How to manage and benefit from your Viber Community

Viber mariia-martyrosian
Mariia Martyrosian
Global PR & Marketing Innovations Director at Rakuten Viber
How to manage and benefit from your Viber Community

Managing a Viber Community for global audiences

In August 2019, Viber partnered with Australian tennis influencer Samuel Begg (@samuelbegg) to launch the Global Tennis Community on Viber. While covering tennis news across the world and allowing users to go behind the scenes of their favorite sport, an exclusive Viber Community has grown to over 685,000 tennis fan followers over the past two years. Success that came from a well thought-through content strategy, engaging campaigns and effective moderation which shows the benefits that can be achieved with a messaging app community. We caught up with Samuel below to discuss the journey of the GTC, what he has learned about Viber Communities and what tips he has for online community managers.

What are the advantages of communities in messaging apps?

Viber Communities are convenient both for users and creators. On a messaging app, you can send messages to all community members at once and gather fans together. It gives you an unmatched opportunity to establish one-to-many communication. At the same time, people can access information anytime and anywhere on a mobile device. My ability to also utilize the desktop version of the app has been a huge bonus in terms of time management - allowing me to easily add exclusive content or videos directly from my laptop to the Viber GTC.

Another benefit is a wide variety of available content. You can animate your community with news, updates, polls, and quizzes. Fans love new info about their passion subject and appreciate creative posts. What is more, they enjoy sharing ideas. Considering this, having different tools to entertain fans allows for a more engaging tennis fan experience.

In communities, fans can react to messages with likes, emoticons, and shares. It's an excellent feature, as you can see and respond to their thoughts, expectations, and feelings. It makes communication with your audience easier and more valuable, allowing me to adjust my content strategy to be more in line with what GTC tennis fans enjoy most.

Throughout my time working on the GTC, I also learned the importance of utilising relevant emojis (eg. tennis ball or country flags) to enhance the “eye catching” aspect of text copy. This strategy contributes to achieving higher engagement and keeping the feed aesthetically pleasing to followers.

What is the value of the Global Tennis Community on Viber for its subscribers? Did GTC geography expand on the messaging app?

The Global Tennis Community and I partnered with Viber in 2019, with the aim to deliver tennis news, videos, and discussion to fans around the world. The purpose of the community was to bring people who love tennis together, no matter who or where they are. Viber, with a diverse user base all over the world, was the perfect platform to embody this idea. Now, the Global Tennis Community has over 685k subscribers on a messaging app, with people worldwide gaining equal access to their favorite players’ routines and updates. We have engaged members from different countries and continents. Fans from Russia, Greece, Serbia, France, the Philippines, and many other countries now get together. As an already established social media tennis influencer with over 200k combined followers on other platforms, it was a hugely exciting opportunity to partner with Viber and assist them in launching, promoting and managing a new tennis focussed community on their platform. As a tennis influencer, I also was able to extend the “reach” of the GTC to countries such as Australia and the USA which assisted making our Viber Community truly global.

In a community like the GTC, every follower counts. Imagine, people can talk to their friends, and check the news about their favorite sport all in one place. This way of communication is deeply personal and puts the audience at the center – Community members can enjoy natural conversations and share information with people they love.

How do you manage such a huge fanbase? What are the tips for Viber Сommunity management and keeping the Community feed interesting and entertaining?  

Viber Communities have clear and powerful managing features. There are two moderation types to allow different access levels: superadmins and admins. For example, I am the superadmin and have ultimate control over the chat. It means I can post and pin messages, add, ban or block other members, decide if they can take part in conversations, or invite new members. I use these tools to moderate the chat and keep the feed relevant to the participants.

You can also grow your Viber Community by enabling a share link or revoking the link at any time, as well as assigning admins among Community members, which I do during the live chats. In these live chats, 10-15 lucky GTC followers become admins on a random basis and take part in a live conversation. Admins can boost engagement in the Community this way, creating loyalty to your niche and also keeping users returning to the Viber app in the process.

Additionally, you should take advantage of the diverse content formats offered in Viber Communities. I make sure to post at least twice a day and update fans with news, polls, player practice videos, memes, and jokes. During the Adelaide Davis Cup Qualifier, GTC crafted an immersive experience for fans. I made video tours of the grounds, daily live previews of actions and matches to plunge fans into the event. Also, I covered players' press conferences and practice footage to advance the experience. You can create a content plan and stick to it to keep your feed structured and consistent. Remember to alternate between static visuals, videos, news, learning modules, and entertaining content.

In my experience, another important strategy I’ve learned in Viber communities, is the value of allowing “high traction” or “important” posts to stay at the top of feed for a minimum of 12 hours - this technique allows for a higher number of followers to see the key post, instead of it being overlooked amongst our other engaging GTC content. A prime example of this would be the Tennis Tip Tuesday segment or one of our Wilson giveaway posts which we wanted to achieve maximum traction.

Different content formats in Global Tennis Community on Viber

What can admins do to better engage the audience of the communities?

You can capture audiences with competitions and giveaways. People love participating in competitions, and the opportunity of winning a quality prize will inspire them to engage. In fact, giveaways are among the top-performing content in our Viber community. We arrange 1 valuable giveaway each month and see an increasing engagement of fans. You can gift not only products but also experiences to people. I welcomed 12 GTC prize winners to the Davis Cup Qualifier by Rakuten in Adelaide. What better reward for a sports fan than going to the grounds of a prestigious tennis event? User contests such as these can drive activity in communities and also attract new audiences to the platform.

How do you raise awareness about the Viber Community and attract new members?

There are a lot of Viber Advertising features for community promotion. These tools attract new members within the messaging app in a non-intrusive way and you can choose how to advertise on Viber. You can place your advertisement in a native environment of a user, such as Viber Chats or Viber Calls lists or many other options. We promoted GTC with such Viber Advertising solutions as Explore Screen banners and Sticker packs.

Explore Screen is a perfect place to draw a new audience because people visit Viber Explore to find new brands and content. It means users are already open to new experiences.

Global Tennis Community advertising through Viber Explore Screen and Viber Stickers

Fans also love Sticker packs! Viber Stickers are fun, interactive, and help people express feelings. We've had over 1.5M messages sent with branded Viber Stickers which raised awareness about the chat. The stickers we planned out together intermixed tennis themes, with “relatable” messages which can be used in everyday conversation on the Viber platform. A classic example of this would be the “Hey Mate” and “Thank you” GTC stickers which are universally applicable for everyone, not just tennis fans!

Additionally, a powerful tool has been to promote the Global Tennis Community on Viber through my own Samuel Begg (@samuelbegg) and Hit With Me (@hitwithme) social media channels to elevate the game of the GTC. Influencing through external channels adds to the recognition of the brand and in the case of the GTC, allowed for us to establish instant credibility and trust from users to join this new communities’ journey. You can advance your promotion this way. For example, I shared glimpses of our community content to spread the word about GTC on Viber. An example of this would be the “Swipe Up” feature on Instagram which allows me to create a call-to-action and directly lead my followers to the Viber app content.

You’ve mentioned Viber Sticker packs, what do you think about this promotional tool? How effective are branded stickers in attracting audiences?

Sticker packs are an attractive and fun way to increase Community awareness. It is true that fans enjoy showing emotions with branded images. On average, one user shares each sticker 11 times. Besides, you can use Stickers to target the audience and grow your following. People can download branded stickers for free and automatically subscribe to your community - this is a really cool Viber Advertising tool to attract an engaged audience.

GTC launched two branded Viber Sticker packs with over 1.9M downloads. Fans from all over the world downloaded and shared with friends stickers that were sent over 5.5M times. It helped to strengthen and brand GTC on Viber. With stickers, you can animate your communication with the Viber Community and increase interactivity. Tennis fans have definitely appreciated the creativeness of curated Viber Sticker packs which are tailored to their passion!

You have a very engaged and specific audience – many brands are seeking to have direct access to such communities. Have you ever thought about brand collaborations? What are the potential formats for brand integration?

Yes, indeed, we had successful partnerships with various brands. Our Viber Community is a natural platform for such promotions. Communities unite people around a certain topic, cause, or passion. Businesses can use it to discover a specific audience for their product placement. There is a higher chance of finding users interested in your services this way. It's a win-win game!

For instance, we collaborated with Wilson for the majority of giveaway contests. Wilson is a famous sports equipment manufacturer, so our fans were excited for the opportunity to win world class prizes. For our partner, it was a chance to showcase their products to their target audience of over half a million people. GTC on Viber has a wide geography, so Wilson had the opportunity to enter foreign markets. It means the company had direct access to targeted consumers from all over the world. Sponsors can also promote their brand image by collaborating with devoted communities. We also had the pleasure to giveaway several Luxilon Tennis products, the tennis string brand used by legends of the sport such as Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

Of course, there are a variety of other options that can be created for specific brand needs: events promotion, sponsorship of selected topics, branding of visuals, and many more.

Name your top 3 recommendations for those who want to launch a community on a messaging app?

First of all, define your content strategy and find admins that will share your passion for the topic of your community. You should aspire to captivate and entertain your followers with your posts. Then, attract new audiences and keep people engaged with promotional tools. Features like Sticker packs will strengthen your brand and draw members to your community. Finally, find the right partners to collaborate with and benefit from the win-win synergy. Desirable global brands in your community will make your followers happy to participate in your activities and giveaways.

There are many ways to raise brand awareness and help you communicate with your audience in a better, more meaningful way. If you want to get the most out of your Viber experience, you can learn more and contact us for information on how Viber can help your brand grow, gain better visibility and attract new audiences with Viber Advertising and Stickers.