Managing a Community on Twitter

Managing a community on Twitter - #TwitterSmarter chat with Chelsea Bradley - January 21, 2021

If you’ve been on our #TwitterSmarter chat, you’ll know how engaged everyone is. The enthusiasm is infectious. That’s what a good community looks like—everyone’s happy welcome newbies and they go the extra mile to help each other. But none of that happens without Madalyn who puts in tremendous effort to nurture the #TwitterSmarter community. And that’s what we wanted to talk about on our chat this week.

We invited social media manager and strategist Chelsea Bradley to discuss how brands can manage their Twitter communities successfully. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Chelsea Bradley
Topic: Managing a Community on Twitter
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What is a community on Twitter?

A community is a group of people who gather to have conversations about common interests. As our guest articulated so well, it’s not a place to make one post and then go away to do something else. Instead, a Twitter community is where you make connections and develop lifelong friendships.

Marianne said it beautifully—a community is a tribe. Not only do people share interests, but they also support each other’s work like family.

Q2: Why should brands have a community?

Most of us think a community is developed from scratch. But as Chelsea pointed out, every brand has a community whether or not they realize it.

For instance, even if you don’t think you have a community as active as #TwitterSmarter, you’ll still have a group of people who talk about your brand on social media. That’s your community. And it’s important to engage with that community and nurture them because they provide you with the data essential for you to improve your business. For example, not only is your community giving you insights on what you need to fix, but they’re also telling you what you do well. They are your cheerleaders—leverage their knowledge to grow your business.

As Jim added, your community is vital because they spread the word about you. People remember how a brand makes them feel, and they share it with their friends and family. That’s why you should have an actively engaged community.

Q3: Why is it important to manage and nurture your community?

As we mentioned in the previous answer, your community gives you the information you need to succeed. Make use of it—engage with them and make them feel seen and heard. If they’ve taken the time to respond to you and show their support, it’s only decent for you to reciprocate. Not doing so will send all the wrong signals to your community.

Jake drew an excellent parallel to drive the point home. Engaging with your community is like nurturing a relationship. The more effort and time you spend on nurturing your relationships, the longer they’ll be around.

Juliann added how nurturing your community opens up further discussions. Every business needs to hear and consider varied perspectives and feedback to offer a well-rounded service. When you put in the effort to listen to your community and encourage these conversations, you’ll hear a lot of interesting and helpful points of view.

Q4: What are some ways to keep your community engaged?

A good way to keep your community interested is to voluntarily initiate and participate in conversations. It’s great to respond to notifications and join in on threads people have tagged you on. But it’s even more beneficial to jump in on related conversations and showcase your expertise. Not only will you help someone, but you’ll also make good friends.

Masooma shared some more ideas such as showing up consistently, offering value with every post, hosting giveaways, and engaging in one-on-one conversations.

But of course, the most important of all is to listen, as Laura explained. When you listen and observe intently, you’ll identify how you can help your community members. And when you know that, go out there and be yourself.

Q5: How can you measure success in community management?

It’s important to realize early on in your Twitter journey that community management isn’t an overnight job. Rome wasn’t built in a day because it takes years to build up a community that’s willing and able to build a Rome.

Measure your success by observing how much engagement your posts have received, and the volume of user-generated content like reviews and comments. If you manage your community well enough, you’ll naturally see an increase in the number of people responding to your posts and their frequency of participating in your conversations.

As Alyx from Charlie Appel Agency pointed out, you can also ask your audience to see how engaged they are. Run polls, ask open-ended questions, conduct short events, and Twitter chats to encourage participation.

Q6: When is it appropriate to use canned responses?

A canned response is an automated response to a question. In many cases, businesses use canned responses for FAQs and support messages. However, canned messages are obviously fake. Some bad canned responses don’t even directly address your audience’s question. As our guest so nicely said: every customer deserves a real response. Take the effort to type out a personal message.

In specific circumstances, such as a Facebook chat message, you might be using automated chatbots as first responders to customer questions. In those cases, automated responses are acceptable as long as you provide helpful information and a human response as soon as possible.

Kelly shared some examples of acceptable canned responses we see every day. These are dedicated for common questions that always have the same answer such as hours of operation, return and exchange policies, shipping charges, etc. Always be cognizant of where you place your canned responses.

Q7: Should brand community managers engage in conversations as themselves?

It varies from brand to brand, but in most cases, it’s a good practice to sign off tweets with the manager’s name. Sometimes, as our guest explained, once you’ve built a strong relationship with your community, you and your brand might be more comfortable to engage on a more personal level.

As Rachel from Express Writers reminded us, if you’re engaging as a brand, even if you use your name, you have to follow your brand’s tone and social media practices. You are, after all, still representing the business—be professional.

Q8: Name some brands that have great community management strategies.

To have a good community management strategy, you have to be authentic and consistent. That means you can even get away without having a stringent strategy—sometimes the more planning you do, the less freedom you have to be spontaneous. Keep that in mind when engaging with your community. Even though you’ll still need a social media strategy, your community management can be a bit more… natural.

As for brands that do a great job of managing their community, our chat goers’ favorites included SEMRush, WinnieSun, EmailHour, Aviation Gin, Wendy’s, Content Marketing Institute, Hootsuite, Buzzsumo, and—as a special mention from our friend at Advance Urban Marketing—our #TwitterSmarter regulars, Wholesome Media.

Well, folks. That’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading and for more insight from our chat with Chelsea check out this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. We’d love for you to join our conversation—tune into #TwitterSmarter at 1pm every Thursday. See you then!


About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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