The Rules (for good community management)
Community management rules for those who want to build a great Facebook fan engagement strategy
Showing that you care about your fans is a great way to engage them in your community. You need to understand your fans (find out about this here). But what’s the best way to actually go about it? Here are some tried and tested ‘rules’ community managers use to capture the hearts of their fans.
- Continuity. In social media, out of sight is out of mind. To create attachment, you need to give attention little and often. Regular content updates are a good way of reminding fans that you appreciate them and want to keep them informed. But good community management practice means not over doing it as if you flood your fans with irrelevant info, you will soon see your “unlikes” climbing.
- Variety. Relationships are built on constancy, but don’t let your fans get bored! You can spice things up by providing a variety of experiences (e.g. different kinds of campaigns).
- Exclusivity. Make your fans feel special by offering exclusive value – for example, unique tips and hints, free samples of your products or a chance to win an amazing prize.
- Affinity. Different fans have different levels of engagement to your brand community, and content that is particularly effective at attracting new members may not be the best way to reward fans who already love you. If you offer prizes or giveaways, for example, an expensive holiday can get new fans to sign up, while fans who already love you could be thrilled to receive a branded token of your appreciation. Your campaigns can combine both.
- Virality. Encourage your fans to help you grow through Viral Marketing. A great relationship will naturally generate positive word of mouth, but you can also help fans spread the word about your brand through campaigns inviting them to ‘tell a friend’, share content or vote for them in a contest you have organised.
- User-generated content. Let your fans shine and show them that their contribution is welcome. Providing a forum for their ideas and content not only helps keep your community alive but also ensures you reach your fans’ wider community, since any content they provide will be posted on their friends’ walls.
- Synergy. Use everything you’ve got! You can create more impact by coordinating communications across different channels. Your Facebook page can support events and campaigns promoted through more traditional media, and vice-versa.
See the section, “What do fans want?“, to get more information on the different types of fans who might be visiting your pages and how viral marketing mean something different for each category. Its a basic part of the community management playbook that involves putting yourself in the place of your fans when defining your engagement activities.
Remember that some fans are already attached to your brand and will talk highly of you in their community. Others might be interested but you haven’t reached them yet. In between are members that might need a little more attention to get involved. (See: What do fans want?) A successful relationship strategy addresses these different levels of maturity with a multifaceted approach.