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1. Be Personable, Not Perfect

You already know this— Transparency IS social business. Fostering an open, enthusiastic environment is integral to the success of any social group. However, many community managers get stuck on presenting only the “perfect post", and over-analyzing every word. While it's great to strive for your content to be impressive, hyper-analyzing them down to a pulp really isn't what social business is about. To combat this, I always recommend clients make their community presence slightly vulnerable from time to time. It really helps to share a goofy personal story or inspiring tales of your own challenges and missteps. These methods will not only make you a more personable, well-rounded community manager, but will also reduce the "untouchable factor" of your dominant role. In due time, this will ease and entice your more hesitant community members to contribute their stories as well. Always set an honorable standard, but don't make the standard unattainable!

 

2. Don't Change Others; Change Their Work Methods

Community managers are often the most sociable and chatty in communities, but they know that not everyone will follow their lead. Don't expect everyone to be energetic and talkative throughout the community. At the end of the day, it's all about changing how work gets done. And the first part of facilitating that is to inspire --not pressure-- users to visualize the benefits and personal rewards. Coax community members slowly from their unique and multilayered comfort zones, and present them with real statistics that prove social business works. At the beginning of a potential client's Jive journey, my team organizes their use cases and connects them directly to potential return on investment and workflow improvement. You'll need to remind them of this and be patient along the way, and reward even the tiniest changes in adoption.


3. Scrutinize & Tailor Your Engagement Techniques

Do not lead your community with the flawed perspective that one size fits all. End users are not in a position to decode complicated puzzles and toil over nebulous information. Once a user is derailed by noisy training documents and engagement strategies, the likelihood of returning to the community is lower. Since full participation is essential, your engagement approaches deserve constant attention, devotion, and modification. Begin by analyzing your wide range of community members, then launching a subsequent array of diverse materials that have potential to sway even the most rigid of users. Regularly gauge what works by viewing page visits, bookmarks, and community manager reports. In client communities, I often offer a mixture of How-To videos, written Tutorials, and assorted Quick Tips that are straightforward and give the user several different outlets to learn. For members that need more personal interaction, I offer a collaborative "How Do I?"-style space, where they can ask questions and schedule one-on-one time if need be. Lastly, don't be afraid to make a change! It's better to give end users more options than none at all.


CC: External Communities / Internal Communities