Social Media Community Management Best Practices from a Tech Unicorn

Careem is the leading ride hailing app in MENA, Turkey, and Pakistan. It’s the region’s only tech unicorn, with a presence in 15 markets, boasting 15+ Million users, and a growing community across their social media channels.


We spoke with Ihab Ahmed, Global Head of Social and Community, to get insight into how they’ve built a scalable and successful community management strategy. Ihab is responsible for building their social media presence from scratch over four years ago, and through his work, created the fun, engaging and witty tone of voice which is recognized throughout the organization’s social media channels. Here’s what he had to say about building and scaling an effective social media community management strategy: 


1. What’s it like managing a community of 4 million followers on Facebook alone? What’s the key to keeping on top of it?

It's like running a country, with all the amazing achievements and challenges that come with it. We spend thousands of hours and involve hundreds of colleagues to attract people to our pages, bring our social channels to life, and continuously engage with everyone on them. The end result of this effort is reflected in having built a family of customers and fans who visit our pages, like them, follow our content, and interact with us on a daily basis.

We garner over 500,000 interactions a month coming in across 75+ social channels, and there is not one key, but several important factors to stay on top of everything. This includes a large social team in place across multiple markets, clear operational structure, roles and responsibilities, and of course, the best in class management tools to streamline the process. Alongside all of this, consistency is vital to ensure that all markets are creating content and communicating with our customers and fans the ‘Careem way’.


2. Do you set goals for community management - and how do you measure them?

The main focus of community management is our customer experience and the journey they have with us on social media while continuously representing the brand in everything we do. That is harder to measure on a daily basis and so we turn to KPIs of response time, resolution time, and customer satisfaction scoring to evaluate the team's performance. Knowledge sharing is a major goal for us and it is measured mainly by our feedback, resulting in changes to the brand, service or product to improve our customer experience.

3. Your brand is not afraid to experiment, Careem injects humor into their community management communication with customers. How do you stay on brand while keeping people engaged?


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While we have quite a few strict codes of conduct or lists of ‘do's and don'ts’, it comes down to the experience of the team in handling conversations on a daily basis to highlight opportunities where we can interact in the fun way that we do. We stick to the core values of Careem, where we maintain a stance of being humble, supportive and fun. This follows through, in that order, when we interact online to ensure we respond appropriately to conversations with our tone of voice, but also cater responses to the conversation we are having. It also helps when you build stronger relationships on our pages, where our key team members know the personalities of some people, and can be a lot more open to talking to them.

We believe that Careem is not a "company" with "agents" behind our social media, but a universal being, Careem, and its personality is unified across all markets. We all speak as one unified voice - representing one person and we do our best to always be that one person so our customers and fans do not feel like they are talking to different people, but the same person all the time.<3


4. What mistakes do you see brands make most often when implementing a community management strategy?

Every brand has a different purpose for their social media strategy; this can range from using their social channels as a digital billboard for their content, to an exclusively platform for customer service. Therefore, it’s hard to point out mistakes without knowing the role of social media in their organization. However, there are a few key mistakes I have observed in general where brands are not taking advantage of the amazing opportunity community management can bring.

I’ve found that a lot of brands struggle with understanding the persona of their audience - what they like, dislike or would want from them, despite even though they have a team talking to their customers on a daily basis who should be very well aware of their audience persona. 


If brands use a tool to monitor and track their conversations they can even break down conversation types, track sentiment and can even convert these into business cases.


5. As you scaled your community, what were the obstacles you encountered. How important are community management tools when scaling?

The biggest obstacle for us was always the geographic scope we had to cover. Operating from Morocco to Pakistan, we had to adapt to various languages, mindsets, social channel usage and even the country's sentiment - to a disruption platform like ours. The scale was another challenge; as some markets are heavily dependent on social media content, which leads to massive engagement on some of our pages reaching in excess of 100,000 comments on some posts, organically!

This is exactly when dependency on tools came into play. With each channel having multiple touchpoints, for instance, Facebook has over 5, and at scale, managing these conversations natively was not possible without missing out on at least half of the interactions. Community management tools help filter through conversations, streamline the flow of incoming engagements, enable conversation tracking, tagging, and of course, provide team management features. In combination with the right social media posts, a smart approach to community management can last a lifetime, shaping priceless brand loyalty and customer advocacy.



ImageIhab Ahmed is currently Global Head of Social and Community at Careem, where he creates and leads the social media strategy across 15 markets with a team of 40 people, serving 120+ cities. He built Careem’s social media presence from scratch over four years ago, and through his work, created the fun, engaging and witty tone of voice which is recognized throughout the organization’s social media channels! As a passionate social media professional, Ihab is also building a central Social Media Center of Excellence, which will serve as the hub for all things creative, innovative and unique on social media. Prior to joining Careem, Ihab co-founded a social media, digital and web development start-up and managed social media accounts for high-profile clients in Dubai and Abu Dhabi including Mercedes-Benz, Jeep and Emirates Islamic bank. When’s he’s not taking Careem’s social media to the moon and beyond, Ihab is an avid car and tech blogger.

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