The Clout of Community Management: Building Brand Presence in the Social Media Sphere
Hashtag-whisperer, meme-decoder, what’s-trending-titan… Whatever you call them around the office, the Community Manager has fast become an essential part of the digital marketing team for brands looking to make a splash in the social media marketing sphere. So much so that they’ve even got their own international observance day.
You heard right: Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day. We’re marking the occasion by sitting down with the Managing Director of Society @ ME, Joaquin Murillo, to learn more about the role — and why it’s more complex than just “hashtag-whispering”.
Q: Give me the elevator pitch: Why is having a Community Manager helpful for brands?
A: A social media manager or community manager builds a brand on social networks while improving their customer experience capabilities. It’s not just about answering questions; it’s about sparking conversations, about creating a space where people feel heard, engaged, and respected. The goal is four-pronged: grow brand loyalty, engage with consumers, listen to feedback, then apply those learnings to improving marketing strategies.
When people think of CM’s, they often think it’s all content creation and chatting with customers. That’s really just one half of the job — there’s an entire back-end to what we do that is essential to achieving that four-pronged goal. Offline, we’re undertaking competitive analyses, identifying new audiences to target, and constantly engaging in social listening and then reporting key learnings back to the client so together, we can tweak their strategy accordingly.
The icing on the cake is how a Community Manager’s role spills over from marketing to help a brand’s customer care and support team as well. By providing consumers with prompt responses on their preferred platforms, we’re often the first (and only) layer of customer support they need to satisfy their questions.
Basically, we’ve got our finger on the pulse of what real people think about your brand, all in real time. Not to mention we’re monitoring 24-7 to steer the conversation and react when appropriate. It really takes a team to be constantly listening — It isn’t a one person job (hint hint, come join Society).
Q: This idea of “24-7” – how important is that?
A: Now more than ever, it’s fundamental. Consumer habits are changing; they expect immediacy online, whether it’s information, purchases, or content. Think about the rise in popularity of Amazon Prime delivery, or binge watching content on Netflix when they drop an entire season in one go. People’s tolerance for waiting is decreasing, and community managers allow brands to offer that next level of immediacy that consumers crave.
On the flipside, we’re also offering that same promise of immediacy to brands by providing relevant feedback in real-time to help grow their business.
Q: Does your approach to advertising on social differ from other channels?
A: It should, that’s for sure. It’s a fine balance to strike. Some brands online take too much of an advertising angle – they’re solely trying to drive sales, and it shows in their content. But that goes against the very nature of what social media was founded on, which is cultivating a social space that brings people together.
Content needs to be engaging to really make connections and start conversations with the friends and family closest to them. This rings true especially now, with Facebook’s recent announcement about changes to their newsfeed algorithm. Besides, with 6 million advertisers using Facebook each month, you need to set yourself apart from the competition.
Q: Any pitfalls you think brands should avoid on social?
A: There’s a huge movement among brands right now to jump on trends – whether it’s social causes, politics, or even just Internet memes-of-the-month (aka Salt Bae). On one hand, it shows that you’re listening and eager to join the conversation, but aligning your brand with a trend is not always a guaranteed win.
The golden rule is this: If a brand decides to use a specific meme or align themselves with a specific cause, it needs to feel authentic. Plenty of campaigns push for a cause or hop on a trend for the sake of faking relevance, and it shows. People on social media – particularly the younger generations – value authenticity and truth in advertising, and aren’t afraid to call out brands that miss the mark.
This can be tricky, since trends on social move at lightning speed and the pressure to ‘jump in now’ is strong. But it’s more important to take a moment to strategically pick and choose which trends best match your brand before hitting ‘post’ or ‘tweet’.
Q: What are you most excited for in 2018 in the world of Community Management and Social Media?
A: New platform updates are coming down the pike daily, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly, but I think that Instagram’s latest announcement about following hashtags is going to present a new and exciting way for brands to carve out additional following.
Looking to strengthen your brand’s presence in the social sphere? From content strategy, to social media management and listening to influencer support (and everywhere in between), SOCIETY @ ME offers a wide range of Community Management services that can help build your following and reach new audiences. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.