|Social media gives companies a new opportunity to build relationships, engage and communicate directly with their community. As the new social media chair of the San Francisco American Marketing Association (SFAMA), community management is a big part of my job description. I was looking over our own social media the other day. We have built some pretty powerful social media marketing platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Plancast, Flickr,YouTube and Foursquare. But are any of us truly using them to their full community building potential? I wanted to share some of the key things you need to take into consideration when developing a community management strategy for any business.Goals, Benchmarks and Metrics Identifying your company goals, benchmarks, metrics and goals is one of the most important first steps when building your new community. Community building progress to measure:
- Goals: Clarify your company’s strategy and goals, so that you know what you are working towards.
- Benchmarks: Set clear benchmarks before you start any online marketing campaign and throughout, in order to have a clear measure of success.
- Customer service metrics: Monitor and respond to common questions across your social media platforms. You may want to set up a forum to respond to questions if you have enough.
- Sales metrics: How many leads are you generating through inbound marketing: blog posts, page rankings, Facebook referrals, subscribers, conversions, conversion rate, etc. You may want to set up tracking codes for all of your social media platforms in order to effectively measure this metric.
- Engagement metrics: This includes LinkedIn group active followers, Twitter re-tweets, Facebook post impressions, blog comments, mentions, link building or visits.
There are over 700 million people on Facebook and 50 million Tweets sent out every day, so it’s very important that you listen on social media to hear what people are saying about things relevant to your brand. The key is to find those people and engage them with posts you already know they are interested in. Here are some successful listening tactics:
- There are many other social media listening tools available. The trick is finding the best ones to incorporate into your own community management strategy.
- Subscribe to search terms for industry keywords through Google Alerts OR Twilerts.
Create a (private) Twitter list of competitors, pay attention to what they are/aren’t sharing. Monitor what content they share on all the other social media platforms.
- Track and follow blogs your community reads and be sure to leave comments and share the most relevant ones. This will start to build a rapport with other blog writers. It may be smart to exchange guest blogs with each other.
- Identify the hashtags your community uses and track them in Twitter lists. Take our #SFAMA screen shot below for an example.
Social Media and Content Management Strategy
Listening and monitoring is very important to find out what your community wants. Now it’s time to develop an effective social media and content management strategy in order to effectively engage your new community and turn your firm into a Social Business:
- Clean up all social media platforms: They need to be consistent. Same username, same updated info, etc.
- Link all of you social media platforms together: This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised how many “social media experts” I have seen who do not do something as simple as putting their webpage on their Twitter page. I like to use my clients blogs as a social media hub, thank link all of their social media platforms together.
- Investigate and stay on top of trends: I cannot stress this enough. It is very important to read up and talk to key influencers in your industry to find out what is new and trending.
- Develop a social media calendar: Your social media calendar will include what the strategic items you want to post, how many times a week you’ll blog, when you publish what content, etc.
- Choose your social media team: Decide who will help you create the content, perform blogger outreach, monitor LinkedIn groups, post to Twitter, etc.
- Identify your target keywords: Optimize your content great for your community and search engines. Use Google Suggest and Google Adwords to identify the right keywords to use blog posts, and be sure to optimize all of your social media platforms for search engine optimization (SEO).
Blog Management: Your blog is your most important curator for SEO for your webpage. The more industry blogs your team creates, the more it creates links to your webpage. You may want to have employees from different departments write blogs, live blogging, guest blog posts from community members or influencers, the list goes on and on.
- Get people and their friends to talk about your company: By asking questions, holding contests and having other eye catching content.
- Provide value: This can be done by any form of link, photo, and video sharing.
- Engage: Interact with your community as much as possible and treat your fans or followers as special to your company.
- Plan your content: You need to decide if you are going to curate industry news or share original tips from your blog or newsletter subscriber. Be sure to take into account that every social media platform has different audiences that need to be taken into account when planning your social media content strategy.
It is important not to forget the original form of digital marketing. You should add some form of email marketing to your community management strategy:
- Build your email list: Make use of your existing social media channels for acquiring email addresses. Include a place in your blog’s sidebar for people to subscribe to a newsletter or a custom tab on your Facebook page.
- Develop an email strategy for your social media brand ambassador team: Your social media team should be composed of all your co-workers and partners that choose to participate. Then set up an email schedule to send out specific tweets of Facebook posts you want your brand ambassador team to post. The bigger tem you have the greater your social media optimization (SMO) will be.
- Select your schedule: Choose a schedule that you’re able to stick to: You don’t want to set expectations for a weekly newsletter if that’s not realistic for your bandwidth.
- Plan your content: Just like in my social media strategy above, their needs to be a clear and concise email content strategy.
Building Bridges to your Community Strategy
It is very important to incorporate local events or meetups into your community strategy. Sometimes we get so caught up with meeting people and brands online, we forget about the face to face interaction. We have many exciting networking and marketing content events you can attend to meet people in your industry.
I hope these community management strategies will start to shape the way that you utilize these platforms and you will now be able to teach other employees how to do it in an honest, ethical manner. Thes e top community management strategies should be used as a foundation to champion your brand online. In case you did not know it already the SFAMA is a non-profit and is 100% volunteer run and we are always looking for qualified individuals to enhance our dynamic board. You can write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or reach out to me directly to join my exciting social media team!
Thank you for reading. I hope this is helpful to you. What other strategies can you think of? Please feel free to reach out with comments or questions!