Community Management: The Hidden Data Behind Likes and Loves
I’m passionate about behavioral data. Strong, accurate data is my moon and stars and the air that I breathe. The more accurate the data, the more confident I am in knowing that my targeting, messaging, and image/video creative will be on-point.
In my experience, I’ve found that some of the most powerful customer monitoring tools are the ones that come with no upfront fee: Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram DMs.
Through authentic interactions (also see: talking customers off of a ledge), we can glean new information about customer needs, confirm what we already know, get instant feedback about services and products, and add more value to the customer experience.
Confirm What You Already Know: Customer Needs, Expectations, and Pain Points
In early 2018, I was tapped to help manage the Facebook and Instagram pages for a large Activewear brand. The job description was simple enough: encourage people to comment on posts, monitor Facebook and Instagram for brand mentions, and cheerfully respond to direct messages with helpful information.
As I was going through the messages in my first week, I found that customers were looking for more than just a customer service number--they were also offering up candid feedback on what they expected out of the company’s products: good quality clothing at a reasonable price. A large group of people were receiving faulty product from the company’s warehouses
The client was already aware of the need for quality and price through market research they had conducted, but they weren’t aware of how much feedback they were receiving through direct Facebook and Instagram messages.
Get Immediate Feedback on Products, Services, and Processes
Remember when it would take days to weeks to sort through customer feedback and use that to improve your customer experience? Now, a customer can post about their experiences within an hour of receiving their product. We live in an age of snap judgements and responding to these spur-of-the-moment reviews can be a game changer for how customers perceive your brand’s customer service.
This seems like a nightmare for a lot of businesses however it’s good to look at this for the opportunity it provides.
By getting immediate feedback, especially for newly released products it’s useful to know what works and doesn’t work from early adopters. They are usually your more hardcore users and understand what they look for in a product to think of it as truly great. By taking their feedback you are able to tweak your offerings so the issues they talk about aren’t a problem for general consumers and late adopters.
Additionally, having this immediate feedback allows you to monitor a potential crisis from the moment it begins. So while it’s scary to think that a small issue can blow up really quickly, the flip side is that it allows you to show your dedication to solving issues as well and as quickly as possible.
Boost Customer Interaction and Sales
Community management is more than just a tool to keep track of what’s being said about your brand. It’s a way to easily access your target audience, directly engage with them and it can have a major impact on your sales goals at the end of the day.
While “word of mouth” sharing has extended to the digital space the principle stays the same. What people think about your brand and what they say to others matters when it comes down to your bottom line. By creating unique customer interactions and talking to your customers as individuals it allows your brand to be more relatable - leading to an environment where the loyal customer base you build would be more inclined to bring issues to your attention rather than complaining right off the bat,
Everyone likes being made to feel special and good community management allows you to do just that. If someone comments that it’s their birthday on any of your social channels, why not wish them a Happy Birthday and offer them a discount or free treat on behalf of your company?
Giving your brand a voice and personality can go a long way with how customers remember you.
A customer that remembers how you treated them is more likely to be a repeat customer if their experience was good (and you’ve probably lost them if it wasn’t). Similarly, good customer interaction means others in their circle will view your interactions with them and will think of your brand as a potential choice since they have a frame of reference. By increasing this brand awareness through your customer interaction you can grow your sales audience over time.
Add More Value to the Customer Experience
A good community management strategy leads to a greater customer experience. And in the ever growing highly competitive marketplace where most products are similar or the same, how you shape your customer experience is what will make you stand out.
By providing added value in the shape of great customer support and a supportive and vibrant online community you’ll be leading the pack in not just winning your customer’s wallets but hopefully their hearts as well.
People want to be treated well and ensuring you extend philosophies used for in-store customer experiences to your online communities will help your brand stand out from your competitors.