Personal Branding And The Growing Trend Of Community Managers

by Dan Schawbel on Dec 07, 2010
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Community management has really taken off in the past few years because companies are seeing value in becoming closer to their customers and other stakeholders.

Companies are looking for feedback, ideas, and to provide support to their communities in order to increase loyalty and satisfaction, as well as attract new customers. Read Write Web listed “community management” as one of the top trends for 2010, and it’s not a surprise.

Back in 2007, I assumed one of the first social media roles in a Fortune 200 company, right after DELL hired community managers to rebuild their tarnished brand after the famous “DELL HELL” incident.

As a community manager, it was essential that I played several roles, including being a recruiter of new members (marketing the community), keeping the content fresh and creative, and moderating.

There are several community managers that have done an excellent job growing and retaining their community, and turning them into evangelists. Connie Bensen and Ryan Paugh are examples of successful community managers, who used their personal brand to support their community.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the process by which we identify what makes us unique and then communicate that to our audience. The internet has made branding more accessible to people, and now all brands can actively and directly engage with their audience without a middle man. Whether you work for a company, or you’re an entrepreneur, you have a personal brand and need to manage it to have a successful future.

4 steps to building a personal brand:

  1. Discover: Understand who you are, what you’re passionate about and have expertise in, and then how you want to position yourself in the marketplace. Also, setting up short and long-term measurable goals.
  2. Create: Develop a personal branding toolkit that helps sell your brand. This might include a business card, a website or a blog, social network profiles, a resume, cover letter, references document, and a portfolio of work. You also need a consistent name, picture, format, and possibly a slogan.
  3. Communicate: Networking with people in your community constantly, both online and offline, to further the relationships. Becoming an expert source for the media, and speaking at events.
  4. Maintain: Controlling your online presence and ensuring that it’s up-to-date and reflective of your current brand position.

Why your brand matters as a community manager

Community managers are charged with interacting with their members, which means their brand is extremely important. Members want to know that they’re in good hands and if you communicate trust, respect, and mutual understanding, then they will respond positively.

A brand personality is also important to giving the community some flavor and making it a fun and enjoyable place to be. Community managers should establish a strong brand so the members feel comfortable and can engage freely in open dialogue.

Post Author

Dan Schawbel, recognized as a "personal branding guru" by The New York Times, is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, and the leading authority on personal branding. He is the author of the #1 international bestselling career book,...