#CommuniDay

Not everything is about business – We all know you have to make ends meet at the very least. And what’s the point of having a business if you aren’t aiming for healthy profits and growth? But Ironically, to meet that end, it’s best if you worry less about the business side of things and focus on engagement with a strong community. Even if you have a global, online or digital community, engaging with its members fires up your brand early on in the community-building process.

Patiently reaching out to people brings you several advantages that will directly lead to stable profits in the future. It’s always a good idea to collect more perspectives for a better understanding of any given topic. Meeting people has a beneficial impact on one’s ability to come up with creative ideas, finding solutions, as well as to simply finding new partnership opportunities.

This also gives you a chance to let people know you — the person behind the software, app or service. They’ll be quicker to engage with your brand because they are willing to work with you. Now you’re beginning to form the backbone of your customer base – the loyal customers who will trust you enough to buy your product and share it with others.

Once you’ve established this kind of base, greater success is only a matter of time, partly because these community members will be your best ambassadors and unwitting salespeople. And it’s all because you eliminated the distance between business and customer at the outset and fostered a community of people who care about your brand and product before actively trying to sell it to them.

 

Superstar SEO– Was founded by SEO expert Chris M. Walker. If you offer SEO services or are looking to improve your SEO efforts, this is one of the best Facebook groups for you.

 

“Your people love being part of a community because they will get the most recent discounts, special offers, early notification of sales and new updates”. (#EmissaryGuildCommunity)

Essential tools and websites for community management

No job is possible without the right tools and that’s especially true for community management, where a large load of diverse tasks requires superhuman levels of the organization. Not all of the tools you’ll use as a community manager are necessarily meant for community managers, but community managers use them all in unique ways to get the job done.

Analytics

A high-powered analytics tool is an absolute must as a community manager. Without it, how would you know what’s working, what’s not and why? How would you pick up on mentions of your brand across the internet and identify opportunities to engage your audience and pick up new community members?

Google Analytics is the industry standard. There’s a bit of a learning curve involved, but once you’re there, this sophisticated tool will give you unprecedented insight into your performance and how it can be improved.

Social media

A large part of building your own community is reaching out to and joining existing communities – and a lot of that happens on social media platforms. Sure, there are the usual suspects like Facebook and Twitter, but honestly, it’s getting harder and harder to reach audiences there these days.

That’s why we recommend less traditional outlets like Quora and Reddit. Outreach strategy on these platforms has to be less formal and requires that your break out of the marketing mindset. In fact, you could even say that this is where you really test your mindset as a community manager vs. a marketer or salesman. But the payoff is well worth it.

Organize yourself

There’s a lot to keep track of as a community manager. But don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed. There are lots and lots of solutions out there to improve your organization and make sure that you are fulfilling your potential.

Google Drive is a no-brainer, a great place not only to store all your documents in an organized manner but also to collaborate on documents with others in real time. Use something like Trello to organize your tasks, assign them to the right people and track their progress and development.

Bonus tools

Other important tools include things like Grammarly, which helps keep spelling mistakes in check. This one is crucial, especially if English isn’t your first language. There’s no reason to feel bad about it – just use the tool and your writing will improve while you reduce mistakes and appear more and more professional.

For all those viral graphics you’ll want to put out there, use Pablo by Buffer, a solid tool that lets you simply put text over a photo background.

Don’t let the overwhelming amount of work you’ve got on your plate discourage you. That’s what these kinds of tools are for.

#CommuniDay

Search your own brand – How do you keep up with and keep yourself aware of everything that’s being said about you online? After all, these discussions don’t take place only within the bubble of your own community and keeping track of what’s being said about you is crucial for a number of reasons.

The first is to have some idea of public sentiment toward your brand and products. Are users satisfied, or are they complaining about a specific feature that can be easily fixed?

The second reason keeping up with these discussions is important is to benefit from feedback. The customer is always right (well, almost always). Get ideas from them when possible and take into consideration how users who care enough to discuss your brand want it to develop or improve.

Finally, take advantage of these conversations to grow your community. Get involved in the conversation yourself. Offer explanations and information wherever and whenever possible. This type of outreach makes your brand more human and more connected.

So, how do you do it? One of the easiest ways to find discussions about you is by using Google Alert. Try to also search for conversations about the industry, products, services or points of interest for your community. Also, don’t forget to search for your company or brand name with common typos and errors. Awario is one example of a company that provides such services, but it certainly isn’t the only one in the field that can be found with a quick and easy search.

 

Community management is an evolving field. Luckily, there are lots of communities around the web you can learn from and get help—whether you prefer Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Savvy Business Owners with Heather Crabtree– The community was designed specifically for female entrepreneurs. Whether you’re just starting out or want advice on taking your business to the next level, this super-active group of marketing entrepreneurs will help you to grow.

 

“Your people love being part of a community because you offer content with practical domain knowledge”.
(#EmissaryGuildCommunity)

Do you have what it takes to be a community manager?

Being a community manager is a rather exciting, even exotic profession. In many ways, you are the mover of mountains. A CEO or project manager may be the one with the initial vision, but it’s the community managers who are actually out among the people, making it a reality.

Maybe that’s why so many people want to be community managers now. It’s marketing, but with soul – like the best of politicians who go out, door-to-door, interacting with voters to campaign for an important cause.  But it requires a special something to really make a good community manager. Some of these traits can be learned. Others demand natural instinct.

Communication

No community manager will make it very far without exceptional people and communication skills. That doesn’t mean formality and politeness – in fact, it often means the exact opposite. It requires realness in every situation. Be prepared to laugh rather than argue and engage rather than shy away.

In the end, community managers need to be a friend – someone the rest of the community can talk to and relate to (at least about the topic that the community focuses on). That does require a certain amount of tolerance, however. When you get called the worst names some troll can think of, it’s best not to get in a fight or treat them too seriously.

Organization

Just about every job demands decent organization skills, but community manager is on a whole different level. Try maintaining hundreds of conversations across dozens of different platforms all while planning new initiatives and moderating other people’s discussions and you’ll know what we’re talking about.

Community managers need to not only keep track of all those interactions but pick out important lessons, identify opportunities and figure out ways to pursue those. Use whatever tech tools you have available to you to make it easier on yourself – you’re going to need it.

Influence

As the head of a community, you set the tone. This is another way that community managers are like political leaders. You set the policies and agendas for your communities and you also have to be the best example within the community. Everyone knows that how you conduct yourself is acceptable within this space, so choose your words and actions carefully.

Also, make sure you’re listening to community members. You may have a very detailed vision for where to take this group and what you hope to achieve, but your community members may feel otherwise. Consider how to integrate their wishes into your plans and remember that the community is for them, not for you. They say absolute power corrupts. Let the rest of the community be the check and balance for your thoughts.

Community first

Perhaps most important is not to think of yourself as a marketer for a product. Make the community your top priority and not your product. Have discussions about topics beyond your project and what you hope to achieve. Learn from and teach community members. This sort of authentic interaction is what makes communities an effective way to eventually sell and strengthen a product.

So, think you got what it takes? Are you friendly, excited to meet new people and discuss cool topics? Then go out there and get started! Launch your own subreddit to get some basic experience or build your own Facebook group to learn the core principles of what it means to build and maintain a community. When you get it right, everything will fall into place and that position as community manager will practically be yours.

#CommuniDay

Find new platforms, be creative – Conversations between people exist across the internet, not only on Facebook and LinkedIn. These discussions are an amazing opportunity for you to network, grow your community and/or have a discussion with opinionated community members, all of which are positive things for your outreach efforts.

At first glance, it might seem that creativity shouldn’t have much to do with this process. But an immense amount of creativity can be found in identifying the platforms you can use in unique ways to reach and grow your audience. This requires that you get to know each platform intimately.

The less-creative part lies in keeping up with the new platforms that are popping up all the time. Doing so is crucial, however. Finding a new platform you can use effectively means connecting to a whole new audience. They may be small audiences, to begin with, but even this comes with advantages. Small audiences you can give more attention to are often more active and more loyal that audiences where everyone feels like an insignificant piece in a huge puzzle.

Finding these hole-in-the-wall platforms and utilizing them in a unique way can also be more efficient and effective than going through the usual channels. Everyone expects to see ads on Facebook and quickly skip over almost everything; everyone knows that brands try to get smart on Twitter and go viral in a funny way with a hashtag. Catching people off guard by appearing on an under-utilized platform and using it in a unique way will catch attention better than almost anything else you can do. Don’t limit yourself only to the main, well-known platforms. Look for the conversations that are opportunities for you, wherever they may be.

 

Community management is an evolving field. Luckily, there are lots of communities around the web you can learn from and get help—whether you prefer Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Starbucks has been one of the early adopters in social, local, and mobile technology since the beginning. Starbucks’ Facebook page also integrates with Pinterest to show off dozens of content pieces. These include everything from recipes to historical facts about certain types of coffee. That means their fans are racking up engagement points each time they click on the features. And if there’s one thing the Facebook algorithm loves, it’s engagement.

 

“Your people love being part of a community because some communities offer such a high level of gamification that they are an entertainment venue in themselves”. (#EmissaryGuildCommunity)

What value do brand communities create for the organizations that run them?

Brand communities are the new hot topic in marketing. As competition for attention becomes more and more fierce, establishing a community of value for users is emerging as the number one way to keep up momentum, extend your reach and maximize your operations, particularly in the marketing arena. These communities create three main kinds of value for the businesses and organizations that run them.

Organic growth

Marketing isn’t only about selling a product, it’s about increasing brand awareness and growing your presence among the public. We used to be able to achieve this with billboards, commercials or smart product placement. These are still strategic tools that play their own role, but nothing today is more helpful in spreading the word than personal recommendations, otherwise known as “organic” growth.

Even if your community members don’t have a personal relationship, they are far more likely to trust one another as individuals with no hidden interests than they are willing to blindly believe in a company ad or representative with a clear motive to sell. One person who has had a positive experience with your brand and interacts with it regularly is an infinitely more valuable emissary to the general public than any advertisement.

Community as a resource

But communities aren’t only good as a marketing tool, they also act a resource for your company, saving you time, money and effort. For example, a properly robust community can help you avoid hiring customer service representatives altogether. Community members with intimate knowledge and experience with your products are usually active and helpful in forums when other customers have questions or concerns. This process is also more transparent and trust-based than speaking to a customer service representative.

Community members also effectively expand your team of thinkers. They’ll give you the most useful feedback on your products and make the most valuable suggestions of how to evolve your operations. As customers themselves, they will give you real feedback that you would otherwise have to pry out of customers who wouldn’t necessarily know what they were talking about. A community is like a politician’s constituency – let them guide your development and policy.

Brand loyalty

Maintaining an engaged community also increases brand loyalty so that your new products and ideas automatically have a strong audience of supporters ready to believe in what you have to offer. Starting from the ground up is an experience that’s best to struggle through only once. A loyal community is like a group of friends who, at the very least, give you the benefit of the doubt before rejecting your new projects.

If you haven’t been putting in the effort to get a community started for your brand and products, it’s time to start. These versatile and diverse groups of individuals bring numerous benefits to your business and represent the most effective method of customer retention and public outreach as we head into the future.

#CommuniDay

Create a content plan – We believe that after you learned what your community talks about, what questions they have and what topics will interest them (Check out our tip from last week), you’ll have many ideas for your content.

The content plan is a way to manage pretty much any media that you create and own: written, visual, downloadable … just name it. And you’ll want to manage the hell out of all that content.

You’ll be juggling blogs, different kinds of social media posts, private conversations and maybe even videos or podcasts. The sheer amount of content you’ll be creating already establishes the need for good planning and overall management. Perhaps “content organization” is a more suitable term for this motivation.

But having a good content plan is also about making sure you turn your ideas into reality and then tracking their success – or failure. Let’s say you have good ideas for 5 blog posts. Nothing is more important than setting a schedule and sticking to it. This guarantees that your 5 blogs will see the light of internet exposure.

The next step of being a good content planner is tracking those 5 posts to see what worked and what didn’t. Don’t just plan deadlines for your posts, plan time to review analytics and outcomes to learn what lessons you can and make the appropriate adjustments to your next plans.

The content plan continuously demonstrates who you are and the expertise you bring to your industry. Now it’s your time to put it in order!

 

Community management is an evolving field. Luckily, there are lots of communities around the web you can learn from and get help—whether you prefer Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

This week we wanted to recommend Hootsuite Facebook page. Hootsuite community is where you can meet people who are so passionate about a product. Explore their community programs, read interesting articles and find out how you bring your brand to the globe.

 

“Your people love being part of a community because some brands have such a deep resonance with customers that being associated with the brand is a way to assert personal identity “.(#EmissaryGuildCommunity)

How to use gamification to increase social media engagement

We, humans, are biologically competitive. In fact, the rules of survival of the fittest have put all living creatures in a competitive stance against rivals – rivals for food, love, and territory. The advanced development of the human brain has extended that natural instinct for competition to more sophisticated areas like business, politics and even just fun games.

Many of the best marketing strategies and techniques rely on appealing to our core biological instincts to subconsciously attract us to a brand or product; gamification is the strategy that plays off of our natural instinct for competition. It’s a strategy that’s commonly used in education as well. Few children would choose to read from a history book for two hours, but inject the same information into a game model with incentives, prizes, and a competitive edge and they’ll be more than happy to play all day.

The same principle applies to business and marketing. No one besides an investor wants to hear the academic pitch for your product, your brand and how it all works. But adding incentives, rewards, and competition through gamification can not only increase interest in and awareness of your brand but also boost engagement on social platforms, where a vast majority of brand outreach is happening today – the arena where businesses themselves compete for the attention of consumers. Here’s how.

The real key is to understand the two different types of social media users – members of your online community that can be reached and motivated with different forms of gamification, but who all play an important part in organically growing your brand and increasing engagement on social media.

  •         Socializers –Once upon a time, people used to meet in person to discuss things. But, with access to the entire global community online and all the varying ideas and thoughts they can contribute, a vast majority of the population are on social media just to socialize. The best way to reach this audience is to start a conversation through gamification. Ask questions in your social media posts and maybe even add incentives and rewards for answering correctly or giving the most thoughtful or most popular responses.
  •         Achievers – These users represent a much smaller portion of the online community, but they are also among the easiest to motivate with basic gamification. That’s because they’re instinctively ambitious. They want status and recognition as valuable members of your community. Give public shout-outs to the individuals who contribute the most or create a hierarchy of users so they can continuously have a goal to aim for and compete with each other in levels of engagement.

And these represent only the most straight-forward and obvious methods of gamification. Some brands build proper games. What’s certain though is that some form of gamification is going to help keep your audience engaged, loyal and interested in your product.

And why is social media engagement so important? Well, that’s probably a topic for another post, but let’s just say that a million followers on social media mean nothing if they don’t interact with and show an active interest in your posts.

#CommuniDay

Know your audience – There are about 2.27 billion active monthly users on Facebook and 326 million on Twitter. It’s likely your potential community members are already on social media talking about things that are relevant to you.

That’s why social media is such a great place to start looking for and building your own audience. Never before have so many consumers been gathered in the same arena or made available such useful information about themselves.

In the past, if you sold something like an energy sports drink, you could advertise at a sports game with a big banner and rest easy with the knowledge that you reached a few thousand people who were probably interested in your product.

But sports arenas are small compared to potential audiences on social media. Hundreds of the people in the crowd of that game probably don’t attend sporting events often and aren’t really interested in products relating to sports. Many others prefer to watch sports rather than play, so why would they want your drink? And no matter where you put your banner in the arena, only about half of the audience will see it.

Social media brings the advantage of being able to reach a greater number of consumers in a much more targeted fashion, and not just with impersonal ads! One of the best ways to build your own community through social media is to engage in groups and post with hashtags that focus on areas of interest related to your product. This more human interaction makes social media engagement far more effective than old banner ads.

When you’re starting a community, you need to fish where the fish are. Searching social media is how you find them.

 

Community management is an evolving field. Luckily, there are lots of communities around the web you can learn from and get help—whether you prefer Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

This week we wanted to recommendSocial Media and Wine“. This is a group for all social media managers who work in the food & wine industries or are just major foodies. This group skews very international and especially Australian-centric.

 

“Your people love being part of a community because in communities there is always someone doing something amazing, which can have the effect of inspiring them to go harder and achieve bigger goals”. (#EmissaryGuildCommunity)