When brands think about community management, they usually think about addressing customer issues, complaints, and crises. These are incredibly important to handle, but what is equally (if not more) important are customers that are happy with the product or service and take time to post or reach out. Unfortunately, many customers’ positive posts are ignored by brands, which means these brands are missing out on opportunities to deepen relationships, show that they’re listening, and give their customers a sense of their personality. Here are a few ways community managers can use social media to elevate their most loyal customers.
1. Identify Your Top Fans
Since social platforms can have hundreds, thousands, or millions of followers, how can you easily pick out the ones on top? How you identify your top fans depends on what you find important. Perhaps you plan to seek out top engagers, fans with large followings, or even customers that are just really loyal to your brand. The good news is, you can’t really go wrong with who you choose to elevate.
On Facebook natively, the platform will identify who your Page’s top fans are with “Top Fan Badges.” Users can earn these badges by being the most engaging members of the community, and then they can accept their badges. Accepted badges are then visible in the Community tab of the Page.
For other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, you will need to do more manual work to identify and build a list of top followers. This is where acting as a community manager is key—by responding and engaging with a brand’s audience daily, identifying top fans should be relatively easy as familiar faces appear in notifications over time.
2. Share UGC
If happy customers post photos, there is a huge opportunity to share this user-generated content (which is commonly abbreviated as “UGC”). On Instagram, there are studies that suggest that UGC posts have a 4.5 percent greater chance of conversion. Another study found that 80 percent of Airbnb’s Instagram engagement was driven by UGC content. Some brands even like to do weekly or monthly posts where they re-share photos from their top fans.
Of course, be sure to curate the best photos to share to your account—don’t re-share just for the sake of it. If you follow a certain visual aesthetic with your posts, for example, you will want to find UGC that fits your brand’s feed.
Also, always ask for their permission first before reposting. The easiest way is to ask them to DM you and then grant permission to repost. Then, when you publish, properly credit the original poster by tagging and/or @mentioning their account in the copy.
3. Retweet & Repost
A retweet is a simple, yet powerful thing. Retweets are seen as a form of endorsement, recognition, and validation, so when a brand decides to retweet a customer’s witty joke or heartfelt story, it can really make an impact.
To take things a step further, you can even add a comment to a retweet to add a more personal touch. This works well for humorous tweets and allows the brand to come back with something witty (if that makes sense with the brand’s voice and tone).
However, don’t retweet in excess to the point of spamming your followers’ feeds. That can result in unfollows.
You can do something similar with Instagram Stories. If you find a post that is relevant to share, you can instantly post it to your Stories. We highly recommend @tagging the original poster to ensure they are notified and aware you shared their content. Definitely avoid taking screenshots and reposting—not only do they look unprofessional, but that does not follow proper sharing etiquette.
4. Surprise & Delight
What better way is there to reward your fans than with free stuff? Whether you’re holding a comment-to-win sweepstakes, or just want to surprise a loyal fan with a freebie out of nowhere, expect happy reactions. Plus, social-savvy customers may even share UGC of their goodies once they arrive, which you can then share to your own channels.
5. Create a Private Group
Being invited to an exclusive group can be a make your most loyal fans feel like VIPs. For Facebook Pages, you can create a private group that only accepts invited users to enter and participate. The group can help your loyal fans feel special and can also serve as a great space to test out ideas, seek opinions, and gain feedback from your customers.
Community managers for all brands should go above and beyond to elevate their loyal fans. Sharing their content, sending them some free swag, and creating a VIP space for them are just a few ways CMs can build stronger connections with their real customers on social. Successfully rewarding and recognizing these top fans can ultimately create a group of “unofficial brand ambassadors” who will continually come back for your content and advocate for your brand.
If you need help running community management at your company, we’ve developed a Smarter Social™ training program that can help! Click here to learn more.