Community Management: Taking PR to the Web

Syracuse University is more than a university, but a culture and way of life. Students and alumni bleed orange for the school and even brag about how mighty our fuzzy orange mascot can be. As public relations practitioners, we work to nurture and build this community around the brands like SU.

With social media, this task has become more complex and in ways more incredible than ever before. Social media has put a new twist on how people like Kelly Lux, once a representative for Alumni Relations, connect the Syracuse University community together. With social media and public relations becoming a happily married couple, people like Kelly were presented the challenge to further build these communities through social media networks. That’s how Community Management was born, screaming and kicking its way into the PR world.

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Community managers like Kelly, who represents the School of Information Studies, works to develop, nature and foster a relationship for people with common interests – in this case, the iSchool, information technology, and the university as a whole. By using social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, Community Managers get their finger on the pulse of what these publics are talking about.

Community managers also support these communities by relaying important information and fostering conversation between these different publics. In terms of internal relations, a community manager builds loyalty and enthusiasm around their brand, helping their employees feel passionate and proud of their company. Overall, they help maintain client and employee loyalty, which is essential for any successful brand. For Kelly, community management extends beyond the computer. She also works with other employees to ensure the message is the same across both digital and analog platforms.

Community management is the intersection of social media and public relations, which basically makes it my dream job. As social media continues to influence our culture and communities, it will be more important for PR practitioners to think more like community managers and find the pulse of their publics online.

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