The 5 Worst Community Management Practices
One of the biggest misconceptions attached with social media is that anyone can "do" it. With millions of people on Facebook and Twitter alone, we're certainly familiar as a society. But, familiarity doesn't always equal expertise, and that very mistake can lead to putting bad processes into practice, particularly when it comes to social community management. Take a look at this list of worst offenses, and learn how remedying these situations will make your brand a knockout.
- Posting without a content strategy.
Even the coolest, most casual brands have content buckets they dip into with their messaging. You can't only talk about your brand's products because in the digital age, people have a lower tolerance for being sold than ever before. And, you can't talk about whatever you want, because then you can't claim to own leadership in any one space. Say you're a cookware brand. Service audience needs with one-skillet recipes, entertaining ideas, and kitchen organization tips. Give fans something of value, and in turn, you strengthen your relationship.
- The not-so-humble brag.
There's a difference between showcasing your work, and bragging about it. Chances are, people are following your brand because they're already familiar with it, and what it has to offer. There's no need to incessantly retweet testimonials; like with #1, when you provide value and service a need with your content - say, by suggesting a cool way to use your brand's products - you're more naturally inviting a transaction. Have something you just can't help but showcase? Do it by asking fans for their opinions and ideas, or accompanying it with a simple "check it out." It's far more personable that way.
- Deleting negative feedback.
Just as every brand has its advocates, it has its critics. Deleting negative feedback (unless it's blatantly offensive/inappropriate) will only make an upset fan more angry - and, it'll justify their crusade. Address mishaps and mistakes head on, and your community will see that the people behind the brand are human, just like they are. Deleting bad feedback suggests that a brand is trying to hide something, and we all know that doesn't usually bode well. Transparency here is key.
- Not reading the Terms of Service.
This is especially important with Facebook, thanks to its long list of limitations. A contest that's not contained on a tab can get shut down, and a cover photo with contact information can be removed. Know the lay of the land before building on it, and you won't risk a last-minute scramble or an embarrassing gaffe when you receive a crackdown. Not all services are right for a brand's ideas, so find out how you can create an ecosystem that follows the rules and achieves brand goals.
- Leaving out the analytics.
Reporting and analytics are not the same. Showing that a post received 17 likes is reporting; deducing that a post was successful because data shows your audience is most active at 9am is analyzing. The key to good community management is understanding your audience, and the best way to do so is by auditing their interactions with your efforts. Don't be afraid to dive into the numbers - they provide a concrete way to measure progress, and identify areas to improve.
All of these things may seem overwhelming to undertake at first. But, with a little time and a lot of practice, they'll become second nature to you as a social media manager. The more strategic you are with your approach, the better your brand will fare, and the sharper you'll become as a professional in the space. Happy posting!
Steph Parker is currently leads the social team at Brand Content, a full service ad shop in Boston. She was also named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Marketing & Advertising in 2012. Steph gets her hands dirty with research, planning, content, and design, and has worked with several Fortune 500 brands on various campaigns and initiatives.
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