Community Management is always a tricky function of social media. The term sounds more fun than it really is. "Community" makes you think of people coming together for shared interests and being a lot of fun. But with brands, the greater bulk of interactions better fall under the categorization of Customer Service. And those aren't quite as fun when you get down to it.
Customer Service interactions are predominantly neutral, followed by negative, then positive interactions. And let's face it - the positive stuff is super rare since we expect things to work by default and we only make custome service inquiries when we don't know something or we have a problem with something.
Social media tools for supporting this function have steadily gotten better over the years. And I''m not just talking about third party tools that try to bridge the gap and add additional functions on top of offficial platforms but the platforms themselves have started to bring in more features.
Locally we see a lot of customer service interactions on Twitter, but that platform is still a bit of a mess without help. But the juggernaut is Facebook, that has beefed up Pages with more and more tools for managing customer queries. It's not a perfect process and at times it feels far too easy for people to message pages with this or that concern compared to calling into a call center. But it's still manageable - at least until full automation of chat servicing really gets to a place that it can function without as much human interaction and support.
But this is where we're headed. We expect a lot more from social media in terms of our essential services and we want that support to happen there. Phone queues are already seen as too tedius and companies have been shifting resources to better support electronic channels and self-servicing options versus beefing up call center staff. It's an interesting progession.