The Importance of Community Management on Social Media

February 6th, 2023 by

The saying ‘it takes a village’ no longer only applies to the upbringing of children. Today, anyone and everyone uses social media in some capacity and creating and maintaining a sense of community is what will keep many business and influencer accounts afloat. 

Community management on social media is now an essential part of curating an online presence; particularly if that individual or organisation is looking to turn that audience into customers or participants of some sort, of their activities. Communication is the most effective way to achieve this and mimics what we would do in the real world to garner the support of others, so, naturally, we should do this online too. 

Not only this, but investing in community management can bring out the humanness of your brand and we all know that authenticity is the key ingredient for online marketing success. Consumer behaviour has shifted from tolerating lifeless, sales-y banner ads, to only interacting with those that present the brand behind them. Brands who recognise this have a higher chance of maintaining loyal customers. 

In this guide, we will delve into what community management on social media is and how you can improve your community management practices in ways that are necessary for customer retention and acquisition. 

Community management 101

Community management defines a process by which your business engages with its audience on social media. 

It’s crazy to think that a world where everyone is digitally connected, is also a world where we can feel the most isolated and alone. 

But what is it that encourages this feeling of loneliness?

A lack of community. 

As humans, we are naturally wired for social interaction and belonging and this doesn’t magically disappear as soon as we enter an online space. This is why so many brands are now beginning to invest in the creation of communities for their customers and employees, as part of a process called community management. 

When businesses invest in community management on social media they transition from an everyday brand to a human brand. When online users notice the community they have created, they will be more inclined to want to engage with the brand and join. 

What is the purpose of community management?

Community management has become increasingly popular among businesses of all types. 

But what makes it so special and why should others consider adopting it?

Here are just a few reasons why:

  1. Provide support for audience members, fans and customers when they need it
  2. Obtain feedback and gather ideas from your customers through real conversations
  3. Increase brand and product awareness 
  4. Build one-on-one and one-to-many relationships
  5. Boost customer interactions, conversions and sales
  6. Provide value to your customers beyond a product or service
  7. Learn about your customers and what they want/need/expect in terms of content, products, services and support.

Types of community management

CMXHub are the brains behind the SPACE Model; the framework for defining your community’s business value. 

Remember, of the six types of community management on social media, some of these occur behind the screen without the need for face-to-face interaction and others involve community members interacting with you or your team.

space model

S: Support

The most familiar within the model, support is a way to reduce support costs and improve overall satisfaction.

The most common form this can take is in support forums, whereby people show up with a question and the community answers it. This way an expert resource for users is created which can serve as a knowledge base. 

Fitbit does this well, by offering a separate Fitbit community website.  

P: Product ideation, innovation and feedback

By creating an online community, companies can leverage the collective insight of their community members to head ideas for innovative features, identify important product changes and save money and time on surveys. 

Some companies even go as far as inviting their community members into every step of the product development process. Unilever are a frontrunner in customer co-creation and regularly seek external collaborations, reflecting the value of open innovation.

A: Acquisition and advocacy 

This is where community and marketing most closely intersect. 

Companies are quickly learning that it’s much more powerful to have authentic advocates promote a product or experience than themselves and a lot of them are realising that they already have these advocates within their community. Giving these advocates the correct resources and tools to be successful, they will see huge growth and customer loyalty. 

Athleticwear brand, Lululemon, recruits global ambassadors directly from their community to change the face of the fitness industry.

C: Content and contribution

From user-generated content to open-source platforms, distributed content is changing the way businesses function. Distributed models allow value to be created by the masses, with the business simply providing the platform upon which to do it. 

For businesses who adopt this, it is critical to have a community strategy in place. Airbnb is successful in this realm due to its community team.

E: Engagement (external or internal)

External engagement communities bring together a group of people around a common interest that is related to a given brand or product. 

For example, Sephora has a community to talk about beauty

Internal engagement communities are made up of employees, suppliers, partners, or vendors who work with a specific brand.  

As organisations become more distributed and work becomes more remote, this internal engagement is even more important. Here is exactly how Microsoft maintains internal engagement among its employees. 

Community management strategies to get you started

It’s time to put all you’ve learned in this guide so far into practice. The following six strategies will help you activate and engage your community on social media.

1. Clearly define rules and guidelines to follow

While the aim is to create a space for your community members to be themselves, it should never become a place where doing whatever they want can result in hurting people. Your community members should be reflective of your brand and the values it upholds. 

This is why setting out guidelines and rules that community members must abide by, is crucial. Specifics may vary depending on the type of community you’ve set up, but your guidelines should cover the following:

  1. Specify how members are expected to communicate with each other and behave. List the type of language restrictions you have in place, such as using racist or discriminatory language. 
  2. Rules and guidelines should be documented and shared with new members as they join. 
  3. Set up a process for escalating major issues by specifying who should manage them and how.

The Oner Active community page on Facebook does this well. The rules clearly explain what the community should be about and how people should be respectful to others. 

Community management strategies to get you started

2.Be consistent and present

Consistency is key when it comes to community management on social media. After all, the whole point of managing a community is to forge connections and nurture communication. 

Make sure you are present and active for your community. Consistently check on conversations and respond when appropriate and, if necessary, create engagement opportunities by asking questions, sharing prompts and providing updates.

3. Listen to your community

Interactions within your community should be meaningful and thoughtful. As the community manager, your posts should be relevant to what your community members want/need from you, therefore, it is crucial that you’re always tuned in and paying attention to what they have to say. 

No one wants to be part of a community that doesn’t listen to them.

Nandos regularly do an excellent job of listening to their community:

Moreover, listening to your community will uncover valuable insights about your audience that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. You can then use these insights to inform different aspects of your business.

4. Activate influencers and brand ambassadors

We are living in the age of the social media influencer. Not only are they the key to giving your community opportunities to have real conversations with real people, but influencers also have incredible purchasing power over their followers. 

Working with influencers can boost your community management on social media by asking relevant questions and sharing relevant thoughts or experiences in a bid to encourage engagement. Brand ambassadors are even qualified to answer any questions your community members may have, due to being heavily involved with your brand. 

The example below is a perfect example of an influencer/brand ambassador being a spokesperson for Tatti Lashes and answering a customer’s question.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by TATTI LASHES® (@tatti_lashes)

5. Encourage employee participation

Your employees would make a great addition to your community management strategy as they know your company better than anyone else. 

Encourage them to engage with community members by answering questions, acknowledging responses, and sharing news, updates and experiences. 

6. Determine how to measure success

Just like other brand growth strategies, community management strategies should also help you achieve a specific goal. 

But what does success look like to you?

Examples include increasing: 

  1. Participation in your live chat conversations
  2. Follower count
  3. Visitors per month
  4. Number of posts per month
  5. Member growth
  6. Stickiness
  7. Retention rate
  8. New contributors

Community management on social media is no walk in the park. It requires you to pay close attention and drive meaningful conversations among your audience, so having a team to support you in building this community is crucial to its success. 


Why is community management on social media important?

It allows your business to:

  1. Provide support for audience members
  2. Increase brand and product awareness among your target audience
  3. Learn about what your customers want/need/expect
  4. Build one-on-one and one-to-many relationships

What is community management?

Community management defines a process by which your business engages with its audience on social media.

An example of this is Sephora’s Beauty Insider community, where people can go to discuss all things beauty with like-minded people.

How can social media improve community management?

It allows businesses to proactively engage with and respond to their customers and promptly respond to customer complaints. Not only this but online community members are often among the most loyal customers. 

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