The social media sphere is crackling with buzz words like “content management” and “community management.” But what do these phrases really mean? How can content and community be managed?
First, all those updates on a favorite brand’s social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and blog had to be written. Someone from the company or someone they’ve hired is writing that content. The words don’t magically appear on the page at an appointed time with information and links all ready to go.
Recently in our blog about having a good social media presence we talked about content, consistency and channel.
The three rules of content management are:
- Content style must be appropriate for the channel (i.e. Facebook, Twitter and blog content all sound a little different even if they are sharing similar concepts)
- Content must be informative, demonstrate knowledge of the brand’s subject area, and be something with which customers want to interact. (We usually suggest the general guideline of 80 percent be informative, engaging content and 20 percent updates about the company itself)
- Content must be consistent in the number of updates, timing of updates and tone.
So how does a company accomplish this? Strategically, of course. Blogs and updates on various social media platforms shouldn’t be “when you have time” or “when you think about it.” They need to be thought out and planned.
Consider this idea: Thought leaders in any industry don’t become so without lots of planning and strategy in the way they present themselves.
Effective content management establishes a plan for the updates including a schedule for topics and an efficient means to deliver the content such as scheduling tools including Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. We sometimes hear people say they don’t like the idea of scheduled updates because it’s not social or “natural” enough. That’s where community management comes in!
An individual or company can have well-written, informative and interesting updates in their social media, but it won’t do the brand much good if it isn’t engaging with its customers (or potential customers). This means interacting with them on social media including:
- posting unscheduled updates as necessary and appropriate;
- answering customer questions;
- sharing information from other users that supports the community in general or provides more information about your industry;
- thanking customers for sharing the information being broadcast;
- responding to customer comments; and
- finding other ways to engage in social media.
Creating content and only managing that is the equivalent of talking at instead of with customers.
We try to explain it like this:
Excellent content is vital to showing you have the know-how to meet the customers’ needs.
Excellent sense of community is vital to showing you care about meeting the customers’ needs and about their general well-being.
Community management is more than just interaction, however. It also involves measuring and tracking the success of your social media plan. There are a number of ways to do this including anecdotal evidence, analytics programs (such as Google Analytics) and the various statistics offered by the various social media platforms.
What we offer
The Belford Group offers content management, community management or a combination of both for our social media clients.
For the client that feels comfortable interacting with their customers on social media we offer content management services including researching, writing and scheduling the updates.
For the client who recognizes that he or she doesn’t have time to manage the social media community or doesn’t feel comfortable with technology, we provide both content management and community management where we share information, answer questions and provide other interaction with customers and the community at large.
The Belford Group is an experienced image-building marketing and website development agency, with more than a decade spent providing creative marketing and advertising solutions to fit any budget and any medium.
Call us. We’d love to hear from you.