It isn’t About YOU: The Importance Of Building Community (Does Facebook get it now?)
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This past week the news was buzzing about Facebook and their Terms of Service which basically said they own you and everything about you (slight exaggeration). Petitions were started, Twitter was buzzing about it, and national news sources got ahold of the story as the Facebook community was in an uproar. And what happened? This morning Facebook retracted their Terms of Service, apologized, and deemed they will be creating a Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Wow! Now that is a telltale sign of how business is working in the 21st century and Web 2.0 era. It isn’t about YOU, it is about your community.
Are you a know-it-all-showboat or a community builder? Everywhere you look, especially online, the popular “trend” is building community revolving around your passions, your brand, and your products. Awesome, that sounds like a really good idea…but wait…what the heck does that mean?
Be Honest: Community is all about AUTHENTICITY
Gone are the days where people are expected “spin” bad news. Especially in my generation, Generation Y, there is a need for brutal, blunt honesty. If something goes horribly wrong, be upfront. If something goes right, be upfront as well.
Tip: Never have a ghostwriter (someone that writes your blogs under your name) or have some other person post for you under your name ANYWHERE. Examples: Facebook and Twitter better be you (Hear that Britney Spears we know it is your publicist on Twitter). If you have someone else do it, you will get caught, and it won’t be pretty (sort of like drunk driving).
Give Love To Get Love: Community is all about RECIPROCATION
Support your supporters (and get new ones) by visiting their blogs, endorsing their products (of course only if you like them…see honesty), and reaching out to them to help. If they post a question on Facebook or Twitter, help out by answering. Lend a helping hand and more helping hands will help you (that is a lot of “help” in one sentence).
Tip: Pick out 10 blogs related to your field (try Alexa to search) and leave a nice comment on articles you feel interesting. Don’t be an asshole and leave your website or tell them how great you are. Instead, make sure you fill out the comment form correctly. If people like you, they will click on your name and go to your website.
Make It About Them: Community is all about THEM
What is in it for me? Why should I care? These are the first questions people will think to themselves or out-loud if they are crazy people when they encounter you, your business, your product, and your website. How do you make it about THEM?
Tip: Everyone has an “About Me” page, but what about an “About You” page. Heck, everyone wants to know how great THEY are, right? Try adding one to your website like the pioneer of the “About You” page Adam Kreitman.
Live In A Glass House: Community is all about TRANSPARENCY
If you think you can hide from your community, you will have no community. Respond to questions personally (that means EVERY email, comment on your blog, etc.). Do not take a holy “I’m too important/powerful/awesome to respond to the plebeians” attitude.
Tip: Make sure to have your personal email listed somewhere on your website and not just an “firstname.lastname@example.org” If you are worried about SPAM, literally type it out like this David AT DSGagency.com so that you won’t be added to random lists.
Kick It Out: Community is all about PARTICIPATION
Have a burning questions or want to come out with a new product or service? Kick it out to your community! Simply ask for help in your own focus group of followers.
Tip: Whenever I have a question or problem (like yesterday I was trying to figure out how to interview someone online and have the quality solid enough for TV) I throw it out on Facebook and Twitter. Within TEN MINUTES I had more than enough answers. Cool!
Here are some excellent community building resources:
1. Gary Vaynerchuk: Wine Library TV. He responds to thousands of emails a day and lives the five principles above which is why he has become a celebrity in the gold rush of personal branding and community building.
2. Adam Kreitman: Words That Click. Have to give credit where credit is do. Adam is the man behind the ole “About You”
3. Seth Godin’s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Awesome book about how to cultivate passionate followers.
Would love to hear what you think! Please leave a comment below and if you REALLY like this article, feel free to send it out on Twitter or to StumbleUpon (or any other social bookmarking site that you LOVE).
Live Passionately! – David Siteman Garland – The Creative Opportunities Specialist and Entrepreneurial Chameleon – http://www.therisetothetop.com