We have now discussed how to engage with your community and we looked at a few examples of successful communities. In order to build a successful community, there are a few things you should try to avoid. Here’s a list of the top 5 things to avoid when engaging with your online community:
1. Do not lie
If you want to gain the trust of your community, you need to be truthful to them. The same rules apply to any relationship. It will take time to gain their trust, but if you lie, you will lose them within seconds!
Now, don’t be fooled! You WILL get caught out and they WILL find out, if you are untruthful.
2. Do not fight
Your community won’t always have nice things to say about you or your brand. It is important that you do not get involved in any ‘brand bashing’ comments. Try and reply to all comments calmly and modestly.
You get those who’ll simply criticize all you do. Do not get involved in any argument. This will only aggravate the person and may encourage others to join in.
There’s nothing wrong with starting a healthy debate and facilitating the conversation. Be cautious when discussing issues close to your brand, as this can easily get out of hand and damage your brand or company’s reputation.
3. Do not self promote
Even though getting involved in a community or building one online aims at benefitting brand awareness, brand reputation and sales; you cannot simply bombard your community with promotional material.
You cannot build trust and loyalty in your community by throwing promotional material their way. Engaging with your online community means taking part in a dialogue – a two-way conversation. You need to listen and respond.
4. Do not be everywhere
In other words, be focused. Choose your preferred social network to engage with your community and stick to it. Do not try and be everywhere at the same time – you (as a community manager) won’t be able to keep up and lose your community.
In another sense of the term, be focused in your cause. Ask yourself “What am I trying to achieve?” and “Why would someone join our page?” You must have a specific purpose – one your community can relate to.
5. Do not ignore questions
Your community will get annoyed if they are being ignored and they will stop engaging. As with any relationship, both parties need to talk to each other, or it will fail. Sometimes certain questions can be tough to answer. Simply remember to be truthful – if you don’t know the answer or if you don’t know what to say – don’t lie.
So, in order to build a successful community online you need to be honest and truthful, clear-headed and respectful, modest, focused, and most of all, caring. Like your spouse, your community will become unhappy once they pick up that you don’t care about them – unlike your spouse, your community will leave you that very same day!