The Social PR Community Manager’s 6 Step Guide + 100 Must-Follow Community Managers


Social Pr Guide to Community ManagementIt’s a show that never stops. The social PR community manager’s role is about more than just crowd, reach, traffic, followers and awareness. It’s the word “community” that lets a brand leverage social media as a means to:

  • Spike brand advocacy
  • Leverage user=generated feedback and reviews
  • Influence decision making
  • Build relationships
  • Influence loyalty and referrals
  • Create happiness

What’s out: Random targeting, copy and pasted articles, last minute posts, low engagement and no reporting. Uh-Oh!

What’s in: Social media community managers with focus, purpose, personality, time and a BUDGET.

Your brand’s community can’t live without the basics: proper nutrition (content), exercise (engagement), education (what they need to know), and fun (promotions). Think of your social community as a living, breathing organism that needs to be fed and monitored so it can grow.

Start with these six ingredients to feed your social media community.

1. Get to Know Your Audience

Simply put, if you don’t know your audience how do you expect to create effective messaging and appeal to them?

Start getting to know the persona, or multiple personas, for your target audience. A persona is a fictional character that represents the attributes of a set of people within a target market, for example, Suzy Homemaker or DIY David.

Once you know who you want to target you can build a persona by filling in some of the following information:

  • First, some demographics. Gender, income, marital status, etc. (Social PR Secret: these will come in handy when asked to help set up social paid promotions)
  • Next, give some background. What do they enjoy doing? List some interests and hobbies
  • Find out what devices they use and which social media channels they’re on
  • Identify their goals and challenges, then add your solutions to the mix
  • Determine their common objections so you can address them

Moz published an excellent article by Michael King titled: Personas: the art and science behind the person visiting your website that takes a deep, deep dive into this very important aspect of successful social media community management.

2. Discover and Develop Content Worth Sharing

Now that you understand your target and who you hope to appeal to, it’s time to create and curate some awesome content! Not all content has to be original but it does have to be consistent with your brand.

If you choose to share content from a third party, do more than just post it on your profile. Even though this post may not lead directly to your domain you can still create a conversation amongst your community members and build your brand’s image. Add context, value and your point of view to everything you share.

markettoonistAs for original content, be sure to create it with your audience in mind. It’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM. The best content:

  • Is personalized
  • Answers questions
  • Tells stories
  • Is eye candy
  • Meets business goals
  • Has fun!

Social PR Secret: Find out your brand’s authentic voice and inject your brand’s unique personality into everything. People want to engage with something that is real.

3. Expect the Unexpected and Create a Plan

Whether it’s a national tragedy or something your brand has done that’s brought attention, you have to have a plan of action in place and make sure everyone on your social team is aware of it.

Your community manager should know the answers to these questions:

  • Do you cease all planned content?
  • If yes, for how long?
  • Do you have a plan to stop promoted posts from still showing up?
  • Do you have an outreach list of who needs to know when a blinder happens on social media?

Depending on the situation, it may be important to stop any scheduled content from appearing. The social team needs to know what type of situations require that action and who should be in charge of getting it done in a timely manner.

If there is a brand-related crisis, what is the chain of command and how should the social team respond? Will a blanket post cover everything or should you have a team in place ready to respond?

Depending on how a brand responds they could either escalate a situation and ruin community relations or resolve it and build their community’s faith and trust in them. Establishing a plan can help you achieve the latter.

4. Distribute and Promote

So you’ve created some fabulous content and some dynamite, targeted social posts to promote it. You hit post and… *crickets*.

The bad news is, barely anyone sees your organic content. Twitter and Google+ newsfeeds move so fast that no matter how targeted your post is, it can still get overlooked, and Facebook is reducing organic reach so that it can show users more relevant posts.

However, there’s a light at the end of every tunnel. The good news is that paying to promote content will not only expand your reach, it will also help you reach your target audience.

Here are some Social PR Tips to distribute and promote your posts:

  • Retarget your website visitors on Facebook and Twitter. These people have already shown interest in your brand. The more they are exposed to you, the more likely they’ll convert
  • Use email lists
  • Create a lookalike audience from your existing community
  • Build community from community by targeting fans of relevant pages

5. Random Acts of Kindness

Social PR Secrets Book GiveawayA social media community is only as good as its member engagement. When trying to build a community it’s not a numbers game, it’s about finding the right people. We’ve all seen brands host contests to grow fans and followers before. They definitely work but what happens after the contest is over? If the new community members aren’t your brand’s typical audience then they won’t engage afterward and will more than likely unfollow your brand when they start noticing it in their feeds.

It doesn’t matter how many people are in your community if they are not engaged. One thousand brand advocates are worth an immeasurable amount more than one hundred thousand disinterested “followers.”

Social PR Secret: Keep your members engaged and committed by rewarding them with random acts of kindness.

AimClear giveawayHere are some ways you can reward community members:

  • Share, acknowledge and favorite their posts
  • Write a personalized handwritten – thank you for being our customer- card.
  • Invite them to a special dinner like Freshbooks does
  • Send branded swag in the form of  books, stickers and handwritten notes (Social PR Bonus: oftentimes they’ll post their freebies)

6. Measure

The only way to see if your efforts have made any progress is to measure results and be sure to benchmark before and after. First, determine what results are important to your campaign and then track them.

The following are some results you may want to measure:

  • Website visits
  • Email list growth
  • Sales
  • Signups and downloads
  • Loyalty and referrals

You can set up your goals in Google Analytics to make tracking significantly easier.

Before you can start social media community management; be sure you have these six ingredients in place: Audience. Content. Plan. Distribute. Reward. Measure.


Need some inspiration? Check out Little Bird’s Top 100 2014 Community Managers.

And if that was not enough, you can buy the recent  recording of SIM Engage (Social +Internet Marketing Engage), a one-day event that will inspire, energize and educate marketers in the latest and most important topics in Social Media and Internet Marketing.




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