So, you’ve heard about businesses reaching people via the social media network, and perhaps you’ve even considered the possibility of getting your business set up on Facebook and Twitter, but what you really need to be thinking about is hiring a community manager. Your business deserves a dedicated member of staff with the tools and the talent to draw in thousands of potential new clients by managing your brand’s online presence.
Why You Need a Dedicated team of In-House Relationship Managers
Start talking to a business owner about the importance of link building and chances are their eyes will gloss over, most stating they have neither the time nor knowledge and expertise to link build. Yet in terms of SEO, link building as a process has changed dramatically, gone are the days of dropping links into hundreds of forums. Instead, what’s emerged is a completely sustainable grass-roots method of integrating the building of high quality links with your company or brand’s social presence.
In essence, over time link building becomes a process so integrated with how you interface with your target audience on a daily basis that not only is it easy, but also time and cost effective as well. In fact, when considering paying someone to manage your company’s online presence, realize that you already have employees on the payroll who develop key relationships integral to your business. From PR teams to customer service over the phone, every business has at least some form of basic relationship management… now all you need is a team.
PR – These are the ones that manage the big guns, the links from big sources such as online journalist outlets.
Customer Service – Your customer service team, whether phone based or in shop, talk with your client base each and every day, building and mending relationships. Customer service reps are a great source for finding out what matters to your clients most.
Social media managers – Social media is swiftly becoming the single most important thing you can invest in understanding as a business owner. A team of social media managers are able to reach your client base through a number of ultra-popular channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Why pay for a team when you already have these professionals on the pay roll?
While you may have a person to answer the phones and another to talk to the press, you are still missing out on having a community manager. Community managers are not interested in the big fish, but the multitudes of little ones that form a global network of bloggers and social media users. Think of it this way: a blogger is nothing more than a brand advocate FOR YOUR COMPANY with a reach of their own and the ability to exert their influence over others. Build a relationship with that blogger, give them faith in your brand, and they WILL tell others of their positive experience. That one blogger may receive tens of thousands of readers per month who will read about your brand, some of which will even become loyal clients themselves. In essence, these bloggers will generate sales for your business WITHOUT BEING PAID.
This is why having a community manager or a team of community managers is essential. As a business owner you need to be investing in these bloggers and social media pundits as a resource for generating exponential word of mouth. If you’re going to invest in someone to handle your company’s PR, why WOULDN’T you invest in someone to manage those who love your brand without needing to be asked?
This of course is a long term strategy, one which most business owners are only just now starting to realize how important it is to their success. An in house community manager can create buzz about your business that grows with each share on the social network.
So what does a community manager do?
A community manager should work with your existing client managers, from PR to customer service, while managing relationships through online social media channels.
Social Media Expert
Social media is the way of the future when it comes to reaching your clients. Using Twitter and Facebook (among so many others) is so much more than getting a few “likes” and sending out a few tweets. Posting to social media is the potential START of a new relationship, and you need someone dedicated to building those relationships beyond the superficial.
Coordinate with your other relationship managers
By keeping a strong line of communication open, the community manager can stay abreast of client relationship building across all areas of the business whilst making sure to not duplicate each other’s efforts.
Twenty-first century business
Did you know nearly 70% of UK residents are Facebook users? Another one-fourth of the country actively engage Twitter and still another 12% of the population can be found on Google +. With numbers like these, how can you afford NOT to reach clients and potential clients through social media? A community manager will have the tools and the know-how to not only generate new clientele through the reach of social media, but also build that relationship into a lasting brand loyalty.
What should you look for in a community manager?
Okay okay! So now you’re sold on the idea and want to rush off to LinkedIn (see what I did there?) to find yourself a brand new community manager. But what sort of qualities will this person need to have?
An expert level understanding of social media – Obvious, yet so important. This is so much more than knowing how to set up a Facebook page or sending out a few tweets. A community manager needs to know how to use these tools to build and leverage relationships for your brand.
Outgoing people-person – The “social” part of social media.
Resilience – Results won’t be immediate: it takes a long while of consistently interacting with the client base through social media to build worthwhile connections and relationships. Your community manager needs to be able to integrate themselves into the lives of your clients and potential clients without crossing the line into annoying them. This delicate balance of relationship building, if done correctly, will earn you thousands of brand-loyal customers.
Creative thinker – building relationships takes time, dedication, and a certain je ne sais qois that walks a fine balance from welcomed every day addition to their lives and downright annoying. And that line will be different for every client. A great community manager will be able to determine where that threshold lies with each contact, juggling multiple relationships at once, all with varying degrees of interaction.
Thick skin – it’s inevitable that some people just simply do not want a relationship with a brand, so your community manager needs to be someone who can take criticism, a hearty “NO,” and a few losses, all the while letting it roll off their back.
In conclusion, we live in a day and age where having a community manager is becoming less of a luxury and more of a must-have if your business is ever to pick up momentum with new clients. If you’re not engaging your client base, your fans, your thousands of potential customers via social media… well, it’s almost guaranteed your competition is.