Jacob Curtis
February 5, 2014

Build Communities that Convert – Here’s How – Part 1

Sometimes I forget just how long I’ve been managing online communities. Whether it was my guild in Everquest, the OSU Dodgeball Club on Myspace, the numerous Facebook pages I created in college, or the massive brand pages I currently admin.

I’ve been around long enough to see just how much social communication has evolved.

Through my experience of both epic wins and admittedly epic fails, I’ve discovered the art of effective community management and in doing so I’ve decided to to share my wisdom in this 3-part series of the most effective CM practices I’ve found.

Class is now in session!

Lesson 1 – Always Be Converting:

While most community managers can get-by with passive moderation, it’s important to remember that community management is much more than removing spam or responding to fans with a generic “thank you”.

In sales, there’s the popular antidote of “Always Be Closing,” and when it comes to CM think of it as “Always be Converting”.

Conversions come from the conversations you have with your community and can encompass the following things:

  • Picking up on subtle hints of interest and directing a community member to a product page
  • Leading a disgruntled fan to a customer service form/email
  • Soliciting a positive review for your companies’ LinkedIn page or Google+ page
  • Having a reader leave their feedback about your article on the actual blog and not just in passing via Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Cross promoting another social platform that will provide a community member added value



Now I’m very vocal online in providing feedback about products or services I use.
In a Twitter conversation I had with the reporting company my agency works with, I shared my positive experience with their service and mentioned them on Twitter. Their community manager (of course) responded back and thanked me for my feedback. Business as usual…


But then they went one step further.


They politely asked if I could leave the same recommendation on their companies’ LinkedIn page (something that otherwise would not have crossed my mind) and provided me a direct link to do so. Now my recommendation is a permanent feature on their LinkedIn page instead of being a passing conversation on Twitter that few would ever see.


Score one for the good guys!



Regardless of the end-goal, make it a positive experience for both parties, don’t forget you’re ultimately representing the brand you work for. Be persuasive not pushy or come off as too needy. Remember these are supposed to be conversations where conversions happen naturally as the logical next step in the dialog.
It’s also important to make the process as easy as possible by providing the appropriate link(s) to increase the likelihood a conversion happening.


ProTip: use a URL shortener to track click-throughs to document your success and build extra clout with your boss/manager.


When it comes down to it, nobody is going to force you to go above and beyond your job description, and anyone can get hired as an entry level community manager just to be present on the pages.

However the CMGRs who stand out are the ones who help support the companies’ bottom line and provide an ROI for their position rather than flying under the radar and collecting a paycheck.

How do you effectively community manage? Let me know in the comments below!

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Jacob Curtis

Digital Marketing Strategist at Bonfire Marketing
An early adopter of digital media, Jacob has observed the evolution and adoption of social media in connecting people online. Working at Bonfire Marketing he continues to hone his craft and creates social media tutorials in his free time.