Social media allows brands to build relationships with customers and followers. However, managing an online community requires strategy and a certain amount of finesse. Here we'll lay out some key pointers to help you create a thriving online community for your business.
Build trust with thoughtful engagement
The key to nurturing an online community is listening and responding to your audience with empathy. Social media is about two-way communication, so make sure to regularly respond to comments, questions, mentions and feedback. What's more, by prioritising being helpful over selling, you'll show customers you are listening and this will establish trust.
Foster relationships between members
Spot opportunities to highlight great community members through features or rewards, and create polls and fun content to spark conversation between users. This cultivates a welcoming space where members can engage with each other, not just with your brand.
Address criticism with care
Feedback won't always be positive, but it's important to accept negative comments with grace. On social media these days, transparency is key, so don't delete any negative feedback. Instead, offer help publicly, apologise, and show you take all feedback seriously, positive or negative. This not only turns complaints into opportunities to improve, but also demonstrates that you care about your customers.
Stay vigilant during crises
Social media crises can arise unexpectedly, so it's essential to have a crisis management plan ready so you can act quickly in emergencies like data breaches or PR nightmares. Draft template responses you can use in potential high-risk situations, and if a crisis arises, make sure to respond calmly and transparently. Apologise, if necessary, and update customers on any solutions or changes implemented. The best way of protecting your brand's reputation in a crisis is remaining cautious, yet responsive.
Article written by: Stephanie Clark