8 Ways to Show Your Community Love

photo credit: flatworldsedge via photopin cc
photo credit: flatworldsedge via photopin cc

As we flip the calendar for the first time in 2013, we start to see the hearts and flowers that accompany February. Whether you are a romantic or a cynic, you can’t avoid the barrage of candy hearts and Valentine’s being thrown at you. This intro is no exception. There is a lot of love talk about there for the next few weeks, but like a day old Walmart rose, the love often fades quickly. But it can’t when you are a community manager.

When you manage a community, large or small, you need to remember to show that community love no matter what date it is on the calendar. Here are 8  ideas to help you aim your Cupid’s Bow.

1. Swag

Who doesn’t love free stuff? T-shirts are always a fan favorite. They can also act as way to turn your community members into brand ambassadors. Ask the people who you give the shirts to, to send in a photo wearing the shirt and create a collection. Having your logo across the chest of all your fans is a great way to get introduced to others. Stickers are another great item to send out to your fans, you’ll see them decorating people’s computers and offices quickly.

Having an event? Create a set of temporary tattoos for your attendees to wear. Showcase the people and have them show off their new ink.

No budget for give-a-ways? Try something free and downloadable. Create a poster, infographic or something fun that your members can print out and use. Hootsuite has an Owly mask that you can print and decorate yourself and they keep a Tumblr page of submitted pics.

2. Get to know them

Take the time to get to know various members of your community, really know them. It would be a Herculean effort to attempt this with a very large audience but you can break it down. Look at the people who communicate with your brand the most. Is there someone who comments, retweets and favorites your Tweets? Do you have a person who is always the first in line to contribute to a conversation on Facebook?

Starting with that group, find out what each one also likes to post about and share. Find a common interest and bring that into your conversations. Do those people have blogs? Go in and comment and contribute to their community. *Remember, even if you are speaking as the CM, you are representing your brand. Keep in voice.*

3. Create Special Content

Make something just for your fans. Bank up some great content and present it to your fans and let them know it is just for them. Put that content into an e-book or a whitepaper. Host a weekly or monthly webinar covering various topics that are important to the members of your community or explaining step-by-step ‘how to’s’.

4. Host an event

Are the members of your community located close? Invite them to an office open house or have a happy hour in your location. Hosting demonstrations or speaking events are also great ways to meet the members of your community and help them out.

5. Deals/Advance notice

Offer your community a special sale or coupon for your product or a service (holiday special, new fan deal or a ‘happy birthday’ offer). Do you own a business that holds sales? Give your social media community an extra day to shop or a better coupon.

6. Ask/Listen to them

People like to know that their opinions matter and they are being listened to. If you are thinking about making a change or adding something new – see what they have to say. Crowdsource your fan base, they can be your most loyal advocates and will appreciate being asked to get involved.

What is it your fans are saying to you online? Are there things people want to see you add to your menu? Do you have a lot of questions about how to do something? Look into what people have to say and not only address it online, actually take the ideas into consideration. Social Media can be considered a giant suggestion box from your online community, see what you can do.

7. Promote them

One of the most important things about social media is to not be “all about me”. The members of your community are a great place to look into curating content. Use great information that they put out. Share blog posts, retweet them, and spread the social media love.

Also promote them individually. Feature a Facebook fan of the week, have a member of the month regularly on your blog, do a Follow Friday mention of people on Twitter. Give other members of the community reasons to get to know one another.

8. Thank Them

This one is one of the most easy to do and so very often forgotten. A simple ‘thank you’ in appreciation goes a long way. Take it one step further and post thank you notes to people (a great visual you can share across all social channels.). Go even further and send them a personal video greeting to thank people. Use your imagination, be unique, show your personality. Just show your thanks.

Whatever you do – just show them that you care.

Those are a few ideas to help you treat your community to twelve months of Valentine’s Day. How do you show your community members love?

Carrie Keenan
Carrie Keenan is a Social Media Community Manager and blogger out of Appleton, WI. I work with both B2B and B2C clients, but I prefer to call them all P2P. I am actively involved in the Wisconsin Irish community as the social media chair for Oshkosh Irish Fest. I’m a proud geek and book nerd, lover of big words, rhyme & alliteration.

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11 Comments on "8 Ways to Show Your Community Love"

CD Calkins
March 22, 2014

Carrie, thanks for the good article. This inspires me to get more involved. I was wondering since you had the "scoop it" tee-shirt on what you thought of the website. I noticed I have some material on there which I never posted. What is scoop-it? I know I can simply Google it; just wanted your insight…
My recent post 5 Simple Data Backup Methods to Avoid a Data Loss Catastrophe

February 7, 2013

That is so cool that Scoop.it sent you a T-shirt! What a great way to show they are listening and caring! I agree with all of the above. Sometimes I forget to thank and recognize other people/companies, but it is so necessary and it helps the people get to know you better! Great post!

February 14, 2013

Thanks Laurie! It was pretty sweet of them to send it out. I heard an interesting comment last night that was basically, you shouldn't have to thank people for doing their own jobs, but I think some people go above & beyond (and not just be thanked) those are the rock stars.

February 4, 2013

Good stuff, Carrie. Six through eight are big big big in my humble opinion!

February 5, 2013

Absolutely! Those are indeed the most important! Glad you enjoyed the post.

February 4, 2013

Great post Carrie, and all good points! I am big believer in swag, have been utilizing 'trinkets and beads" for a very longtime. Leave 'em with the brand item that they are proud to wear or display (functionality and practicality).

February 4, 2013

Thanks Randy!

You said it right with " Leave 'em with the brand item that they are proud to wear or display " they will wear/use you with pride!

February 4, 2013


Great list! I especially like #1 – Swag. A place I could put a bit more attention.

I've found it incredibly rewarding to offer Fan Of The Week, and even SteamFeed-er Of The Week. This has helped my Facebook community learn about new topics and people, and additional resources that my brand may not cover. Many are afraid to put spotlight on others, but it is providing access — Where you become the path conductor as the community manager.

When I was working in the non-profit sector, I learned that Thank You is indeed "underdone." People want to be thanked 7 different times, 7 different ways to feel satisfactorily appreciated. All of your list items are ways to show appreciation. :)

Thanks for sharing your insights,


February 4, 2013

Thanks Keri!

Your SteamFeed-er of the Week is SUCH a great example of recognition! Social is such a perfect world for featuring people like that.

Swag is probably the most fun one of the list. I have a friend who is a sticker fanatic, it doesn't cost a lot to do stuff like that & make people incredibly happy!

And I can't say it enough – saying "Thank You" is so important!