I wasn’t alive in 1978, but over 40 years later the funky bassline, uplifting horns and Cheryl Lynn’s soulful voice still put a smile on my face and movement in my feet.

And while I may have (unfortunately) been born too late for disco, I was born right in time for social media.

Now, Cheryl Lynn may or may not have known this, but her lyrics actually provide the ultimate guide to social media community management.

It’s simple – you’ve got to be real.

Real about:

What you fiiiiiind-ah. What you feeeeeel now. What you knoooooow-ah.

Be real about what you find.

When comments are left on your ads, your page is tagged in other content, or you come across a mention of your brand while scrolling through your social feed on the bus home, it’s time to get real. Positive or negative, this is firsthand feedback you’re getting from the public, from your customers or from anonymous trolls on Twitter. It can be invaluable information or irrelevant individuals, but it must still be assessed and actioned. It’s easy to push content out and ignore everything else – but baby, that ain’t keepin’ it real. And it could mean a missed opportunity to do something awesome or mitigate a crisis before it happens.

Be real about what you feel.

Being open and using emotive language about how you feel – as a brand and as someone working for that brand – is the best way to connect with your audience. Not just in the copy of your content, but in the comments too. But what’s that, Cheryl? Oh, right. It’s got to be real. Don’t force emotions when it’s not applicable. Chances are, your audience will find out when you’re overhyping something or know if your sympathy is not well placed.

Be real about what you know.

Community management can be a tough business, especially when things go wrong for a brand. The best way to manage these situations is with honesty and transparency. If your crisis came from human error, a product issue or the unknown, in almost all cases it’s best to be real. Give your audience information and tell them the steps you’re taking to resolve it.

When social media marketing is pay-to-play, an online community of brand advocates could almost charge royalties.

Having an active and engaged audience should be music to marketers’ ears. We know the power of WOM is far greater than the power of advertising, and when social media marketing is pay-to-play, an online community of brand advocates could almost charge royalties.

Keeping them engaged, listening to their feedback, and growing their number means your content will perform better, your brand sentiment and consideration will improve, and ultimately they will help drive your business results.

But still, too often, we focus heavily on the content we’re putting out and not enough on the conversations that are happening on our posts, pages, in groups and across platforms.

Why?

Well for one, the comments section can be a scary place. Unlike broadcast media, when we talk to our audience, they talk back directly. They’ll tell you if you made a typo, if your music taste is outdated, if your blog is rubbish, if your new product sucks, if your title is click-bait, or they’ll just straight up tell you how much they dislike your organisation.

But sometimes they’re nice too. They’ll laugh at your pun, they’ll reply with a “YAAAAAS”, they’ll share a positive story about your company/employees/product and sometimes they’ll even do your job for you by moderating the negative comments.

The trick to having an audience that does more of the latter? Listen to Cheryl Lynn.

If you follow her advice and be real with your audience, and regularly look to engage with them, you’ve got a much better chance of fostering a solid online community. And when that happens…

Ooh, your (community) love is for real now.

Want to add some disco to your social media marketing? Let’s get real, together.

Slide into our DMs

Michael Waddups

Michael Waddups

Associate Planner at Red Engine SCC

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