Community Management: More Tortoise Than Hare

Most brands understand the need to create social content in an effort to connect with their target consumers in the places where they congregate the most, but posting content is just one part of the puzzle. Ask a CMO or other marketing leader what they know about community management and you’re likely to hear something like, “We use it to answer questions from our consumers.” But, it’s more than customer service, it’s making your brand human. Human connection matters.

One thing I’ve learned about community management is that while it’s not something that will provide immediate results  — which can be hard when you’re driving for an increase in followers — it can lead to increased long-term engagement and retention. This connection with your audience can organically bring people to your brand through word of mouth.

Brands, even small ones, are often seen as being above the general public, so when people receive a personal response from a brand they recognize, they get excited. They feel heard in a way that says, “someone read what I wrote and took time to acknowledge me personally.” People talk, and they talk about the good and the bad. Even complaints can be turned into good! Community management can help you do that.

“Ok, Matt, I’m onboard with the value of community management, but where do I start?” Here are five tips when it comes to building a community management program:

  • Start small. It doesn’t need to be a 24/7 job, but just like posting, it needs to be consistent.

  • Create a reason for your consumers to interact or keep the conversation going.

  • Don’t just address the complainers or the super-fans. The ones in the middle can be swayed to either side. Let’s get them to the positive side.

  • Your brand creates content, but don’t miss out on the branded content that your consumers are making. Social media listening can provide opportunities for free advertising. Acknowledge it and bring them into your community.

  • This is one place where your competitors can be your friend. Keep an eye on what they’re doing and what is working. Use this to influence your strategy.

(Bonus: Don’t have time for a full-time community manager? Use a management tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to help manage posts and conduct social listening all in one place.)

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All in all, community management should be seen as a valuable segment of your marketing mix and a way to build a two-way street between your brand and those consuming your brand. While it is definitely more tortoise than hare, don’t be afraid to take time and build that connection. Your consumers and community will thank you for it with their increased engagement, and their wallets.


Matt Lourie is the James & Matthew Project Manager. As one of the newest Dodos on the team, he started his J&M journey in 2017. Originally from Cape Elizabeth, ME, he now lives in Brooklyn, NY in order to satiate his constant need for $1 pizza, Broadway, and Central Park.