Being a community manager, whether you’re in-house or at an agency, requires you to have a multitude of skills under your belt. A belt that that is constantly expanding to fit in all the changes with not only social media itself, but also the community you’re engaging with. You need to be able to move from platform to platform knowing how to communicate on each, with each following – and if you’re an agency CM you have to learn how to jump from brand to brand too, this can mean from retailers, to an FMCG and back again….
You catch the drift.
With so many different aspects of communication to consider it can be difficult to hit the right tone whilst still remaining on brand and resonating with your audience. With so many aspects of retail forming a social presence online there is no shortage of brands to monitor and take inspiration from, but it’s important to keep some key aspects of community management for retail and apply them to whatever wonderfully creative tone you decide to take with your community, whether you’re going through a rebrand or working with a start up. After all, Converse may be one of the biggest retail brands on social but their communities are riddled with spam and negative comments…
Extend the conversation
We all know extending conversations is vital but in the retail sector it is a good idea to be nosy – ask all the questions, entice feedback. The more you can pass on the better you look and the more you can help others in their business (the designers will especially thank you for this).
When you’re hitting fans up for feedback encourage them to get a full review over to you, especially if they blog, to share their opinions – bad and good! Every piece of feedback can go on to shape the brand and can be reused as a tasty piece of content in future.
Remember your fans
If you’re working with a popular brand you will have people coming back time and time again for new collections or product releases. Remember these people. They are your brand champions and are the most likely to tell their friends about you – and if possible remember their favourites and what they have their eye on next! (even if their constant @ mentions drive you a bit crazy sometimes…).
Go the extra mile
The way to stand out on social media in your sector? Do more than the fan expects. When they take the time out to comment on your page/timeline/board they at least respect a response – but if you take the time out to find their nearest store or stock left then you will definitely stick in their minds as a go-to brand for their next purchase!
Encourage the community identity
Loyal customers are spurred on by feeling part of a ‘tribe’ – so if they adopt a nickname for themselves then encourage it, and making a special effort to ‘welcome’ people to it. The key point here is not to force it – you can’t MAKE your fans take on a personality you’ve created.
Know your products
Their release dates, what size they go up to – or at least have a bible to hand where you can easily get this information, the community expects you to know as much as they do!
Monitor indirect mentions
Keep an eye on the indirect brand name mentions across the web – even if its just a casual conversation between 2 users, get your foot in and let them know any help is on hand.
Be aware of sensitive topics
If you’re monitoring a clothing brand or lingerie especially then it is important you monitor anyone that could be being inappropriate or making harmful comments and see that they are banned right away – if you’re building a community it is important fans feel safe engaging in it!
Over to you
What do you think? What are your best practice tips for the retail sector?