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How to Build a Community: The Research Tips, Platforms and Resources Community Managers Need to Know

Community expert Caty Kobe from FeverBee recently joined us at #Bufferchat to talk about community management. Caty—along with our amazing Bufferchat community—shared great advice, blog and book recommendations.

Read on for the highlights, or catch the full recap here!

#bufferchat with Caty Kobe

What advice do you have for someone building an online community?

From Caty:

  • If you’re building a brand community, please do your homework first!
  • Take the time to research your customers & target community members. Learn who they are, what they do, and what they think.
  • Everything you do as a community builder should be about the community. Everything.
  • You should be giving to your community members far more than what you’re receiving from them.

caty kobe quote on community

More great insights:

  • “Take time to get to know your community members! Listen, empathize, ask questions.” @shannnonb
  • “Treat every community member as a rockstar, have a strategy and expectations and be patient.” @djksar
  • “Be present & available to your community. Consistently provide resources & knowledge. Share your joy & excitement.” @MarissaBurdett

How do you pick the best social networks or platform for your community?

  • “You want to be where your audience is. If your audience uses Twitter, a Facebook group isn’t going to get you anywhere.” @danielleirogers
  • “The birth of a great community are the 1 to 1 conversations that turn into relationships that grow into a community.” @iSocialFanz
  • “Facebook= personal touch, Twitter= open conversations, LinkedIn= professional networking, Pinterest= visual interest” @liliholl
  • “You have to set your metrics for success. Social platforms are similar, but can be used for very different things.” @Steven_Paul

What qualities make for a strong community?

From Caty:

  • Relationships BETWEEN members. A space where people feel safe to contribute.

Other great insights:

  • “A strong community is one that supports and helps its members no matter what. And the members support one another.” @v4violetta
  • “Setting community guidelines upfront; consistent, helpful conversations; offline meet-ups.” @henrynatalie
  • “A desire for everyone in the community to better themselves while helping others grow.” @the_chrisbryant

How do you keep in touch with your community’s needs?

From Caty:

  • Put yourself in your community member’s shoes for a min. Esp if you’re running a brand community!
  • Also consider the vocal minority vs. silent majority question. Use both qualitative & quantitative data to keep in check.
  • Listening is one part of the equation. Acknowledging, processing, & acting on what you’ve learned is crucial.
  • There’s lots of listening happening. Make sure you’re keeping track of the feedback, and following up accordingly!

More great insights:

  • “Engage and check in with your community often. Actions speak louder than words.” @Christine_Chen6
  • “keep in touch w/community via multi-touch & options: email to social, their choice . Often dictated by reason/purpose” @mediacollective
  • “As community managers we are in the biz of customer service! Good CS always starts with attentiveness!” @ayylookitstoni

What blogs or sites are great resources for community-building tips?

From Caty:

  • The blog is also great. They publish a lot of fantastic case studies
  • Managing Communities by is one of my all time favorites
  • .’s blog is great too… they do great recaps and the research they publish is second to none
  • I also follow vendor blogs. You’ll see a lot of product info & case studies that you could translate into inspiration!
  • Some self-promo: I publish the each week which is aimed at bringing more resources to the space.
  • Really anything related to social psychology, business, and design can help inspire your community game.
  • I really love looking at business books for community inspiration. Switch is an all time fave

Book recommendations for community building:

Thank you so much for everyone who joined in on this great chat! Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am Pacific/noon Eastern and join our Google+ community for the latest news.

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

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