The most popular resources amongst social media and community managers can be grouped into those which help them develop good campaigns, those which serve as reference points, and those which help them network with others in the field.
Resources for Developing Social Media Campaigns
The best community managers draw from case studies and evidence when designing campaigns. In addition to better illustrating strategies to managers who might be less familiar with social media campaigns and their efficacy, cases and hard facts give social media and community managers something to analyze and talk about, thus demonstrating their skills and experience.
Some helpful starting points regarding case studies and research findings can be found below.
Social Media and Online Community-Related Studies
- The Pew Internet and American Life Project: Properly-executed studies sharing helpful insights on broad shifts in internet-related behavior
- Nielsen Reports: Studies more focused around broad media consumption behaviors and preferences that might not be directly tied to the internet
Social Media and Online Community-Related Scholarly Articles
- Google Scholar: A convenient search engine to use when looking for more formal studies related to a particular platform or approach (in addition to its search engine, we recommend utilizing Google Scholar Alerts so that you will be notified of research relevant to your areas of focus as it is released)
- Microsoft Research's Senior Researcher Danah Boyd's Bibliography of Research on Social Network Sites: A helpful jumping off point should you like to explore a general smattering of academic studies on social media
- Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective: Examinations of social media practices through a variety of (qualified) perspectives (more appropriate for commentary and theorizing than building strong cases for social media campaigns)
Examples of Social Media in the News
- The Social Media Section of the New York Times: Helpful for investigating how social media works its way into current events and finding more in-depth, carefully-composed articles
- Forbes' social media coverage: Good for keeping up on product and feature updates and strategic moves made by companies with major social media ties as well as general news stories with social media elements
- Huffington Post opinion and commentary on social media-related events: Useful for reviewing commentary (rather than carefully-researched reporting) on how online communities react to various events and developments
- SocialFresh: Excellent for reading up about specific social media campaigns
Case Studies Shared by Businesses
Keep in mind that case studies offered by platforms will be biased. In addition to seeking out their nicely-composed cases, we recommend hunting for examples of campagins that failed on a given platform. It is, after all, helpful to know about mistakes to avoid in addition to best practices.
- Facebook Success Stories
- Twitter Success Stories
- Pinterest Success Stories
- The Instagram for Business Blog
- The Business Spotlight on Tumblr (check out other categories as well; they feature businesses, amongst other blogs, that fall within different industries)
Guides and Reference Points for Social Media and Community Managers
Polished, clear, and professional writing is an essential element of any social media and community manager's skill set. The following resources can help you give your writing additional polish:
- The Associated Press Stylebook*: The golden standard with newspaper reporting
- The Chicago Manual of Style*: More popular amongst magazines and journals
- The MLA Style Manual*: The reigning guide for academic writing, specifically focused around the humanities and liberal arts
- The Reuters Style Guide: A free and brief alternative to the major paid style guides
- A guide to learning style guides in four days: Approachable, funny, and very, very helpful
Free Online Writing Courses
In addition to presenting grammatically polished prose, social media and community managers will benefit from having holistically strong writing skills. To develop everything from strong web writing abilities to proofreading prowess, check out our compilation of free online writing courses and review those likely to make the biggest impact on your career.
Guides to Social Media and Online Community-Related Tasks
- How to Create Facebook Community Guidelines by Becky Johns on SocialFresh: Includes starting points, important considerations, and real-world examples to review
- A Social Media Guidelines Template by Bluewire Media: Good if you would like to use a template to build social media guidelines for a client
- HubSpot's guide to creating a social media publishing schedule, complete with a template: Excellent if you have never created an editorial calendar before, don't already use special social media software with built-in calendar development tools, and do not know where to start
- Yammer's Community Management Playbook: Offers guidelines to community strategy, design, and execution
Helpful Reference Points
- An image and video sizing cheat sheet by Jonha Revesencio on iJustDid.org: Last updated on November 28th, 2012 (so some dimensions might be out of date already), this image-based guide makes for a generally convenient reference point given how many different dimensions social media and community managers have to consider when assembling images for their clients' social media accounts
- The AP's Social Media Guidelines for Employees: A helpful reference point should you be tasked with creating social media guidelines for a client or employer
- A sample Social Media Tactical Plan by Marketo: A detailed sample that can help you develop a tactical plan for clients and employers
Networking and Professional Development Resources for Community Managers
#CmgrChat on Twitter and TheCommunityManager.com
This Twitter chat and its supplemental website/community has evolved into one of the most popular homegrown community manager resources. Joining in on one of the chats, plus utilizing the site's forums, is a great means by which you can meet other professionals in your field.
My Community Manager
My Community Manager was created by HuffPost Live Community Manager Tim McDonald. On the site, you can find events to attend, Hangouts to join, and a blog with insightful posts related to the field.
This hub of the HootSuite community offers news, event listings, strategy tips, guides to the use of mobile devices for social media management, case studies, tutorials addressing HootSuite tools and features, and posts on community members. Though the focus is obviously on HootSuite and its features, there is plenty of inherent value to be found- even for those who never use the service.
Social Media Club
More focused around social media marketing than community management, The Social Media Club offers meetings through local chapters, helpful articles through several blogs, special events, and the option to become a member by creating an account and maintaining a profile on the site (note that membership is not free).
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