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When you’re managing a community online, you’re competing for peoples’ attention in a very crowded space, and building connections with so much background noise can seem difficult. If there’s one thing we hear every day from community managers, it’s that real relationships will resonate while insincerity will get you no where. To build those relationships, you have to stay true to your real self, not a marketing voice you fabricate.

We’ve been talking with some inspiring community managers over the past few weeks, taking their advice, tips and suggested resources to build a community manager field guide on Pinterest. You can check out the many tips we’ve already posted so far at our Pinterest board — there’s some amazing stuff there already.

This week, we heard advice from three more experts, and their advice really drives the point about true relationships home. Let’s start with Carter Gibson of KIXEYE.

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Carter says that being successful in his job isn’t just about advocating for KIXEYE’s awesome gaming products, but advocating for the people who play those games and are reaching out to the brand for help, questions, or just to share appreciation. And to stay honest, he believes it’s important to take a break every now and then.

“Leave early. Take a day,” he says. “A healthy community should be able to self-regulate for a little while, and not having a hero complex will make days off a lot less stressful.”

Humara Kausar of GNC had similar advice. Burnout is a real problem, and you can’t connect with an audience when you’re running on fumes. You should develop hobbies that can help you escape from the day-to-day.

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Part of that is staying healthy, too. Humara says she drinks Aloe Vera juice to keep hydrated. With a healthy mind and body, she can focus on getting involved with the community. “After my ‘Good morning #FitFam!’ tweet to our followers, I surf our social platforms with keywords our followers may be using to learn more about our community,” she added.

And we thought Brandie McCallum really brought the point home by describing what community management is really about.

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To weave people into those relationships, she always has networking on her mind. Her tool of choice for the field guide was a sharpie — in purple! “You never know when you need to add your Twitter handle onto a conference tag or just scribble a quick note,” she explained.

Is there an idea or a resource that’s been particularly helpful to you for staying honest and building sincere relationships in your work? If so, please feel free to share it with us, and we might include your suggestion in the field guide! Just tweet @SproutSocial with the hashtag #CMFieldGuide, or visit us on Facebook or Google+ to share what you’ve got.