What’s the purpose of community management?

You may happen to be a person in charge of a product, say, a video game. It could be just starting, or it could already be present on the market for a while, and you wonder whether community management’s the thing you should look into. I’ve learned that community management helps with achieving following stuff.

NOTE: Due to community management’s nature there are multiple ways in which you may achieve your objectives, be it with social media, Zendesk (or other customer service software), forums and so on. There’s no one best way to utilize these tools and it’s all up to you or your employee.

The main purpose of community management is to keep your customer retention rates high

As it’s widely known, it’s often easier and almost always cheaper to keep an already existing customer involved with your product, than to attract a new one to it. And, if your product is based on a long time usage earning model (like a freemium game with in-app purchases), it’s even more crucial to have your customers present for as long as possible (if they purchase stuff from you, or deliver some other value to your company or other users). There’s a ton of ways this could be achieved with community management and I’ll describe some of them below.

Gathering feedback

There’s no absolutely perfect product. Even Google search engine sometimes lags and it’s, I’d say, as good as it gets. Gathering feedback from your customers is extremely rewarding, if you want to improve their experience. And, of course, it’s them who’d be able to provide you the best possible feedback, since they are the ones who use your product and will be able to provide info which would be unobtainable under different, sterile testing conditions. However, sending your users forms is usually met with a low response rate and people often tend to give filling them up halfway through, because they seem to be too lenghty for them and there’s no person (or anything else which feels tangible) who’s asking them questions – just a soulless (although precise) form.

Here’s an example of a feedback gathering post. Although, it wasn’t precise, I was able to gather about 3,5 pages of valuable points.
Keep in mind that CTA and a reward in form of possibly sending their insight to the devs, in order to have the proposed changes introduced.

The thing with people is that they enjoy having opinions and if they feel like their opinion is important and that there’s someone to hear them, they will surely share it as best as they could. Sometimes it’s not going to be stellar, but still, there’s a ton of good stuff to gather from them.

Of course, such feedback could be used in order to improve your product or to figure out which changes or features you’ve introduced are considered valuable or not by the community around it. This could lead to easier development of new features incorporating desired characteristics.

Engaging your customers

A lot of the companies which I’ve worked with had products which demanded frequent engagement of the user base – mostly in forms of events, sales or whatnot. However, community management helped with engaging them outside the product. Of course, there’s a lot of community-oriented activities you can provide within your product (in case of games), however, there are many ways in which you can engage your users outside of your product, which is basically like waving towards a friend across a busy street. You can use such engagement to, for example, enhance your brand’s visibility, to make them have fun or to get some user generated content.

Here’s an engaging post with a CTA asking for questions for a Q&A with the main designer of the game.
Getting user generated content

One of the principles of social media is to be driven by content generated by users. It can range in many different directions, be it memes, guides and a lot else. UGC is often priceless from a social media marketer’s point of view, since it’s often sincere, product oriented, will surely engage at least a part of your community and often it’s posted to the public before you become aware of it, so you are able to see how it performs if you plan to use it in your communication. UGC often drives other people to generate and share their own content, which is surely good and will lead to increased visibility of your brand, and will also make people think that your brand allows people to express their ideas freely.

Here’s on of the UG memes posted to one of the groups I manage. The girls behind the wheelchair says „How do you like Taern?” while the other responds with one of the most hated lines on the chat. It’s quite an inside meme, but people really liked it.
Enhancing your customer service

I’ve stumbled upon a forum dedicated to a Linux distro, or a JS framework, I can’t recall exactly. I’m not quite sure why I found myself there for the first place. Nevertheless, it was filled with questions asked by users – old and new ones alike and answers provided to them were written almost exclusively by people who were not a part of the product’s team. I learned later that the forum had been created in order to be the only line of customer support for users of the software who opted for its free version. This was an eye opener for me, since it not only was a great way to diversify product’s plans, but also to force community into engagement by a smart design decision.

There’s a high probability that your customer service specialists will encounter a ton of silly or really simple questions when they work and community management could make them have less mundane work to do. Users are often quicker in providing proper answers to ones in need and, if the problem turns to be unsolvable by them, they will redirect the person with an issue straight to your support, which will result in having more satisfied customers.

A ton of other stuff

I still have a ton of stuff to do today, so I’ll just mention a few of the other uses of community management:

  • Improving communication with your customers,
  • looking for new employees,
  • remarketing campaigns,
  • optimisation of monetisation (sorry for accidental rhyming),
  • curating community leaders who could help you with making your product more fun and engaging.

If you have any questions regarding community management, feel free to ask them in comments or write me an email to jakub.mamulski@gmail.com

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