Episode 54 ~ Growing and Activating Customer Communities ~ Facebook


In this episode of the Social Lights Podcast, podcast host and Social Mediology founder Kate vanderVoort chats with Kara Cronin, community manager, relationship builder and renowned public speaker. Kara is the Community Manager of Community Partnerships at Facebook and is leading the community experience for the Facebook Certified Community Manager program.

About Kara

Kara has been building community since the age of 6.


She fell in love with community building while working as a Sorority Leadership Consultant, and continued pursuing her passion while leading communities at theSkimm and Shine. Kara is now a Community Manger at Facebook where she's using her experience in community building, content creation, grassroots marketing, and event strategy to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

She has coached collegiate women to lead award-winning sorority chapters; cultivated a brand ambassador army responsible for 20% of audience growth; led campaigns to educate and motivate over 200,000 people to cast an informed vote in the 2018 midterm election; and connected millions of people across the globe with support, strategies, and resources to prioritize their mental health as members the world’s largest self-care community.

Kara has been a keynote speaker at the CMX Summit and SocialFresh conferences, a panellist at Be Social Change and Dreamers / Doers, a facilitator for Alpha Delta Pi and LeaderShape, as well as a mentor for FindSpark and Get Sh!t Done Accelerator programs.


“We're in an age of authenticity where people are really supporting the brands and organisations, that customers not only believe in, but are really aligned with, whether it's based on their values or the organisations that they support.” (12:33)

Kara says there are so many opportunities for brands and organizations right now to create communities that it’s hard to pick just a couple to talk about. She says we're in an age of authenticity where people are really supporting the brands and organisations, that customers not only believe in, but are really aligned with whether it's based on their values or the organizations that they support. It feels different than it did even five - ten years ago in terms of people aren't just buying the big brand anymore, they're buying from the people that really feel authentic and that they feel connected to. She says community, especially a digital community, can just be such an amazing tool to showcase that authenticity, to connect with your consumer and community on a regular basis in a way that's real. 


“Connecting the community members with each other is the most important thing.” (21:13)

On the topic of learning how to become a community manager, Kara says connecting community members with each other is the most important thing, especially in a learning group. Because social learning is so important, that peer support, is essential for community managers. To be able to give them a community and provide them with people who get it and can help them along the way, to help them feel supported and help them learn. She says that’s why the Facebook Community Manager Certification Learning Group has learning mentors who support the learners in this group. They're there to share personal experiences, host study sessions and answer questions to make sure that people feel like they have someone behind them cheering them on. She says that because not anyone can get certified, to know that not only are you putting in the work, but you have this group of people behind you that really want to see you succeed is important. So, the Facebook Community Manager Certification Learning Group has the learning mentor program set up to help with that. Everything is organised. So if people want to go in and learn at their own pace, they can go through the guides and get directed to all the learning materials very easily. 


“Know why you're starting and be really intentional about the culture you build and, and don't lose focus.” (27:58)

When asked what is the important things to think about when considering building a community. Kara says the first thing is to know why you're starting, be intentional about the culture you build, and don't lose focus. She says this is important especially at the beginning because the foundations of your community are such important building blocks for the future. You need to understand why you're doing it, don't just do it because everyone wants to build a community and it's the trendy thing to do. She says it’s important to figure out how do you want it to fit into your business first, and go from there.

Another point Kara makes is not to be afraid to try new things. She says she thinks many of us, no matter what it is, it can be hard to convince yourself to try something new. It's easier to play by the rules and stay within the lines. Kara says if the community is there, they want to see you succeed. So if you're trying new things that you think are going to be successful, and you have the right intentions, just try it and see what happens. She says you'll probably learn more from failing If it doesn't work out than you will if it succeeds. If it succeeds, great, keep going with it, but don't get in your own way.

Episode Links

You can find Kara Cronin at:





Facebook Community Manager Certification:


Keep listening to the upcoming episodes of podcasts by joining in Social Lights Podcast produced by Social Mediology.

You can connect with us on Facebook at @SocialLightsPodcast and find future episodes at socialmediology.com.au/sociallights.

Thanks for your time and stay inspired,

Kate vanderVoort

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