4 Tips for Effective Facebook Community Management

social media how toDo you manage a Facebook page?

Are you looking for an easier way to manage your tasks?

In this article I’ll share four tips that will increase your value to your community.

About Community Managers

The role of community manager has been around much longer than Facebook. In fact, I like to think of the community manager as a modern-day Andy Griffith. You help people out, give advice, get to know the neighbors and occasionally keep the peace and lay down the law. The analogy isn’t perfect, but you get the idea.

You may start out as the sole admin on your Facebook page, but as your business and Facebook presence grow, you may need help (after all, Facebook is open 24-7). You may want to hire a community manager to facilitate the discussions, postings and moderation.

Make sure you take a look at our How to Select a Facebook Community Manager post to give you tips on the selection process. Or you may just want to have multiple administrators from within your marketing team (hint: use the post mentioned above as a guide to make sure you’re picking the right team members).

Whatever your team looks like (just you or a team of several), keep these four tips in mind to help continue to grow your Facebook community.

#1: Be a resource

One of the top reasons people will post on your page is to ask a question or get some information. Respond to these questions in a timely manner. Even if you don’t have an answer to the question, people will still feel that you did your best to help.

rockin green

Rockin' Green Cloth Diaper Detergent helped the customer troubleshoot promptly.

If you don’t respond, you appear not to care and your community will go elsewhere.

You don’t have to hang out on Facebook all day watching your wall, just make sure you have the notifications turned on so that you will get an email when you get a post. To check your notifications setting for your Facebook page, go to Edit Page and Your Settings to make sure you have email notifications turned on.

email notifications

Check the box to get email notifications when someone posts on your Facebook wall.

Also, make sure you are posting useful information—tips, links to articles, free resources. You can’t build a community around your sales messages. Think about what is helpful (or fun!) for your community.

#2: Respond and engage

Along the same lines of being a resource, you want to make sure you are responding to your community.

If someone takes the time to say how wonderful you are on your Facebook page, thank her, for goodness sake! If a customer was saying how much he loved your store while he was talking to you, you wouldn’t just stare at him. You would say thank you.

sierra trading post

Sierra Trading Post does a great job responding to their raving fans.

A big goal of your page is to encourage conversation. The more posts on your page, the more you take advantage of the viral nature of Facebook. Your role as community manager is to create a safe place for people to talk and communicate with you.

Sierra Trading Post came up in several different conversations as a brand that is doing Facebook right and managing their page well. When you respond to posts, word gets out.

#3: Moderate

Occasionally it may be necessary to issue some warnings, delete spam or step in to a discussion that is becoming contentious.

As a community manager, you will need to be present and make sure people are playing nice. Just because Facebook is a public space doesn’t mean that you can’t have rules set up for your section of the sandbox. You may want to have those rules posted on a separate tab or within the Info area.

spam

Spam posts will occasionally be posted on your wall.

Feel free to delete posts that are spam and mark them as such. If spammers keep coming back, you can ban them from your page. They will not be able to comment or post again.

You’ll also have to watch when comments get marked as spam that aren’t actually spam. Facebook usually does this if someone posts a link within a comment thread or sometimes a comment is marked as spam for no apparent reason. You will see that a comment is marked as spam when it a shade of gray versus the other comments, which are a shade of blue (yes, I know it’s not very obvious!).

unmark as spam

David's comment for some reason got marked as spam. To unmark it, click on the x to access the drop-down menu.

If someone’s post did get marked as spam, others visiting your page or commenting on the thread will not be able to see that post until you Unmark it or Remove it, whichever action is more appropriate.

#4: Measure

As with any marketing endeavor, make sure you measure your progress. Watch not only the growth of your community but the posts that are getting the most interaction.

Click Insights and Interactions to drill down to the Page Post scores. Sort by the Feedback column to watch which posts are the most popular. The Feedback score is the ratio of the total number of Likes and Comments over the total times the post was seen (Impressions).

The Feedback scores on the individual Page Posts will not be stored long-term like the overall stats such as number of Likes and Comments, so make sure you are watching this weekly.

feedback

Click on the Feedback column to sort by that column.

Although measuring, connecting and moderating are all part of the community manager’s job, the main thing is to have fun. If you enjoy your community and want the best for your community, that sentiment will show through and ultimately determine your success.

What do you think? What are your best tips for encouraging community growth and becoming a more effective Facebook community manager? Leave your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Andrea Vahl

Andrea Vahl is co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and also uses her improv comedy skills to blog as Grandma Mary, Social Media Edutainer. Connect with her at www.andreavahl.com. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.ranashahbaz.com/ Rana Shahbaz

    Responding to every comment goes long way to build a community. How can you create a community with out two way communication?

    Andrea thanks for sharing 4 really important points of community building. 

  • Arantes1

    Is this post really from 2011?
    Looks like content from 2007.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    That is true – good community management hasn’t changed much.  But it’s amazing how much people need reminding!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Arantes1 – I can assure you it is from 2011

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    I agree completely Rana

  • http://AndreMcKayATX.com/ Andre McKay

    Hey guys “Michael” been a fan of yours for a while now thanks to Mari Smith… I have had a question that has been on my mind for quite some time. Measuring the stats totally makes sense however isnt the physical activity unpredictable from day to day? I mean, I dont log on to facebook, twitter, linkedin every day at the same time and when I do my activities are different. Some times I have a bit of time to browse around and see what others are talking about, sometimes I have no time and just want to make sure Im reaching out and engaging with those who I need to get back to.

    I guess what I’m getting at is,… how can I really measure stats efficiently when peoples activities on platforms are different every day?

  • http://twitter.com/LeftFieldWeb LeftFieldWeb

    Thanks so much Andrea.  I especially like being a resource.  To so many being a resource means “Download my book” or “sign up for my newsletter”.  Just sharing valuable information makes one a resource.  Keep ‘em coming.

    EF
    http://www.LeftFieldWebDesign.com

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Great point Andre.  I think looking at the stats every day is not productive.  I think the important thing is the trending of the stats and the overall patterns.  I have one client who monitored their stats every day but then looked at them over a month and saw which days over that month got the most activity in general.  Then they watched what happened to their engagement over a 3 month period when the posted more or less often.  So it’s daily monitoring but big picture analysis. 

  • http://sproutsocial.com/ Brit at Sprout Social

    Solid tips, Andrea! While I think they’re all very important, I personally think responding, engaging, and encouraging conversation (when applicable) on Facebook is really what sets a good community manager apart from someone who just pushes out content. It’s a great way to create community and show your customers that you care!

  • Chris Picanzo

    Andrea, great tips! I manage over a dozen pages on Facebook all alone. I am definitely going to look into asking for help, I’m headed over to read that article next. I imagine I would ask someone that has been engaging on the page and may feel honored to take part in being an admin. It can be difficult coming up with content for a business that we are not so familiar with.
    Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.bluebanana.co.nz Linda Coles @ Blue Banana 20

    Nice to meet the SME community manager too :)

  • dcinpdx

    Thanks for the great tips. Although the tips are basic, they are obviously needed or all FB pages would be successful which we all know isn’t the case.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Chris – yes, it is difficult to add good relevant content in different industries that may be far removed from your experience!  I think frequent communication between the Community Manager and the business helps.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Linda – nice to meet you too :)

  • http://www.casmccullough.com/ Cas McCullough

    It’s all well and good hiring a community manager if you have the funds to employ people but for small and micro businesses that can be one thing on a long list of tasks you’d like to outsource. Then there’s the issue of any page admin being able to delete your page. You’d need to have iron-clad contracts to ensure that doesn’t happen and even then, it could (in theory). Again, hiring a lawyer to draft something like that is on a long list of tasks to outsource for small businesses. Thanks for the article though. As a community manager/owner I appreciate the validation. Warmly, Cas.

  • Ashley

    Great tips! Glad to know that I’m doing my job as a Community Manager right.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Great points Cas!  Any page admin can remove other admins so you definitely need to have someone in place that you trust.  And that you know is keeping their own Facebook login safe from hackers. 

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Validation is always a good thing :)

  • http://brankicaunderwood.com/ Brankica

    I think it is very up to date! Great advice, Andrea, thanks! I just recently figured out that some posts get marked spam for no apparent reason and they are hidden so I had to get them out. 

  • http://digitalworx.in/website-designer-delhi.html website designer delhi

    i haven’t been able to extract too much benefit from social media but after reading this article i hope that taking part in community discussions will help to bring some traffic to my website. Thanks for this  valuable post.

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  • http://www.htmakemoney.com/2011/07/vagexcom-free-ways-to-increase-youtube.html Vagex

    Very good tips about Facebook community management. I try Facebook and think it waste my time, but now I think I need to change. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://mommylace.com/ Lace Llanora

    Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for your post, I enjoy reading articles specially written for community managers! :)

    To add, I find connecting with other brand’s pages worthwhile, especially on using the tagging feature qualitatively. It’s almost like how you would tag influential people on Twitter, but more than promotions – it’s meaningful to engage and start friendly relationships with others related in the industry you move around in.

    Lace 

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

    Hi Andrea,

    Great post and loved the share. I have been getting more and more info on how to use facebook effectively for business and must thank Social Media Examiner for giving this ….

  • reza naghibi

    Great points mentioned. A one stop shop for a few quick tips. Sometimes effective solutions are right there waiting.

  • http://www.Qualtu.com Jason

    Thanks for your tips. This website is worth reading.

  • http://www.bloggingfromparadise.com/ Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Andrea,

    Excellent tips here!

    Engagement is key. It shows we care, when we ask questions, when we respond, when we’re around. Setting up a 2 way street does wonders for your Facebook community.

    Thanks for sharing your insight!

    RB

  • http://www.community-roundtable.com Rachel Happe

    To me, building relationships between members is the KEY aspect of community management that is different from social media management and yet, it is not mentioned here at all which I think is a mistake. If one wants to use a Facebook Page to build a community vs. a channel that needs to be front and center although I would also say that Facebook Pages are not the optimal way to build a community in most cases. They are a great way to interact with fans and keep them updated but to me, that does not necessarily constitute a community.

  • http://www.transcriptionvendors.com/ Transcription Services

    Wow! Loved your tips for managing the pages. It is real tough to have attention on your page among millions and gain credits even if you make meaningful posts. I do so but what I get in return is just a like or sometimes answers to my questions. Do i have to respond to the likes as well? How to get popular?

  • http://ryanholdeman.com Ryan Holdeman

    I’ve experimented a lot with getting feedback from the facebook community by posting questions. Anyone have any hot tips on questions and getting customer feedback via facebook? I’ve had mixed results. I’d say it’s fair to say I’ve asked a good/necessary question when the community responds in large quantities, but are there types of questions, or something, that lend themselves well to the facebook community.  

  • http://www.marketingm8.co.uk Peter L Masters MCIM

    There are some very good points made here and I would say much of the content relates to any similar community whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or whatever.

    I recently added a lot of new friends from Empire Avenue to a Facebook group I’ve had for 6 months or more and the results are amazing!

    The membership went up from 200+ which had been fairly constant to well over 400 over night and the place has totally come alive.

    It therefore seems to me, that half the battle of having a successful group of any kind is finding members that appreciate good content and are also prepared to share their own and engage regularly.  The whole group has come to life and I really enjoy visiting and getting involved whereas before it was all a tad predictable.

    Moral of the story is, if you’re going to have a social media group, invite some social media people to make it happen!!

    Thanks for the article, much appreciated, best regards, Peter

    PS I’m off to post this to our group now!!

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce Ecommerce Solutions

    Categorization would also help in effective measure.

  • Ken Smith

    There are many facebook apps which can help you manage facebook effectively. For me as a photographer, having my personal portfolio (which is done, btw, with Portfolio App from hostFB.com) on facebook is necessarily. that’s why i am recommending ready-made apps for people who do business via facebook.

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  • http://www.squidoo.com/best-laptops-under-600 Mandy Bohn

    Wow. This is very good tips that will help not only in facebook community building but also to other social sites.  To create a good relationship is to know how to listen and also to talk. Thanks who praise you and give  some advises when some ask for it. Moderate and be sure everyone is playing fair. This article simply want to say those things.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/farrugcr Rita Farruggia

    Great Tips! One thing I do is post the lastest news in my niche in my own words instead of just posting the article source, and always create a fun community at every opportunity I get! Most importantly, I get to know my fans! :) )

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Great point Rachel!  I do agree that creating those connections makes the conversation much more fun within the threads.  It can be hard to make those connections but it does happen on Facebook – although it’s much easier in a forum.  

  • http://www.ctrlspc.ca Reza Naghibi

    Awesome article. Just one question: What are your hard and fast rules for status updates? Relevant to market, or conversational? Sometimes I see a lot of the brands I follow on Facebook don’t necessarily have status updates that are relevant to their products but that are simple conversational tid bits that get dialogue happening.

    -R

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  • travel-singapore

    Hi Andrea, it’s so nice to finally visit Social Media Examiner. I am actually reading your Facebook Marketing All In One book and found that this blog complements the book. I am managing our client’s pages and I will definitely follow your tips here to try to create a safe environment for them to post. I will come again for time to time to see if there any new tips. Thanks and keep posting! :)

    My employer: SEO

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  • Sufia amir khan

    i found the tips given and the blog very useful , thank you all. i am going to start administering an FB page and this is my first stop . wish me luck ;-) the name of my page is Willing Ways Smart Solutions. if you can visit it in a week’s time and give your input i would be really grateful.

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  • Durga Lamichhane

    Thanks Andrea, I found this article very useful for me. I am working as a social media manager in a famous weekly magazine of Nepal. Organizations related with community are feeling the Social media, an useful thing. But they are not utilizing it or they have no idea to utilize it. In this situation it is being difficult to find the idea of social media management and strategy also. Though I am trying to find guidelines from internet and using them as per suit.

    Once again thank you so much for posting such article! I am gonna read your other articles too.

    Regards,

    Durga Lamichhane

    Nepal







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