How to Manage an Online Community
In this diverse business setup, your top priority is to nurture the connection between your brand and your clientele. However, some businesses tend to fall short in this area. It is saddening to think that some businesses possess the mindset that the only connection between them and their customers is through payments or sales.
Little do they know, customer connection is more than a mere over-the-counter transaction. Rather, it is an integral component that lays a foundation for a successful B2C connection. Establishing a solid rapport among customers propels a stronger emotional and sensible connection between you and your customers. It also acts as the key to absolute progression.
To create a lasting bond with your customers, the first thing you need to do is be one with them. The use of your website and social media pages is a great starting point because it serves as an avenue to implement a whole new strategy in the form of an online community. Establishing your very own digital community lets you fully comprehend how your customers perceive your brand.
Are you wondering how to create an online community where your members resonate well with each other? Look no further! This blog will tackle what online communication management is. Plus, you get to discover surefire ways on how to manage your online communities like a pro.
But before that, let’s have a refresher on what an online community is.
What is an Online Community?
The simplified definition of an online community is well—a community created to bring people with shared interests and purpose together despite the physical distance. It provides a space where community members can communicate with each other about a particular niche or subject.
From a business perspective, an online community can be utilized to bring their avid supporters together. We call this a branded online community. A branded community is a professional network where your patrons can make interactive communication not only to your brand but also to their fellow supporters as well. The goal is to open a communication channel where your supporters can discuss their brand-based experiences and fortify the bond between your brand and clients.
Since it breaks down the norms of one-way communication, you get to hear what your supporters have to say about your brand. Therefore, maximizing the use of a branded online community creates an avenue of opportunities for your business to improve, be one with your supporters, and expand your influence and visibility.
Indeed, bringing total strangers together in a closed space is tricky. While they might share interests, they still have their own standpoints about a specific subject. It then becomes a challenge to maintain harmony in your online community. You also have to consider the threats lurking online. With all that in mind, your role as your community’s administrator is to deploy a group of efficient personnel to manage and monitor your users’ behaviors.
Metrics to Become a Successful Online Community
Those who are new to forums and social media groups wonder how to manage an online community. Staying visible and relevant, especially during the pandemic is a fundamental part of maintaining your existing community of supporters online. Higher Logic’s statistical data for online community management this 2020, exhibits how the presence of online communities has helped sustain 12% of the strategies prepared by brands for their existing followers.
Online communities increase brand awareness, improve your reputation, boost communication, and help generate more ROI.
What is the secret to supervising discussion threads, chat groups, and social media pages like a pro?
It’s all about the numbers.
So what does an online community manager do in the first place?
The first thing you need to know about becoming an effective online community manager is how to gauge and interpret the metrics generated through your online communities and social media channels.
To do this, you must define your objectives with your forums and social channels. Some community managers make the mistake of overseeing these networks and pages without prior knowledge and understanding of which metrics to focus on. The interactions between your followers and community members directly impact the success of your marketing strategies and business growth.
Thus, using specific metrics as your reference diminishes possible blind spots in your sales and audience reach campaigns. It lets you monitor how well your pages and user base are growing and expanding.
There are key performance measurements that are typically the focus of almost every type of online community, and these are:
Member Count — How many members or followers do you currently have? Based on a daily or weekly count, what is the average volume of new registrations, follows, or likes in your forum or page?
Member Activity — What topics do your followers and community members follow? What promotions pique their interest? At what time(s) of the day do registered members log in to check out your website? How long do they stay online?
Engagement Rates — What are people saying about your brand? Are the comments and reactions relevant to the theme of your content? How many shares, retweets, reactions, threads, and comments were created based on your brand or content? Did your videos gain more than fifty or a hundred views? Were the hashtags you provided used and how well did it trend on the internet?
Traffic and Referral — How did your members discover your page or community? Was your business referred by a friend? Did they stumble upon it through search engine results or advertisements? Was your brand mentioned in a social media platform or recommended by an influencer?
Overall Impact — How much traffic from your forums and social media pages lead to your business website or app? What percentage converts followers into loyal customers and ROI?
All the categories above help create a clear roadmap on how you can align your online networks with your core goals and success. Like a cause-and-effect scenario, every topic, promotion or introduction will always lead to a certain reaction from your audience.
Online community metrics give you an online community management plan that defines how far your content can possibly pan out target audience and potential leads.
More importantly, you get to build a closer relationship with your followers and understand things from their perspective. Creating forums and accounts on social media is not just about gaining visibility in the digital arena. It is also a way for you to increase your significance and influence on your target market.
Think about it. Almost every transaction can now be carried out using the internet and technology. People search online for products and services they need. Without a thriving online community, the likelihood of your brand starring in customer discussions is nil.
8 Tips to Manage an Effective Online Community
Managing online community involves more than moderating user-generated content or monitoring every conversation between your followers. It is a role that carries a diverse array of responsibilities related to pushing a business to stability and success.
You need to learn what motivates and drives your community to discuss certain topics and issues and how it relates to your business as a whole. You must also use your communities to see what sets your customers apart from that of your competitors.
Your user base represents what your products and services are all about, what buyer culture your business promotes, and what kind of results you are working towards achieving.
There are eight proven tips for online community managers that help shed light on the do’s and don’ts of taking the reins in every social network, chat room, or forum.
1. Be firm and Consistent
Every community has its own set of rules on what users can and cannot post, as well as how they should and shouldn’t behave when interacting with each other. Introducing these guidelines should be at the top of your to-do list, especially when acknowledging new members of followers.
Post your rules where everybody can access and read it with ease. For forums, create a separate thread for these rules and label it appropriately so both old and new members can spot it when they go online.
Facebook allows group moderators and administrators to “pin” community ground rules to keep it from being flooded by new user posts or updates.
Be impartial when enforcing your community’s rules. Avoid showing favoritism or bias on any of your members. People instantly become disinterested in following a specific set of guidelines the moment they see that it does not apply equally to everyone. When you are consistent with how you implement your ground rules, it boosts reliability and authenticity on your part.
2. Set up and monitor community metrics
Yet another online community management strategy is to set up insightful metrics. Do you want to monitor how many members join your forum each day? Or do you want to set your eyes on topics that your supporters follow? Are you determined to discover which channels help drive the highest number and quality of traffic to your websites and pages?
If so, then define and prepare the key areas that you want to focus on as you measure user engagement and activity in your communities. See to it that what you are measuring reflects your business objectives and strategies.
Arrange a weekly or monthly report to organize all the gathered data. Document every report and observe changes and updates in your members’ activities.
3. Promote sensible and wholesome conversations
Sometimes, interactions between followers become difficult to predict. It can either go smoothly or escalate into a misunderstanding.
While disagreements between community members are normal and inevitable, there is still a way for you to minimize arguments and negativity within your user base.
Emphasize the importance of upholding respect in every discussion they join. There is a reason why online community management tips create a separate section to highlight peaceful and wholesome conversations. Positive communication leads to a favorable image of your brand.
An online community that supports and acknowledges each other’s differences indicates that community managers are setting an example to all the followers. It is a testament to how people support you enough to remain objective on opinions that contradict their views.
4. Employ content moderation
Encouraging positive community interactions goes hand-in-hand with moderating content submitted by followers and users. It is an effective way to reinforce set guidelines and determine which users are violating these rules. The efficiency of a moderator is associated with how can online communities manage trolling using a more diverse approach.
Moderating user content comes in different forms. It can be in the form of human moderation or AI-powered monitoring. It can also be a combination of both. You can add keywords and automatic filters for swear words and other offensive terms not accepted in your community. You can also use moderation to double-check depictions on images, avatars, banners, and multimedia content shared by community members.
Like Chekkee, our company takes pride in providing efficient community moderation services to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Backed with artificial intelligence, smart filters, and human expertise, we see to it that our moderation service can serve as a strong protection against malicious user-generated content.
Moreover, content moderation helps you identify fake accounts and profiles from genuine followers and supporters more closely. At times, competitors may pose as a follower of your page or a new member in your forums to spy on your tactics and try to coax your audience into switching to their brand instead.
5. Encourage feedback
A community cannot be an exclusive space for your target audience if you do not lend an ear to what they have to say. Take time to listen to their concerns and suggestions. After all, one of the main purposes of establishing a social media page or an online group for your brand, is to gain understanding of what motivates and defines your unique cluster of customers.
Lend an open ear on what services they favor the most. Are they having issues or troubles with some of your products? Initiate conversations about their overall experience and offer to help them out.
Aside from user experience, you can also go through the threads that your users create. Take a closer look at the trends and current events that impact your community the most. Also, observe how they respond to each of your promotions and even to your posting guidelines? Is everything received with clarity or is your audience confused?
It is not enough to moderate member discussions. You must also be an integral part of their conversations to really see areas where you are lacking and how your audience can contribute to your improvement.
6. Create a routine
Organization is a key component in managing social media pages and digital communities with flying colors. As a moderator and manager of an online community, you are tasked to deal with large amounts of user-generated content on a regular basis. You also need to address user concerns, keep track of their activities, and measure the performance of each page or forum.
Make your own to-do list or arrange a step-by-step guide that you will follow to ensure all your daily tasks are completed. Creating a routine and sticking to it keeps you from forgetting any important tasks or issues that need your immediate attention. It enables you to oversee how efficiently you are carrying out your responsibilities and figure out any repetitive mistakes or improvements that you can use to boost your competence and performance.
7. Do your research
The commitment to learning how to develop an online branded community entails a healthy dose of research.
A brand’s supporters will not always flock to the same website or platform. Some brands are more famous on Twitter, while some are steadily strengthening their customer reach on Facebook. Your brand might also be benefiting from mentions and discussions on Reddit, Instagram stories, chat rooms, and Q&A sites.
Say you share a promotional video on Facebook or post a link to your e-Commerce site on one of the threads created by your users. Can you confidently say that you used appropriate channels for encouraging audience engagement? What should be your go-to website for reading more honest accounts of your customers’ experiences with your services?
Expanding your background on the different social networking sites and communication platforms used by your audience gives you leverage. It would be wasteful to keep implementing new campaigns and tactics for audience reach if you lack basic familiarity of what sets each social network or forum site apart from each other.
By proactively learning how each website or platform works, you can categorize and measure your brand’s impact on every demographic that comprises your supporters.
8. Keep users interested
It is not ideal to depend on your followers to maintain the hype about your business. You need to do your part by sharing blogs and visual content that let your community learn more about your brand.
Spend time discovering topics that pique your audience’s interest and create original content out of it. Publishing your own content for your users to read or see also prompts them to share their ideas and opinions. Not only are you able to regulate user engagement in your communities, you are also taking the initiative in bringing your brand closer to your audience.
Upholding brand reputation while enticing more individuals to support your products and securing steady progress in sales is overwhelming. In some instances, a handful of helpful tips for online community management becomes more effective with the help of experienced professionals in other fields related to successful community management.
Specifically, you can always rely on Chekkee and our lineup of forum moderation and social media management services. We have a team of skilled content moderators with an extensive background on how forums and social media pages can affect customer loyalty and brand impression.
Managing different types of communities, groups, and discussion threads takes time, effort, and commitment. The workload that comes with it might intimidate you at first, but if you are passionate and dedicated enough, then you can use these tips as your tools in constructing an image that followers will find relatable and favorable.
Contact us today if you want to know more about our excellent array of moderation services!