Community Management Tools – The 5 Essential Features and Capabilities
Many businesses use their social media channels not only to advertise their products or services, but also to engage with their community of followers. Additionally, it is important not to forget that social media channels have become an increasingly important way for customer service teams to answer questions and solve problems for their customers.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that many community management strategies revolve around quickly and effectively responding to comments, questions, and interactions with your posts. For this reason, a number of tools for community management have been created to give social media management and customer service teams the capabilities they need to effectively and efficiently manage their community.
This article will focus on what the best online community management software will offer in terms of core functions and features. While many social community management tools may claim to offer you everything you need, our goal here is to give you a clear checklist related to what you should look for and why.
What the Best Community Management Tools Offer
A social media manager or community manager can, at least in theory, respond to each comment manually on their social media profiles. However, this is senselessly inefficient and does not represent a practical solution. For this reason, social media managers must look for an online community management solution where they can handle all tasks from a centralized platform, enabling efficient community management.
Finding a suitable tool may seem straightforward, but there are many open questions about what essential functions this tool should have. First, it is usually best to have a community management solution as a feature of an all-in-one social media tool that provides you with powerful analytics/benchmarking, publishing, and research capabilities. This is because a business generally has many other needs related to social media management beyond just community management.
Second, keep in mind that community management tools must effectively manage various comments, replies, and direct messages for channels as diverse as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest. Not all these social media channels are the same regarding how followers interact with your content. With this being said, the best community management tools would, of course, allow you to manage multiple channels from one platform.
In the hunt for the best social media community manager tools, there are essential functions that you should look for. Below, we have compiled a list of 5 core features that are must-haves for your tool. As a side note, in the images used below come the Fanpage Karma’s all-in-one social media management too to help illustrate the various features and functions that are being discussed.
1. Centralized Organization
As we already alluded to above, a centralized platform for community management is the first thing that many think about when looking for a community management tool solution. Many businesses have several different social media profiles that they must efficiently manage. Therefore, community management teams must be able to reply to comments and message all from one place. This includes being able to include attachments from the common platform. While these features definitely must-haves, there is so much more when it comes to centralized organizational features that make an effective community management solution.
For many businesses who have profiles on multiple social media platforms, the sheer number of various messages and comments from your community can be enormous. Many times, these must be organized and divided among various team members. For this reason, being able to assign tasks and having an overview of what a colleague is dealing with, and who is responsible for what messages and comments, is crucial. This includes being able to quickly see where open conversations are, who is responsible for what, which issues have been resolved, or whether there is a deadline for a response. The social media community management tools should also have a search function to allow for a quick retrieval of messages.
Other types of organizational features such as message tagging are also generally a must to enable more advanced organization. Allowing for tagging and filtering for those tags can be a helpful way to organize various questions or problems thematically to allow for more efficient handling of messages.
Lastly, effective team-work usually requires more than just assigning tasks and tagging. Having an overview of what has happened and what other team members should know is important. A feature which allows for the inclusion of internal notes for a particular conversation is useful so that colleagues working on the same conversation have the latest information. Therefore, this would be another crucial feature to have as part of a community management tool’s functions.
2. Automation Functions
When we discuss social media post management tools, we should always focus on ways to save time and make work more efficient. It is important to remember that responding to, and interacting with, users’ posts is an important part of a social media manager or community manager’s job. However, how exactly can this be made more efficient?
When we talk about automation features, we should begin with the simple ability to create and use saved templates. While this may seem like a rather basic feature, but it is absolutely essential in creating scalable community management practices. Having the option to create and update pre-written templates will ultimately save time in responding to common questions or problems that require more or less the same basic answer.
However, there is more to consider when talking about automation. Community management tools should also include the option to set up helpers and other features such as being able to create automated responses to specific comments or actions such as likes. This could also include the option to hide specific comments, automatically assigning a message to a colleague during a certain time slot, and so much more. These and other automated features can remove some tedious work from community managers’ plates and dramatically include efficiency.
3. Allow Outside Collaboration
It is clear that online community management platforms should allow your community management team to group and organize messages and comments from various social media channels, as we have discussed above. However, what happens when you require help from outside the community management or customer service teams to answer a question or solve a problem? On one hand, it doesn’t make sense to pay for all members of a company to have access to a community management tool. On the other hand, customer service can also require wider team effort, which necessitates getting feedback from other teams.
For this reason, wider collaboration and sharing features should be included in community management tools. In reality, the best online community management tools would enable for easy collaboration with other team members who can help answer questions or queries. This is all without having to pay to have all team members on the same community management tool.
This can be done with built-in features that allow community or social media managers to directly email their team members with your question and for those colleagues to provide their response. All of this would, of course, not be public, but would be made possible by simple “outside the tool” communication features that streamlines the process of getting feedback or information from those not using the community management tool. This avoids the costs associated with adding additional team members to your tool while, at the same time, enabling more extensive teamwork with those who are not using the tool.
4. AI Integration
Talk about the use of AI to improve efficiently is everywhere these days, and the community management field is no different. One question that you should ask yourself is if the community management tool you are considering is integrating AI technology. If it is not, you may be missing out on features that can dramatically help your community management operations.
There are two areas here related to the use of AI. The first relates to using AI to generate unique responses for questions or comments from your followers. Your community management should tool allow for an AI-generated response to a message or comment to be created with just the click of a button. Of course, you would have to provide the AI response generator with basic information about what role it should be assuming (i.e. customer service), the industry you are working in, and the name of your business. However, once this is done, the ideal solution would be that you can generate responses with the click of a button. You can then use the AI-generated response as is, or edit the response to get it just right.
The second area related to the functions of online community management systems and AI is focused more on using AI to improve your own response to comments and questions. You may be quickly responding to various messages and may feel like a different formulation may be needed. With this in mind, some of the best community management tools are also integrating AI functions that will help you improve your initial response. This can be a game-changer when it comes to making sure your responses are of high quality.
5. Performance Reporting
Since you are looking to find a suitable social media tool, it is clear that reputation management is important for your business. Reputation management starts with being reachable and answering questions or replying to comments on your social media channels in a timely manner. However, there is often room for improvement here, along with knowing what needs to be done more efficiently or how quickly you are responding to messages and comments.
For this reason, online community management software should provide you with the ability to track and analyze when most activity is happening and how quickly your team can respond to various comments and messages. These types of functions are essential in effectively managing your profiles and helping you ensure that your operations are functioning as they should.
Don’t also forget that there are certain times of the day that see more comments and messages than others. For this reason, having an overview of when the busy times of the day or week are can help you in planning enough agents to answer questions. Since social media profiles are where customer service and troubleshooting often take place, it is important to know how your team is doing.
Finding the Best Community Management Tool for your Business
Fanpage Karma offers a robust and comprehensive all-in-one community management solution for your business. Offering a wide-range of community management features and listed above, Fanpage Karma is trusted by hundreds of businesses to help them manage their community of followers.
If you are looking for one of the best online community management platforms that comes with powerful analytics, publishing, and research capabilities, then take advantage of the free 14-day trial that Fanpage Karma offers and see all the features for yourself. No credit card is required!
You can also sign up for the free webinar to find out more how Fanpage Karma can not only help make your community management more efficient, but also improve your social media performance.