Use Images
Pictures and images can really help improve the connections you make with your community. They often have better engagement rates, but don’t overdo it! I try to make every 3rd or 4th post an image post. Keep in mind, images don’t have to be photos; they can be graphics, too. People absorb information in different ways to graphics and images can be a great way to connect with the more visual learners in your community. I use Picmonkey.com to help create graphics for my fanpages and to edit photos or add text to images before posting.
4) Keep your Cool
Don’t let negative posts make you look bad by responding in the heat of the moment. It’s easy to snipe back at negative or complaining posts, but it never works out well in the end. Do your best to empathize, and take a minute before responding to be sure you’re not reacting defensively.
Never delete negative posts or complaints. Unless they contain hate speech, reveal personal information that puts someone at risk or directly violate community rules, you need to keep these complaints and respond to them. Show the community that they have a voice and you respect that voice. But don’t leave negative feedback unanswered. Be sure to address it publicly, even if you’re handling the customer service issue privately behind the scenes.
5) Recognize Your Community
You wouldn’t have a community to manage without your community members. Keep this in mind, and make sure your members know you know how important they are! Remember to give them a little recognition and show your appreciation, either by sharing their pages or by giving them a shout out. Of course, it’s best to be able to give a specific compliment whenever possible. Look for creative, innovative ways to give back to your community. They will remember and appreciate you for it.
6) Feel Free to Experiment
Explore new ideas and options for getting your community involved. While the tried-and-true is easy to keep up with, if you aren’t seeing enough engagement, then those strategies aren’t working as well as they should be. Shake things up by throwing something new out there.
Some ideas: set up a Q&A session (make sure your community members have enough notice to make time in their schedule), organize in-person meetings for those in a local area, or interview leading community members about their role and interest in the community.
7) Ask Questions
Show your members how much you value their additions to the community by asking thoughtful questions. Use their answers to clear up any misconceptions they might have, to lead to new topics of discussion, and to stimulate their interest in continuing to participate with the group.
For fun, you can always designate a certain day of the week for unrelated, off-the-wall questions, too!
8) Be Passionate and Knowledgeable
Your posts should reflect that not only do you care about the community and subject, but you also know what you’re talking about. It’s okay to not know an answer, but don’t just make up an answer. Either find someone with an answer, or where applicable, put the question to the group as a whole. You are the face of the brand and your passion should show in every post you make. Build authority by answering passionately and accurately.
9) Have Fun
Although in more professional communities it can be a challenge to make it fun, there is always a way. Be cautious not to cross any lines, but make it a goal to add some fun at least once a week. This will improve community engagement.
10) Know your Overall Goal
It’s important to know what you’re striving for from your group. Are you trying to inform your community about your brand? Are you looking to get others involved in the cause? Your goal may change over time, but you need to know what you’re striving for. If you don’t like goals, call it a ‘mission statement’! The overall goal is essential to how you build your community and what you hope to gain from this community.
Are you applying these ten steps to your community management role? Do you have tips of your own to add? Do you have conflicts you’re not sure how to resolve? Leave us a comment and let us know!
About the Author:
Lisa Mason is a social media marketing manager, consultant and content developer. She helps brands maximize their earning potential and connect with their target market online. Her goal is to help you stop wasting your time on social media and finally feel social media satisfied!