|  Social media

There used to be a time when disgruntled customers would write a letter to a company to express their annoyance at an issue, or they'd make a phone call, but now they have the additional option to complain online. That's where Community Managers come in.

Social media community managers are responsible for creating and executing social media strategies, monitoring social media activity, and responding to comments and messages in a timely and professional manner.

There are different aspects to community management, including;

  • Brand advocacy - Identifying loyal customers who are passionate about your brand and actively promote it to others
  • Customer service - Engaging with the community, responding to feedback and providing support
  • Reputation management - Monitoring what is being said about a brand and identifying any concerns that could potentially escalate
  • Insight and trends - Identifying key themes that can be fed into wider content
  • Protecting your brand audience - Enforcing your social media house rules to remove inappropriate content and protect your audience
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Social media and the law

Community management isn’t just about engaging with your audience; a large chunk of the role is about protecting the brand from any potential legal repercussions from content that is posted by members of the public.

All websites are responsible for the comments that people post, just as you’re responsible for any information that you’re posting on there. People can post anything and anything on your social media pages or your website, so it’s important to have some knowledge of how the law relates to you.

  • Contempt of court is a strict liability offence, whether it was intentional or not. As the owner of a website or social channel, you’re responsible for what is published, regardless of who wrote the comment.
    • Cases in the Family Courts are also subject to the same restrictions, usually to protect the children involved. Contempt of Court proceedings can and have been brought against anyone writing about cases online, including parents.
    • Injunctions fall under the same rules; if a court rules that nothing can be printed about a subject, this also applies to the internet
  • Defamation on social media refers to the act of making false and damaging statements about a person, business, or organisation on social media platforms. Defamatory statements can include false accusations, rumours, or other types of harmful information that can harm a person's reputation or cause financial harm to a business.
  • Data protection on social media refers to the policies and practices in place to protect the personal information of users on social media platforms. Personal information can include a user's name, age, location, contact information, and other sensitive data that can be used to identify or track an individual.
  • The Online Safety Bill is a proposed piece of legislation in the United Kingdom that aims to increase protections for individuals online and hold tech companies accountable for harmful content on their platforms. Brands and advertisers will need to be more vigilant about what they’re posting on social media to ensure it complies with the new regulations regarding harmful content. It’ll also require more transparency about their moderation practices and may result in penalties for non-compliance.

It looks complicated, doesn’t it? That’s because it can be complicated. Community managers need a variety of skills to effectively manage and engage with an online community. They must be able to engage with their audience in a way that is authentic, compelling, and aligned with the goals and values of the brand, while also remaining vigilant of potential reputational issues.

Someone using a laptop and a smartphone, both of which have Facebook on the screen.

Top tips for community management

Social media is an increasingly important channel for businesses to connect with their audience, which means the role of community managers has become crucial. Here are our top tips from our Community Manager to yours:

  • Use your initiative; users won’t always give you the full picture so you need to be good at getting the right information.
  • Know when not to respond - not every comment requires a response. People will share their views and frustrations on social media, but answering every comment doesn’t always help the situation.
  • Pay attention to details, always make sure you’re spelling names correctly and make sure to get your facts right. Read their comment, then read it again. Read your response out loud if you need to; it often helps.
  • Avoid repetition - you may receive the same question from multiple users, and it’s helpful to tweak your responses slightly so that you don’t look like a chatbot.
  • Don’t make promises, you’re working as the face of the company. You don’t want to promise an outcome that you can’t guarantee, so set expectations while providing valuable support.
  • Don’t take it personally; whether users are sharing their customer service frustrations or criticising the latest campaign, try your best to brush it off. Share with your colleagues, the good and the bad. A problem shared is a problem halved.
  • Communication is key, so make sure your team members are aware of any escalating issues and share any key learnings.

Community management can require a lot of work, but it's really important to have a structure and system in place to protect your brand and help strengthen your connection with your customers. For large brands, we recommend having weekly checks in place to help you keep on top of things, but whatever your community management needs are, get in touch with us to see how we can help.

Julie Brough

Julie Brough

Social Media Community Manager