The world of social media is continuously growing. If before your marketing plan was just handled by two to three people, nowadays you can see that everybody in your organization is participating in promoting your brand, addressing issues and keeping your target audiences happy at all times.
In his presentation at the Social Media Success Summit, web strategist Jeremiah Owyang has discussed the importance of creating and implementing scalable models in managing brand communities. While social media is its early stages, its fast and immense growth becomes more and more difficult to handle each day due to different expanding factors, from the proliferation of new innovations in social networks to that of continuously increasing social media populations.
Understanding the Core and Peripheral Management
Most businesses start their brand management tactics from the core, meaning all operations are centralized to just one office. Well, this is common, especially for companies who are just starting out, or those who are new to social media.
Core management is simple and organic, as problems, concerns and issues of the community are addressed directly by the people assigned to do the brand management operations. Working from the core also helps in nurturing communities, particularly when your goal is to create a buzz for your brand.
However, the power and effectiveness of core management begins to wane as business operations expand and upgrade all their departments. With such advancements, may be it in technology, quality of service or new package offers, new communities arise and start to make their own noises, and this is where the trouble begins.
While core management is able to maintain its stronghold in the communities has initially nurtured, its effects do not always reach the outer peripheries, including that of the newly developed communities. With that said, there rises the need for new tactics which are able to handle peripheral communities and ensure that the quality of service they get is just as good as those near the core.
In essence, decentralization of brand management becomes vital to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty as the community continues to grow.
Building Scalable Models for Effective Brand Management
As you can see, the social media environment is very fluid; while your goal as a company is to grow both in terms of customer loyalty and profit, there are instances in which you have to concentrate on a budding audience particularly when you have new offers to release to the market. By using scalable models of brand management, you are able to apply the same system on your different social media tactics and eventually hit your objectives the way you want to.
Scalable Model 1: FAQ Page
Brand management will never be easy if you don’t have an FAQ page present. This page serves to address all the common inquiries being asked by your audience on a general level. It serves more than just an answer sheet, but as a primer to the what why your business exists, from its products and services to the operations that concern its target market.
The FAQ page helps a lot in minimizing customer service expenses by up to 50%, as inquirers no longer have to make the effort to contact your CS team and would rather check for answers here. This page also boosts objectivity of your business operations, as mistakes in answering client questions are dramatically reduced.
The FAQ page provides direct answers, making it the framework for your brand management strategy. Once you have this launched, it would be easier to handle your communities both from the core to the periphery.
Scalable Model 2: Let the Community Answer
Rather than extracting representatives from the different departments of your company to answer the questions of your audiences, it is a way more effective solution to let the community respond to their inquiries.
There are many benefits of letting the community take part in your brand management plan, and these include:
- The community is able to answer inquiries faster than having reps to do the job.
- Conversations are more casual, which makes it easier for newbies and experts to connect.
- Saves more time and money for your company.
Allowing the community to answer inquiries may be moderated by assigning just one person who’s an expert in customer service operations; that way you still remain in charge of building your brand community even if your supporters and influencers take a major part in answering questions and inquiries.
Scalable Model 3: Integrating Social Media Networks
Integrating your networks is likewise very important in managing your brand in the social media environment. These are lines where your communities connect, converse and converge. Basically through integration, you are able to build pillars of support from the communities you have formed, and at the same time you open more doors for interested users to connect with you.
Attending to customer needs becomes much easier when your networks are integrated. This is because they can get in touch with you anytime they want, wherever they may be, or whichever network they are linked with.
Scalable Model 4: Formulating a Customer Advocacy Program
When your business has a community, this means you have fans, supporters, influencers-and you cannot just have them as is. You have to recognize their efforts because they are the ones who are continuously building your brand. By getting in touch with your fans, you get the reward of being not just a mere brand for profit, but the brand that people, your market, can trust.
Forming a customer advocacy program not only provides your biggest supporters the voice they deserve; they also become your CS reps without the need for extra spending. Also, through such programs, you are able to pinpoint and interact with your brand influencers, and gear them towards promoting your objectives. After all, it’s their word that other fans mostly take, not necessarily yours.
As a company you have to form not just a strategy, but a scalable model of brand management. For one, you are dealing with a growing audience, and not being able to take charge of your community will only result to messy customer service operations which may lead to the downfall of your business. This is because when your community starts to complain about your products and services (and everything else in between), they give off a very negative impact to your reputation in the industry.
While the solution is not always giving them what they want, you have to make sure that your audiences’ questions are answered and their qualms clarified. By nailing these points, customer satisfaction becomes your biggest reward.
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