However, social media's benefit is that it allows direct conversations between the community and the organization. You must differentiate yourself and take advantage of this opportunity.
Let's see how certain brands, even young ones, manage to trigger fan behavior in their community.
Choose the Conversation to Engage In
Your team (yourself or your CM) must be present in the conversations at least one hour after each post until the conversations die.
It's a time to devote to the community entirely. If your post gets a lot of feedback, react to the most interesting. If it stimulates only a little, restart the conversation and engage even more with the few people who took the time to interact. Too few organizations effectively manage their conversations—lack of resources, lack of awareness, or fear of contact with the community.
You'll find contributions or responses to your content in the comments section:
Perfectly aligned with your editorial charter and your values:
If possible, highlight this contribution with a well-written comment, referring to a previous conversation with this person. Perhaps add an actual photo or a personalized GIF, proof that you've spent time responding. If you're on Twitter, you can retweet: it's always important to have your message conveyed by people other than yourself.
Positives with potential for engagement:
Bring the conversation to the core of your values, using keywords. In the next post, you may find this person in the first category!
Positive but without added value: "Like" if you're on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Otherwise, do not react.
Negative or detrimental:
If the person has a fundamental concern with your organization (after-sales service, annoying societal subject), you must respond and manage this exchange. If necessary, offer to continue the conversation in private.
If the message is insulting or contains unwanted advertising, you can hide or delete it (on Facebook and Instagram).
If it's just negative without being insulting and doesn't question your products, message, or attitude, ignore it.
Modify these options according to your challenges.
Cultivate Your Community Using a Matrix
By following this model, you can transform:
Committed community members into very committed members.
Interested members into committed members.
And sometimes, you can even defuse conflicts by merely taking the time to respond. This way, you can turn opponents into allies.
Take a look at this matrix, often used in change management:
The level of engagement is on the y-axis.
The person's level of antagonism is on the x-axis. The more the person is with you (the organization), the farther left you place them. The more they are against you, the farther right you place them.
Let's apply the matrix to community management. First of all, most people are going to be passive, indifferent/skeptical, or irregular. Sometimes you'll find "insiders" among the "irregular" fans, such as employees, partners, or relatives - those who support you from time to time with a simple retweet.
You will be able to engage some of these passive and irregular fans with quality content and your community management skills.
What do I do about trolls, disappointed customers, or disappointed fans?
Here you have an opportunity to redeem yourself with responsive, efficient, and friendly customer service. And if you can offer a little something extra as a bonus, go ahead!
By empowering the social media team to promptly and systematically reimburse a dissatisfied customer, your organization will move faster to handle its after-sales service and create much more satisfaction.
Now let's take a look at the golden triangle: these people who are very committed but are not necessarily fully aligned with your organization. These are the ones you can learn the most from. They will make you grow, challenge your content in a caring way, and generate interesting discussions. These are your scholarly fans.
That's why you have to appeal to your #1 fans: the people already won over, and encourage them to share their true vision of the brand. You will most likely discover that they are less aligned than you think. Ask for user-generated content (UGC). Give them space to express themselves freely, and they will also be happier to drive the discussions.
In our experience, we can find only one example. This fan was among the most committed; he was a #1 Reebok fan. A great connoisseur of the history of the brand, he's a true product encyclopedia. By recognizing him and inviting him to certain events (as if he were an influencer), and having honest conversations with him, he went from being a fan to a valued contributor. He provided value to the rest of the community - a value the brand could not have brought by itself.
Reebok France set out to evoke the present and the future of the brand, whereas this fan had a vision focused on history and links to styles available only in certain countries, as evidenced by his collection:
Have a concrete idea of what a contribution can be:
Perfectly aligned with your values.
Positive, with a potential for engagement.
Positive, but without added value.
Negative or detrimental (with several scenarios).
It's crucial to be present in conversations, which is a very strategic step, so you must plan it carefully.
You will then recruit people who understand your challenges to apply this strategy daily.
Rarely in the history of marketing have we been able to have such direct contact with our community. Take advantage of it!
Don't forget to complete the fourth part of your social media marketing mix strategy to define your posts.