Community Manager Appreciation Day – Are you listening?!
Monday the 27th of January brought the fifth Community Manager Appreciation Day, making now the perfect time to once again revisit the concept and evaluate its importance.
Just to put the subject into a quick round of statistics, a recent survey concluded that individuals who are members of online communities visited 900% more websites, stayed on websites for 500% longer and accounted for no less than 65% of all sales made online. It’s really no surprise therefore that community management has become a fundamentally important business role in organisations of all sizes and persuasions all over the world.
Socially Astute for one offers outsourced social media packages that include a community manager as standard, having fully acknowledged the importance of the role.
Building Loyalty and a Sense of Community
Accelerating competition and a generally fast-paced lifestyle is making it more difficult than ever for businesses to make genuine connections with their customers. In order for worthwhile connections to be made, the barrier must be broken between business and client so that both are on the same level and feel of equal importance – that is the role of the community manager.
"There's a lot more competition than there used to be," Nick Petrie, deputy head of news development at The Times told Journalism.co.uk this week.
"And so building up a relationship with your readers – or in our case subscribers – and making them feel like they're a part of your community rather than a fly-by-night visitor, means you're far more likely to develop a loyalty."
"That's incredibly important nowadays because there's a lot less reasons to be loyal – people have a lot more choice."
Metro’s Richard Moynihan added his voice to talk about how monitoring and listening to feedback is just as important to any feedback as it is for a newsroom to monitor the popularity of its stories.
"These are the people who are consuming your content or product and are going to be doing so in the future," said the company’s community and social media manager.
"So in exactly the same way as it's important to look at analytics of how stories have done, and do more of what works, it's the same with community. If you're not actually listening to people, listening to what they think, and not getting feedback from them, you're essentially flying blind."
His sentiments are also shared by New York Time community manager Bassey Etim, who also spoke with Journalism.co.uk this week about Monday’s Appreciation Day.
"You only have one comment to convince someone to read the comments," she told the website.
"Most people, when they're going through the comments section, they only read one, maybe two, maybe three comments. So you've really got to make sure that the first thing you're showing people is of high quality."
Listening, Not Just Hearing
The takeaway from executives at the very top of the industry seems to centre around the premise of learning the difference between hearing a target audience and actually listening to it. The latter represents the cornerstone of community management as to listen and respond to an audience is to make yourself a part of it and break the barrier between the two entities.
I for one am passionate about the role of a community management and ensuring that as a B2B organisation you can get acccess to a great one. For any business who needs help getting started but is confident that they are ready to start 'listening' then feel free to get in touch with the team at Socially Astute or myself to find out how all of the above can be put into practical use for the benefit of your business.