If you’re investing in quality content for your brand’s social media channels but don’t have a plan for community management, you might be wasting your time.
Most brands have noticed a decline in post reach on Facebook and Instagram. These platforms were designed to connect people with like interests. For that reason, only the most engaging content makes its way into your news feed, often favoring posts from family and friends over brands. You see, when someone engages with a post, they’re telling the algorithm, “I like this and I want to see more of it.” In turn, this informs the algorithm that the content may resonate with others with similar interests, which results in even more people seeing the post. The better the engagement, the better the post will perform. And the better that one post performs, the more likely your next post will show up in the news feed.
Good content is the key to an engaging post, there’s no doubt about it. But you must do your part to drive quality engagement on behalf of your brand. Here are seven things you can do to help spark meaningful conversations, forge brand loyalty, and build a sense of community.
1. Prioritize private messages ...
… And reply promptly. People usually expect a quicker response on private messages versus public comments. In fact, 38 percent of consumers expect a response within one hour.
2. Acknowledge all comments on posts and ads.
Don’t just reply to customer service inquiries. Look for ways to go beyond a simple emoji reaction and try to spark conversations. The algorithm favors posts that encourage meaningful conversations - which means reaching more of your audience.
Try asking the commenter a question. Respond as if your brand was a person. This will make the consumer feel valued and more inclined to interact with your posts in the future.
3. Meet them where they are.
Try to answer as many customer service questions as you can on the platform itself rather than deferring people to email or the phone. If someone reaches out via Facebook or Instagram messenger, it’s because that’s where they want to talk to you. We walk around with our smartphones practically glued to our hands. Trust me: They could have just as easily called customer service or sent an email if they wanted to.
4. React, react, react!
React to all mentions, shares, retweets, reposts, etc. If an individual re-shares your post with a custom caption (especially a positive statement about your brand or product), leave a comment. The same goes for photos/posts you’re tagged in, and your branded hashtag: like, react, comment, retweet, etc.
Their followers will see your engagement, which may help grow your following organically.
5. Mirror your followers.
Get creative with your comment and message replies, and mirror your audience's communication style. If someone sends you a GIF, send a GIF back. If they use an emoji, reply with an emoji. We’re not saying you should be something you’re not. You should always stay true to your brand, but even these small tricks can help you establish common ground and build trust.
6. Reply to reviews.
If someone goes out of their way to write a review, the least you can do is take time to leave a comment. On that note, make sure you reply to all reviews and recommendations - not just the negative ones. This shows your loyal customers that you care and you appreciate their business, and gives you an opportunity to smooth things over with those who haven’t quite bought into your brand yet.
7. Publicly address negativity.
Your response to adversity is likely part of a larger crisis PR plan. When it comes to social media, you want your audience - and their followers - to know that you’ve heard their concerns and you care.
We recommend a three-step approach:
- Acknowledge the message.
- Offer some sort of advice/takeaway.
- Give them a way to contact you offline.
Thank you for contacting us! We're sorry to hear about (fill in the blank). We take feedback very seriously and would love to hear more about your experience. Please send us a PM so that we can discuss this further.
This shows other people who may view the comment that you're responsive, but it also moves the message to a private thread in case the negativity continues.
Community management is the cornerstone of every great social media strategy. Invest time in building relationships, and you’re well on your way to earning repeat customers.