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The Community Manager's Playbook

How to Build Brand Awareness and Customer Engagement

By Lauren Perkins

  • eBook Price: $24.99
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In The Community Manager's Playbook, digital evangelist and brand marketer Lauren Perkins provides community managers and business leaders alike with the first guide to building, nourishing, and growing online communities that naturally sync with their company's offline marketing efforts.

Full Description

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  • ISBN13: 978-1-4302-4995-5
  • 316 Pages
  • User Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Publication Date: January 7, 2015
  • Available eBook Formats: EPUB, MOBI, PDF

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Full Description

Savvy companies recognize the value of a strong community. Think of Nike and its community of runners, Nike+, and you’ll quickly understand that creating and fostering an online community around a product or brand is a powerful way to boost marketing efforts, gain valuable insight into consumers, increase revenue, improve consumer loyalty, and enhance customer service efforts.

Companies now have the unprecedented opportunity to integrate their brand’s messaging into the everyday lives of their target audiences. But while supporting the growth of online communities should be at the top of every company’s priority list, all too often it falls by the wayside. That’s why brand strategy expert and digital marketer Lauren Perkins wrote The Community Manager’s Playbook (#CMplaybook on Twitter), a must-read guide for business and brand builders who need to strengthen their approach to online B2C community management and customer engagement.

As Perkins explains, if companies want to create thriving online communities focused on their product or brand, they must do more than simply issue a few tweets a day, create (and then abandon) a Facebook page, and blog every once in a while. Instead, organizations of all sizes must treat community management as a central component of their overall marketing strategy. When they do, they will be rewarded handsomely with greater brand awareness, increased customer use and retention, lower acquisition costs, and a tribe of consumers who can’t wait to purchase their next product.

Perkins not only teaches readers how to build an engaging community strategy from the ground up, but she also provides them with the tactical community management activities they need to acquire and retain customers, create compelling content, and track their results along the way. Distinctive in its comprehensive, step-by-step approach to creating online communities that are fully consistent with a company’s existing brand voice, The Community Manager’s Playbook:

  • Explains how excellent community management provides a competitive advantage with a large impact on sales
  • Provides an in-depth overview of brand and business alignment
  • Teaches readers how to identify their community's online target audience and influence their needs and wants
  • Details the appropriate online channels through which content should be distributed
  • Champions the use of an agile approach through repeated testing to maximize the return on every company investment
  • Discusses the many diverse metrics that can be used to measure community scope

Today, there is no brand strategy without a community strategy. Companies that are not developing communities are losing control of their brands and missing opportunities to optimize their marketing investments. With The Community Manager’s Playbook as their guide, however, marketing professionals and the companies and brands they represent will be equipped with the tools they need to manage their online marketing efforts, engage their core customers at every level, leverage community insights into the product development cycle, and ensure that their messaging is heard across all corners of the digital landscape.

What you’ll learn

  • How to create an online community and entice new members to join the conversation

  • The online locales where you can and should be hosting your community
  • Why content is essential to community and how to determine what types of content will best fit the needs and wants of your consumers

  • Why community can be a tremendous source of consumer insight
  • How knowing what your customers need, want, and expect of you will ensure that your brand consistently delivers on its implied promises
  • How to develop a holistic community strategy and effectively manage resources through an agile approach
  • The tactical frameworks to support execution of a community strategy
  • How to define the role of community manager and hire for it

    Who this book is for

    The Community Manager's Playbook will prove indispensable to the supervisors of community managers, including brand managers and marketing hiring managers and directors, who are overseeing marketing and communication strategies and staffing for an existing corporation, agency, or client. Similarly, the book will appeal to entrepreneurial professionals who are developing their company's business and brand strategies and are in need of best practices to increase the scope of their brand marketing and community management knowledge. Finally, individuals who are learning the community manager role on the job and those who are trying to find a job as a community manager will find The Community Manager's Playbook to be an invaluable resource.

    Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Community Management: A Lay of the Land
    Chapter 1 will establish a definition of community management and then guide readers through the book's purpose. It will also discuss the benefits of both developing such a community for readers' businesses and having a solid understanding of the various aspects of community management.

    Chapter 2: Audience and Landscape
    Chapter 2 will discuss the research and development that is a necessary step to successful management of a community. It will lead readers through the "who," "what," "where," "when," and "why" of community management and the implications of each of these elements to one's company. It will then illustrate the digital landscape where existing communities burrow and already segment themselves. This landscape is comprised of the platforms associated with the digital sphere, including traditional media, social media, location, mobile apps, and websites. A digital road map will then be provided that will lead readers through the four locations of content segmentation: platforms, channels, assets, and mediums. Lastly, this chapter will discuss targeting communities, how to deal with uncontrollable preexisting communities, and why delivering useful content to an audience will help a community grow and thrive.

    Chapter 3: Building Your Strategy
    Chapter 3 will begin with a discussion of primary and secondary objectives to cultivate the "why" that supports the basis of a community's creation. It will continue on to provide readers with a visual representation of audience segmentation and explain how people can be divided based on an applicable example. It will also talk about target customers and other key players in the relationship network and how to differentiate audience segments and correctly prioritize them. Chapter 3 will pull together the strategy development by helping readers determine where to host their communities: an already existing web, mobile, or social platform, a newly dedicated and branded page on a social platform, or on their own website or hosted platform.

    Chapter 4: Branding Within the Community
    Chapter 4 will start with an introduction to what brand means and the features it is comprised of. It will then illustrate brand identity using applicable case studies. Readers will dive into the needs related to brand consistency through visual assets and messaging that elicit a response in and are relevant to the targeted audience. Chapter 4 will also delve into how to position a brand to deliver competitive intelligence and needs to customers. Finally, this section will discuss how to figure out what customers expect from a community, which defines a brand's sentiment.

    Chapter 5: Content Creation for Communities
    Chapter 5 begins with an overview of content strategy, including why it is essential to community and what types of content can be used. This chapter will also discuss planning content, how to decide on the right content for the community, and whether the community should use content from other sources or original content. It will then conclude with a discussion of the benefits that each type of content can offer a community, as well as an overview of best practices for responding to a community.

    Chapter 6: Distributing Your Message and Content

    Chapter 6 takes readers through the various ways they can distribute their message and content. Deciding the appropriate channels is pertinent in correctly connecting with the target audience where they spend their time, but there are also a host of management tools and tips to be explained that organize distribution efforts, such as one-click publishing tools and multi-user functionalities. A map will be presented in Chapter 6 that will give readers a more visual understanding of distribution flow process. Lastly, readers will be urged to devise a content calendar to organize content, its frequency, and the customizations required to appropriately post content on each distribution channel.

    Chapter 7: Defining Metrics and Analysis
    Chapter 7 helps readers determine how to measure the success of the changes they have made within their digital community. It first asks readers to take a look at their business goals and explains how these goals tie into metrics. Both quantitative and qualitative goals are determined, and readers are able to analyze the "big picture" of both of these goal types. Chapter 7 also gives readers numerous tools to measure key performance indicators. It then wraps up by discussion community influence and giving case studies relating to "content stickiness," or why it is important to maintain fresh and succinct content.

    Chapter 8: Community Manager's Day-to-Day Role
    Chapter 8 looks to define two mythical components of community managers:
    1. Who are ideal community managers, and how do you find them?
    2. What are the expectations and roles of community managers within an organization?
    As such, Chapter 8 will discuss the recommended functions, responsibilities, and roles community managers play as they spend time responding to users on social platforms. This tactical approach will analyze how to best utilize time when creating content for these platforms.

    Chapter 9: Go-to-Market: Campaign and/or Product Launches
    Chapter 9 will be focused on those who are preparing to launch new products or services in the digital sphere. It will discuss key go-to-market insights and best practices for orienting a community towards this effort.

    Chapter 10: User Management

    Chapter 10 discusses the importance of how to gain users in order to seal in product and service usage, traction, and return interest. Engagement, retention, and reactivation are all part of the overall customer life cycle stages that keep businesses healthy and thriving through various periods of the business cycle.

    Chapter 11: Use Cases
    Chapter 11 will detail the uses of community management through the day-to-day execution perspective. Two areas in which specific cases will be showcased are customer service and research and development. This chapter will then talk about how to successfully implement a customer service strategy and how to incorporate and encourage customers to provide feedback in order to gain insights into the practices your company is currently employing. These steps will ultimately help readers make beneficial adjustments to their business strategy execution.

    Chapter 12: Conclusions
    Chapter 12 will sum up the book and provide several takeaways that will help readers implement a successful community management strategy in their company or organization.


    If you think that you've found an error in this book, please let us know by emailing to editorial@apress.com . You will find any confirmed erratum below, so you can check if your concern has already been addressed.
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