A Digital Community is Still a Community

May 30 2013

Yes, it’s true. A group of people online, is still a group of people. And truthfully, it still follows the same general social rules to get things pumped up. That’s right, we’re talking about our crowd-raising, people-pleasing, effectively-communicating community managers. I think it’s safe to say the highly-developed people skills and relationship building techniques you employ in face-to-face interactions can play an instrumental role in the effectiveness of your online community management. Just in case you’ve slipped off the bandwagon, here are a few tips to help you get you back on track.

1). Be responsive. If your friend leaves a message on your phone with an urgent question, are they going to appreciate your return call…next month? No! And they most certainly won’t call you for advice next time. If you care about your friendship, you would answer in a timely manner. The same rings true for your online community. You won’t find people running in your direction if you aren’t perceived as, or known for being, a responsive and engaged listener.

2). Know your community. Just like when you run into an old friend for the first time in years and you hit a “friendship homerun” by asking about their most recent promotion or new baby girl (the one you noticed on Facebook last week), it’s important to know what puts the twinkle in the eye of your community members, especially thought leaders. Find out what they are interested in, what makes them tick, what gets them out of bed in the morning, and then talk to them about it. Ask thought-provoking questions and share relevant content with your brand in mind.

3). Be observant. Your community will let you know what they like, and it’s your job to give them what they like. It’s also your job to season their taste buds to like new things.  If your community likes images better than text, give them images! Creatively incorporate your brand messaging into these image-heavy posts. You are more likely to capture their attention and increase the likelihood they will share your message along the way.

Community management is a 24/7 job of being the eyes, ears and voice of an organization. To do well, you must know people well. Read your community, respond to them, and in return you will earn their affection…and attention.

There are lots of great community management tips out there. What have you found to be the most successful?


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