Sanka Academy

A Beginner’s Guide to Community Management


Last Update: Aug. 2, 2023

Hello, community builders 👋

Building a thriving community is one of the most effective growth strategies for your organization - and to be honest, it's one of the most rewarding things you can do at work.

Yet optimal community management practices remain poorly understood by business leaders. Why is this?

There are several reasons, but we believe the most important one is that the way communities are built has changed dramatically over the past few years.

Communities themselves have existed for thousands of years, and their definition has not changed for a bit. However, with the spread of digital devices and the revolution in the way people work (e.g., remote work), today’s communities have become more digital, more diverse, and closer.

Community management is also undergoing a reevaluation of its methods with these major changes, and new practices are being developed every day.

This guide is the culmination of insights gained from the thousands of hours of research and client work we have done at Sanka over the past several years.

If you run an online community, or if you want to run an online community, this guide is for you.

It turns out to be a lengthy article as it covers all topics related to community management, but we hope it will be an enjoyable journey where you will learn a lot.

Let's get started.

What Community Management Is

community management fundamentals

We define "community management" as a business practice of using various mediums (such as social media, newsletters, and events) to build and engage communities of customers, partners, teammates, and other stakeholders.

Today, community management is adopted by businesses of all sizes, from startups to global brands.

Community management sounds simple enough in concept, yet it is perceived as one of the hardest tasks for many marketers, customer support agents, and alike.

Why? Because today’s community activities are all over the place and the demands of communities are evolving quickly.

Don’t worry though. The basics of community management remain the same for years.

At its core, community management is about doing everything you can to engage your members, fans, customers, followers, prospects, partners, and other stakeholders to create a positive experience for everyone in the community.

The goal of community management is to drive business growth while building and maintaining relationships among the people within a community.

We emphasize business growth because unless you prove the ROI of community management in one way or another, it'll be hard to get buy-in from your organization and keep investing in your community.

Community management can be done in many ways: through IRL conferences where like-minded people get together for networking, or through educational Zoom sessions to help each other learn about hot trends that are relevant to the community.

Community management is not for everyone and every organization. But at the same time, it's not just for big brands or global enterprises. Any organization small or large can adapt to community-driven business growth.

In the following chapters, we're going to learn how to approach community management, but before that, let's first learn important concepts and definitions.

Key Concepts

Community Channels

Community channels are places where community members can come together to communicate, work on projects, share ideas, and collaborate.

One of the most important jobs as a community manager is to identify the best channel for her community: What kinds of social media do members use most? How frequently do they use? Do they prefer online? offline? These questions need to be answered before building a community.

Once you have a good understanding of the preference, you can start to secure a channel and start inviting initial members. Here are some of popular choices.

  • Forums: Discourse, WordPress, etc.
  • Chat rooms: Discord, Slack, Telegram, etc.
  • Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Newsletter: Mailchimp, Substack, etc.
  • IRL: event venues, office rooms, etc.

Once the community channel is up and running, it’s important to maintain it well. This means regularly checking in with your community to understand what they need and how they want to community in your community.

Community Members

Community members are simpoly people who are part of a community. These days how people interact with a community varies - it can be just following an account or being an active contributor.

This is why we emphasize the importance of community membership, which we’ll talk about more detail later.

Why is community management important? [4 Benefits]

Community management is a growing field, and for good reason. Well-managed communities can create a loyal customer base while building a strong differentiator over competitors.

Let’s look at the benefits of community management. It can…

  • provide deep insights into products and services
  • increase customer engagement and loyalty
  • establish expertise and thought leadership
  • reduce customer support time and cost

What do globally successful businesses like Nike, Apple, BTS, Patagonia, and Disney all have in common?

Yes, you got it right. It’s a community.

Let's go through the benefits of community management with an example from Apple.

Apple's fanatic community members (whatever they’re actually called - followers, customers, reviewers, etc.) give the company tremendous learning opportunities to define its product roadmap. At Genius Bars around the world, Apple gathers feedback from core users and uses those insights to build the next iPhone.

Apple actively engages with its community (such as through events organized almost every day at Apple Stores), to get the community members more engaged and loyal to the Apple brand. These members will likely purchase whatever Apple offers, be it services or products.

Community management can also help to create a positive image for the company. A company with a well-run community can be seen as a thought leader in its niche. It's well known that Apple focuses on improving environmental impact. What's not well known is that they leverage the power of the community to accelerate progress. For example, Apple runs an accelerator to speed up the transition to a green economy.

Lastly, community management can build customer-to-customer relationships, radically improving the efficiency of customer support, and reducing the cost and time to offer support. Apple offers a support community where members resolve problems and handle complaints themselves, which is almost a dream for many companies.

It all sounds fantastic, right? We covered the benefits of community management in detail in this post. If you’re interested, check it out.

AME model - The Community Management Process

community management systems

Okay, you now understand community management is all great.

However, building and maintaining communities requires regular effort.

Your community isn't static; its members, their needs, and communication channels are always in a state of change.

This means that the strategies you use to engage your community today may need to be adjusted as the community evolves.

Just like any other business strategy, community management is effective when it is applied strategically.

We created the process of community management called The AME model (Analytics, Membership, and Engagement) to make community management as strategic as possible.

Let’s dive into more details of the four pillars of community management.


With analytics, you will measure and understand the community’s growth, needs, complaints, sentiment, and more.

It is important to listen to the community and accumulate knowledge about it by taking surveys and conducting interviews to better understand the issues faced by its members.

In addition, if a community is managed by a company, robust reporting is necessary to measure and output community KPIs to communicate with other stakeholders.


The critical thing about community management is identifying and offering membership values to community members (otherwise what’s the point of being a part of your community?).

The value can be as casual as organizing exclusive events for your members or giving away VIP tickets to concerts.

The point is, your community needs to be designed in a way that the roles and benefits are very clear for every member involved.


As a community manager, your number one job is to keep your community engaged.

Community engagement refers to the relationship between a company/organization and members, as well as among members. A well-run community manages engagement very meticulously.

The two principles of community engagement are to be 1) consistent in your community activities and 2) responsive so that your community is being heard.

If you only engage the community when you have a new product or service to announce, they will become less and less interested in what you do.

Remember, a community is not about you, it’s about its members.

In this section, we learned the process of community management. Next, let’s look at some tips to run community management, based on advice from community pros.

Proven Tips for Community Management

We’ve helped many clients build and grow their communities. While supporting them, we’ve also accumulated practical know-how that leads to successful community management. In this chapter, we’ll introduce some of them.

While doing so, we learned community management is about building genuine relationships by providing value to the community. The continuous effort to engage your community is the only way to ensure long-term, sustainable growth.

Here are eight proven tactics you can use to build and grow your community.

  1. Use content to engage: “Content is king” is often used in the world of marketing. The same goes for the world of community management. Share blog articles about community progress, photos of community events, or Youtube videos of learning sessions. You can use the content as a key driver to get your community engaged.
  2. Design membership well: This one may seem obvious, but it’s important to engage your community by giving them exclusive benefits by being a part of your community. A well-designed membership will encourage members to engage with your community regularly.
  3. Solve problems: Community managers need to have a problem-solving mindset because community members always have problems - large or small. This is a big opportunity for you though. One of the most effective ways to interact with members is by offering a free service to solve their problems.
  4. Pay attention to communication frequency: Communities need to keep active on all of their community channels. However, community management isn’t about spamming members with your announcements. Ideally, your members run your community rather than you run it.
  5. Share bad news too: “Good news only” is a red flag in many cases. Being transparent with members is a key element of successful community management. Admit failures and learn from them rather than hide them. Community members are smart; they see it through anyways.
  6. Ask questions: The best way to get your community members talking is to ask questions. This is a great way to start a conversation and get your community engaged in a conversation about your project.
  7. Set up analytics: This is one of those obvious pieces of advice, but it’s important to keep an eye on your social media and community channel analytics to make sure that you are posting content that is engaging your community.
  8. Automate repetitive tasks: By using automation, you will be able to post content, engage your community, and keep your social media accounts active every day.

Community Management vs Social Media Management

Social media management and community management are often referred interchangeably and share some similarities, but the two are different.

**While social media management focuses on, as the name suggests, using SNS platforms like Twitter and Facebook to reach out to and engage with potential customers, community management is all about building and nurturing relationships with and among members regardless of the channels and method. **

Both approaches have their own strengths and weaknesses, but we see community management has a bigger operational scope and a larger leverage to drive business growth. This is proven by the fact that most successful enterprises today is ones with the most strong community.

The biggest difference between social media management and community management is where their communication happen; social media management focuses on social media, but the community can exist anywhere, whether it's on mobile app, newsletter, or even offline.

Another big difference is the objective of these two practices; social media management aims to build relationships with audience on social media. On the other hands, community management’s goal is building relationships with AND among members. Some of these members can be customers but they can be employees, fans, investors, influencers and more.

To sum, 1) where communication is done and how relationships are built are the two critical differences of these two practices.

Wrap-up and Next Action

When done right, community management helps companies expand its reach, improve its products, reduces its costs and even grow business. We hope this article helped you to outline the overview of community management and start building an engaging community.

As the next step, we encourage you start building a community because actually doing is the fastest way to master community management. If you’re stuck, let us know - we’re here to support you.

Are you looking for a way to view and manage your Discord statistics? We've researched some of the best Discord analytics tools. Check it out! Read the article
Mastering IT Cost Reduction: Definition, Importance, and Strategies Digital Transformation Strategy: A Practical Tips Digital Transformation Examples and Case Studies Digital Transformation for Small Businesses: Leaping Into the Future AI Chatbots : A Comprehensive Guide Newsletter Automation: The Key to Your Content Marketing Success Community Engineering: A Complete Guide A Beginner’s Guide to a Social Media Strategy Mastering Twitter Automation - Super Effective Ways Maximizing Success: The Ultimate Guide to Compound Startups SaaS Localization: 7 Strategies to Successfully Localization Your Software Products A Beginner’s Guide to Community-Led Growth What Is a BOM? The Key to Streamlining Your Manufacturing Process The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Effective Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Discord Management Complete Guide Maximize Business Efficiency with Enterprise Resource Planning Generative AI Marketing A Beginner’s Guide to Community Management Why ITAM Matters: A Guide to Effectively Managing Your IT Assets Reskilling Your Workforce: A How-to for Companies The Top 11 Attendance Tracking Tools to Monitor Your Team's Attendance YouTube Affiliate Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started 12 Best Project Management Tools/Software You Should Know About The Top 10 Service (SaaS) Management Tools The Top 12 Work Management Software to Streamline Your Work The 11 Best CRM Tools: A Comprehensive Overview The Top 13 Email Marketing Tools to Enhance Your Email Campaigns Top 10 IT Asset Management Tools in 2023 A guide to Social Media Automation and 5 Key Benefits The Best Asia Marketing Agencies: Leaders in the Industry Maximize Efficiency with Social Media Publishing Automation Social Media Bots: How to Accelerate Business Growth Boost Your Profits: ERP Small Business Solutions Explained Mastering the Art of Advertising in Japan: Key Strategies and Tips 5 Essential Facebook Automation Strategies to Grow Your Business Maximize Your Business Growth with Instagram Automation Tips Understanding Consumer Behavior in Japan: Key Insights Master Ecommerce Translation: Boost Global Sales Today Mastering SEO in Japan: Boost Your Business with Tips and Tricks Discord Scheduled Posts for Efficient Communication Unleashing the Potential of SEO Asia: Strategies for Success 8 Marketing Automation Tools to Grow Your Business CRM and Digital Experience (DX): The Road to Digitalizing Customer Relationships ROAS Mastery: How to Get the Most From Your Ad Spend [With stats] 4 surprising benefits of community management Cloud-Based CRM: Harnessing the Power of the Cloud for Customer Relationships SaaS Management Platforms: How to Simplify Operations and Save Time The Best Instagram Analytics Tools to Radicaly Improve Your Account Management A Beginner’s Guide to Community Membership Management E-Commerce in Asia: The landscape and why it's growing so fast 11 Ways to Improve Conversion Rates on Social Media How to Create an Effective E-Commerce Management Process Onboarding and Organizing New Employees Workflow Top 5 Automation Tools for Social Media to Boost Your Business A Guide to Social Media Customer Service: Strategies and Best Practices for Success What is community? It’s about people and their relationships. The Social Media Best Practices for Fashion Brands Empowering Customer Service: The Top 11 Help Desk Software A Complete Guide to Social Media Content Social Listening Guide: What is "social listening"? A thorough explanation from methods to successful case studies. The Art of Decision-Making: A Comprehensive Guide to Business Choices Google Analytics to Monitor Social Media Traffic Mastering Influencer Marketing on Instagram: A Comprehensive Guide Write Code and Push to GitHub Workflow Getting Started With Localization Automation: A Beginner's Guide SEO Automaiton 101 - Get ranked higher quickly Top Social Media Management Agencies in Asia to Boost Your Brand Create a Website Page Using WordPress: A Comprehensive Guide The Power of Integration: The Best 11 iPaaS Tools E-Learning Tools: A Comprehensive Guide to the Top Solutions Introduction to Affiliate Marketing 10 Best Sales Force Automation Tools to Escalate Your Sales Process What Is Kanban? Understanding the Kanban Methodology and Principles The 10 Best Cloud Cost Management Tools: A Definitive List The 10 Best Employee Training Software Solutions for Your Team 8 Marketing Strategies to Grow Business in Asia The 10 Best Sales Analysis Software Tools for Your Business Top 10 Workflow Management Tools: Features, Pros and Cons Top 10 Social Media Listening Software: Features, Pros & Cons The 10 Best Influencer Marketing Tools and Why You Need Them ROI of Automation Tools: Low Cost & High Reward? The Top List of Digital Transformation Platforms The Ultimate List of the Top Customer Data Platforms 7 Examples of Popular Online Communities Mastering the Sales Order Process Workflow: A Comprehensive Guide Top 10 Social Media Marketing Tools Every Marketer Should Know Unlock the Power of Social Media: Tips for Instagram Highlight How to Manage Employee Leave Requests Using Google Calendar What Are Twitter Threads? Understanding the Basics Unlock the Power of LinkedIn Automation to Transform Your Profile The Rise of Emotion AI: What You Need to Know The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Business Through Workflow Mapping Embracing the Future with Digital Transformation in Manufacturing The Workflow Efficiency Blueprint: A Step-by-Step Process for Optimizing How You Work Digital Transformation Failures and Lessons Learned Mastering Internal Auditing: A Comprehensive Guide A Comprehensive Guide: How to Plan and Create a Commercial Film Mastering the Art of Document Approval Management How to Run Effective NFT Marketing Campaigns: Best Practices and Case Studies A Look at Digital Transformation KPIs in Enterprises Master the Expense and Reimbursement Process with QuickBooks: A Comprehensive Guide AI Marketing - The Complete Guide Crafting Effective Email Marketing Strategies for Abandoned Cart Workflow Streamline Your Processes with Workflow Templates: 8 Examples and Step-by-Step Guides Mastering International Marketing: Strategies for Global Success The community management process: A Step by Step Guide A Comprehensive Guide to Creating and Setting Google Ads Creating the Ideal Workflow for Software Development: A Step-by-Step Guide Manage a Webinar Using Zoom Workflow: A Comprehensive Guide The Power of Automation: How Social Media Auto-Publishing Tools Benefit Your Business Top Social Selling Tools to Boost Your Sales Strategy The Best Community Management Tools to Build an Engaged Audience Comprehensive Guide to Creating Instagram Ad Campaigns The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Brand Community Simplified Guide to Creating and Setting Up Facebook Ads Definitive Guide to Tracking Software and Application Bugs Mastering Mailchimp: A Comprehensive Guide to Sending Marketing Emails Mastering Digital Marketing in Japan: Tips and Strategies Mastering Digital Marketing in Asia: Essential Strategies & Tips Mastering Instagram: How to Create and Publish an Effective Marketing Campaign Step-by-Step A Comprehensive Guide to Tracking and Managing Manufacturing Production Workflow Top Influencers for Web3 Marketing How to Recruit and Educate the Best Talent to Drive Digital Transformation Leveraging CRM in Marketing: Enhancing Customer Relationships & Boosting Business Performance CRM, MA, and SFA: Understanding the Difference and Their Importance Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Enhancing Patient Care and Operational Efficiency Embracing Digital Experience at Your Work Embracing the Future: Digital Transformation in the Banking Industry What Is Workflow Automation and Why You Need It Maximize Your Business Potential with LinkedIn Analytics Social Media ROI - How to justify the spend Top 10 Quotes About Artificial Intelligence from Influential Business Leaders Digital Transformation (DX) for Sales: Embracing Innovation for Business Success Digital Journey: The Transformation of the Travel Industry Pioneering Change: The Digital Transformation in Local Governments Digital Transformation in Real Estate: Uncovering the Opportunities and Challenges The Future of HR: Unleashing the Power of Digital Transformation in Human Resources The Ultimate Guide to Mastering Social Media Marketing Blockchain Communities: What Are They? And Why You Should Build One A Deep Dive into Cloud Migration: Embracing the Future of Business Why Sales Enablement Matters: How to Empower Your Sales Team to Close More Deals 10 examples of well-run brand communities: everything you need to know Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Branding in Japan AI Marketing Strategy: How to Develop an Effective Plan Exploring Social Media in Japan: Trends and Opportunities Mastering Influencer Marketing: Proven Strategies for Success A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Initial Patient Intake and Treatment Mapping E-commerce Rebate Campaign Process: A Step by Step Guide What is Corporate SNS? Understand the Benefits and Tips for Greater Results! Mastering Twitter Analytics: Your Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Leveraging Twitter Data Everything You've Wanted to Know About Web3 Marketing Workflow Optimization: How to Achieve More by Doing Less Define, Automate, Optimize: A Comprehensive Guide to Email Marketing Workflows Why and How to Expand Your Startup to the Asian Market Comprehensive Understanding of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Best Talent Management Software: A Comprehensive Review of the Top Solutions Boost Workplace Efficiency: Top 10 Employee Productivity Tracking Software Cultural Marketing 101 - how to run business in different countries with different culture Influence Engineering Explained: What, Why and How A guide to Social PR The Comprehensive Guide to Workflow: A Key to Optimized Business Operations Mastering Project and Task Management with Notion: A Detailed Guide Top SEO Agencies in Asia: Boost Your Business Growth The Best Discord Analytics Tools to Track Server Stats Mastering Canva: Simplifying the Presentation Creation Process Digital Transformation in Insurance - Revolutionizing the Industry Landscape The Digital Transformation in the Retail Industry Mastering Global E-Commerce: How to Build a Successful Global E-commerce Business AI Marketing Tools: Revolutionizing the Future of Digital Advertising Unleashing Digital Transformation in Supply Chain Management and Logistics Embrace the Future: Digital Transformation (DX) in Accounting The Comprehensive Guide to YouTube Automation: Unlock the Power to Streamline Your Channel's Growth The Beginner's Guide to Mastering Workflow Management AI in Marketing: A Deep Dive into Fortune 500 Companies What Is a Workflow Chart? The Ultimate Guide to Streamlining Your Process What Is PLM? An In-Depth Look at Product Lifecycle Management What Is a Workflow Plan and How to Write One The Definitive Guide to Workflow Analysis The Benefits of AI Marketing Explained Community Growth: Growing and optimizing your community size Workflow Approval: A Comprehensive Guide to Increased Efficiency Community Management vs Social Media Management How to build a thriving DeFi x NFT community like sudoswap Everything You Need to Know About Product Data Management A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Engagement

There's a better way to
run your ecommerce.

From Marketing to Customer Service.
Everything you need to grow ecommerce.
One subscription. Unlimited accounts.

Start Free

Contact us for more information.

Free Trial and Demo
Dedicated Support
Estimates & Quotes
Spec & Tool Selection
Data migration
Development & Consulting