With the rise of social media platforms, the need for effective community management and social media customer support have also increased.
However, it’s essential to understand that social media community management and social media customer support are not the same thing. In fact, they are very different!
In this article, we’ll explore the differences between the two and why it’s crucial for businesses to understand — and utilize — both.
What is Social Media Community Management?
Social media has become an essential tool for businesses to reach and connect with their customers. Community management goes hand-in-hand with having a social media presence … you have to keep your community engaged!
Social media community management is the process of building, growing, and managing a community of followers on social media. It involves tactics like…
Engaging with followers
Creating and curating content
Building a relationship with your audience
Enticing your audience to engage with your content
The goal of community management is to foster engagement, encourage interaction, and build brand loyalty. At B Squared, another goal of ours is sparking conversations, as I underscored in my book, Conversations That Connect.
One of the key aspects of social media community management is understanding your audience. By knowing who your followers are and what they want, you can create content that resonates with them and encourages engagement.
Take this example from Whataburger. They’re constantly making fun of Texans (like me!) who pronounce it “water-burger” instead of “whata-burger.”
Just look at all of those reactions, comments, and shares!
Additionally, community management involves responding to comments, messages, and mentions quickly. By doing so, you show your followers that you value their input and are committed to building a relationship with them.
This is also important to keep the conversation flowing.
Everyone who has a social media presence should be engaging in community management. But does everyone needs social media customer support as a part of their strategy?
What is Social Media Customer Support?
Conversely, social media customer support, also known as social media customer service, is the process of providing assistance and resolving issues for customers via social media.
Responding to questions about your products/services
Unlike community management, social media customer support requires a more structured approach. It involves setting up dedicated processes and triage. This is because not all support requests can be solved by your frontline social media team. Many times, an issue will need to be escalated to internal customer support.
Additionally, customer support involves adhering to certain protocols, such as responding within a set timeframe and monitoring the time it takes to resolve issues.
Foster loyalty among their followers (and customers!)
When you provide excellent customer support on social media, you create a positive impression of your brand. This positive impression encourages customers to make a purchase or recommend your brand to others.
Furthermore, by resolving customer issues promptly and professionally on social media, you can demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction. Which, in turn, can increase loyalty and repeat business.
Moreover, social media customer support can also help with acquiring new customers through word-of-mouth marketing. When customers are satisfied with their experience, they are more likely to share their positive experience. This can lead to new customers discovering your brand and potentially making a purchase.
For example, look at this post by our friends at Sprout Social.
Furthermore, social media can also be used to attract new customers through targeted advertising. By analyzing the interactions and feedback received on social media, you can gain insights into your target audience’s preferences and behaviors.
This information can then be used to create targeted advertising campaigns that reach potential customers who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.
The Difference between Community Management & Customer Support
While social media community management and customer support may seem similar, there are key differences between the two.
Community management is focused on building and nurturing relationships with your followers, while customer support is focused on resolving issues and providing assistance to customers. Social media customer support can also help you attract new customers!
Additionally, community management is more informal and conversational, while customer support requires a more professional and structured approach. Below is our 5-step program for operationalizing customer care (or support).
Another difference between the two is the type of content that is created. Community management involves creating engaging and shareable content, while customer support involves providing helpful and informative responses to customer queries and complaints.
Why Understanding the Difference is Essential
Understanding the differences between social media community management and customer support is essential for businesses. By understanding these differences, businesses can create more effective strategies for both community management and customer support.
Additionally, understanding these differences can help businesses to allocate resources and prioritize their efforts on social media.
For example, if a business has a large following on social media, they may need to prioritize community management efforts to ensure that their followers remain engaged and loyal. On the other hand, if a business receives a lot of customer queries and complaints on social media, they may need to prioritize their customer support efforts to ensure that issues are resolved promptly and professionally.
And some will need both.
In conclusion, social media community management and social media customer support are two distinct processes that businesses need to understand.
While community management helps tremendously with nurturing relationships with followers, customer support is critical if customers show a need for resolving issues and providing assistance on social.
By understanding these differences, you can create more effective strategies for both community management and customer support, allocate resources more efficiently, and ultimately build a stronger relationship with your audience.
FAQs for Community Management vs Social Media Customer Support
What is Social Media Customer Support? Social Media Customer Support refers to the act of addressing customer queries, complaints, and feedback directly through social media platforms. It focuses on resolving issues, answering questions, and ensuring customer satisfaction in real-time via platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others.
How does Community Management differ from Social Media Customer Support? While both involve interaction on social platforms, Community Management is broader and focuses on building, nurturing, and engaging an online community around a brand. It includes content creation, fostering discussions, and promoting positive brand interactions. Conversely, Social Media Support is more about problem-solving and addressing specific individual concerns.
Why is it important for brands to differentiate between the two? Each requires a distinct skill set and approach. Social Care or Support demands quick response times and solutions-oriented interactions, while Community Management requires a proactive approach to create meaningful engagement, drive brand loyalty, and foster a sense of community.
Can one person handle both Community Management and Social Care? While it’s possible, it can be challenging. Given the distinct demands of each role, larger brands often separate the two to ensure specialized attention. Smaller brands or startups might begin with one person handling both but should consider segregating roles as they grow.
How can brands measure the effectiveness of their Social Media Customer Support? Key metrics include response time, resolution rate, customer satisfaction scores from post-interaction surveys, and monitoring mentions or feedback about the support experience on social platforms.
Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and social media customer care agency. She's also the author of Conversations That Connect -- a book all about social listening and social media customer care. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on the socials!