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The Ins and Outs of Online Community Management

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Danny Briones

How many of you manage your own shop’s website? Are you also in charge of social media? Depending on the size of the MSO, certain businesses may have a position dedicated to managing online communities. Now, imagine you’re in charge of the online community management of 320+ locations. That’s the role of Katie Allen and Emily Holt, two recent Service King hires who have been tasked with creating a consistent brand voice across all social media platforms for the company.

Danny Briones, senior director of advertising at Service King, was in charge of creating positions for online community management in 2015. With Service King’s rapid growth over the past several years, Briones says that the position grew naturally within the scope of the advertising and marketing team.  To create the team, he brought two positions internal. Allen is the advertising coordinator and oversees local listings, which include all of Service King’s business listings across various platforms such as Google and Yelp. Holt is the digital communications specialist and takes charge of social media. Together, they are in charge of creating engaging content for all of Service King’s social media channels, responding to all comments and customer questions, and monitoring the reviews of all Service King locations.

Briones explains why this position has become so important and shares overall tips for online community management.


Why is online community management so important in this day and age?

Customers are increasingly looking for direct and immediate engagement through online interactions with brands. That is why, in order to be effective, content must be relevant, personalized and specific to the needs of the individual customer. All of these are crucial to an authentic and engaging experience for any customer.

The day-to-day duties of local listings and social media content are managed by a pair of Service King teammates—Katie Allen and Emily Holt. They each have a background in mass communications, which translates well to these positions. They have done an excellent job developing and maintaining Service King’s brand voice across the various platforms.


What type of interaction do you have with them?

We are lucky to have a tight-knit team that consistently communicates current projects, goals and ambitions for the future. We meet at least once per week about current initiatives, new locations and sentiment regarding the brand.


How did you decide that this team was the best way to monitor the online community?

The primary inspiration behind bringing the community management and local listing positions internal was to increase the overall accuracy of our listings. We wanted to ensure every listing for every location on every platform was accurate and available to our customers. Meanwhile, for social media, our goal remains to tell the larger Service King story, to do so natively, and provide another real-time touchpoint for our customers to interact with our brand. Specifically, this includes increasing levels of engagement across all platforms along with boosting audience reach and growth.


How is such a small team able to monitor over 320 locations?

We work with our internal and external partners to create a process to ensure all of our locations are monitored in real time.


How exactly does that work?

Katie works collaboratively with our preferred community management vendor, Moz, and our creative agency of record, Blue Fountain Media, to continually update, manage and monitor the various listing and location reviews. Meanwhile, Emily works hand-in-hand with Blue Fountain Media to build and plan Service King’s social media content. These two tools and partners are vital in creating an accurate, top of mind and brand-centered web presence for our customers.


How do you set goals for the online community?

We meet on a weekly basis to ensure all messaging is aligned and we set goals based on the accuracy of location listings, PR and social media reach and timeliness of content. Shop owners can set accuracy goals for various local listing platforms and measure social media success based on reach of content, engagement and follower growth over time.


Can you give me an example of how something on social media would be handled? For example, if a customer tweeted a complaint about a particular location, how would that be addressed?

We aim to maintain consistency in our brand voice, style and service to our customers. Therefore, all Service King community management efforts are centralized to our marketing and advertising team—specifically the local listings position. We’ve seen significant value added to that effort by adding Katie and her role to our team.

If customers express a concern about their repair process from one of our locations, our team immediately engages the local teammates to ensure the concerns are resolved personally by one of our teammates our leaders.


Could you give an example of relevant content that Service King has used?

The entire Service King marketing and advertising team works together to plan out content for our various platforms. This helps us stay on message, relevant and timely with our customers and online followers.  Some examples of content that we’ve deemed timely and relevant in the last year include Service King’s cross-platform Pokemon Go messaging that leveraged the pop culture fad and uniquely tied the messaging to our brand. The “Let’s Not Meet by Accident” messaging appeared in social media, PR and on our network or digital billboards. It was executed in less than a week during the height of the Pokemon Go craze in July 2016. We also annually dedicate messaging to our partnership with the National Breast Cancer foundation and have capitalized on local events such as the Chicago Cubs World Series Championship in 2016.


How do you measure the success of your online content?

We measure success using a variety of metrics that are proprietary to Service King, but primarily we focus on the accuracy of our listings, sentiment of the reviews of our repair centers and the overall reach and sentiment of our content on social media channels. Our team views the primary function of these roles as serving as the voice of our brand, as well as an avenue through which customers are connected to our services and our teammates.


How can a shop owner determine what social media platforms are right for them? Is it necessary to be on all of them?

Shop owners can determine success based on the overall and average engagement of their content. At Service King, engagement is a large indicator of the relevance of the content we share with our audience and customers. Highly engaging content tells us we have succeeded in delivering a well timed and worthwhile piece of content to our followers and fan base.

Not all social media or listing platforms are necessary for all shops, however it is important to determine which platforms best connect you with your customers. Once you successfully build an engaging platform on those primary channels, it’s productive to investigate additional platforms.


Not all MSOs have the resources that Service King has. For someone that may not be able to hire for this position alone, is there another position in a typical repair shop that is suited toward this type of management?

This position is not necessarily tailored to a traditional collision repair position, but it lends itself well to someone with great communications skills. That could be a general manager, office coordinator or even an estimator. It requires time to schedule content, respond to customers and update pages with contact information as your organization grows.

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