So you’ve made it. All those years of messing around with moribund social media platforms, telling your pals that Diaspora was going to be the next big thing and recording positively hideous YouTube videos have finally paid off. Someone has decided to give you a wage to manage their online presence.
But hold your horses. There’s more to this game than just knowing how target a Facebook post. Here are a few things worth knowing before launching yourself head first into the world of community management…
Get to know your brand
I promise your ability to send a perfectly timed pithy tweet will come in handy at some point, but day-to-day you’ll be trying to engage your followers and answer their questions. You can’t do that if you don’t know what you’re talking about.
How much you need to know will depend on your audience and the organisation. Work for a small company that specialises in making wingnuts and chances are you’ll be able to develop a fairly forensic knowledge of tightening and loosening your product. Work at a national chain of supermarkets? Learn a little about a lot. Arm yourself with enough to do the basics and make sure you know who in your organisation to contact for the specifics.
You’ll never please everyone
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in few places is this more true than the world of digital marketing. Everyone has their own opinions, their own tastes and their own expectations of how your brand should conduct itself online.
This doesn’t simply extend to content that you’ll share, but everything from use of language upward. And the fact is that every which way you turn you’re probably going to be told by someone that you’re doing it wrong. It’s easy to get discouraged when something you post gets slammed as inappropriate or just plain incorrect, even by a lone individual, but if it chimes with your brand voice, it’s engaging and the vast majority of responses are positive then go with it.
You’ll get stuff wrong
We’re a young industry. There is no how-to guide to ensure you become a social media star. You’ll have good days and bad days. You’ll send out killer tweets and you’ll send out messages that will make you cringe.
You’ll also make mistakes. Some small, like a typo in a rushed response to a customer, others slightly larger. There’s not a great deal you can to do avoid the occasional misstep, it comes with the territory, but how you react when you do get it wrong can go a long way to repairing any damage.
KLM’s award-winning social media team spectacularly misjudged the mood of their followers during last year’s World Cup. Their response was not to hide or to make excuses, but to apologise. Even the best are still learning.
Let the trolls starve
It’s almost cliché to say it, but the old adage still stands — Don’t feed the trolls.
There’s nothing to be gained from entering into a dialogue with an account that has no interest in a civil discussion. At best you’ll have wasted your time and at worst you’ll look positively foolish. It may be tempting, particularly if their angle of attack is so ridiculous you believe you can dispatch them with a single response but the only truly successful tactic is to ignore them. Deprive them of attention and they’ll soon get tired.