Even if you’re not familiar with the film, you’ve maybe heard of the plot. A female writer is tasked with doing all the things that supposedly annoy men in order to get her target male to break up with her. The unexpected “twist” is that he’s been tasked to make her fall in love with him, by all means. What ensues is romantic comedy gold.
But this is not a review of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (two thumbs up!). So what’s the link? Simple: building a community around your business is similar to courting a love interest — there are things you can do to dazzle and things you can do that will have your audience running for the exits.Just like no one wants to date a stage five clinger, your community has a list of turn offs you should avoid.
1. The Loud Mouth
Want to lose your community fast? Just hit caps lock. Oh, and add some excessive exclamation points!!!
Now this seems almost too silly to mention, but the fact is, to this day we still see messages being spewed in aggressive all caps and/or exclamation marks. Imagine going on a date with someone whose natural volume was 10 dials above everyone in the room. It would be hard not to shrink in embarrassment.
Your community members do not need to be yelled at. They have chosen to follow your brand for what you do, not your proclamations. Keep at them with this internet faux pas and they’ll be hitting the mute button — permanently.
2. The Humblebragger
“Spaz Alert: I tripped walking up stairs to stage to receive my Oscar Nominee certificate. #foreveranerd”
This brilliant tweet (among other examples of epic humblebragging) was the work of Lee Unkrich, talented director of Toy Story 3. Now, no one can deny how awesome it would be to become an Oscar Nominee, sure. The crime here is masking a brag with self-deprecation.
In business, the humblebragger tries to endear itself to their community with false modesty. Perhaps thinking that this is the best way to be relatable but instead turning early followers off with perceived arrogance.
If you’re proud of an accomplishment, just plainly state it.
Do: We’ve reached a million subscribers! Thank you wonderful people #greatday
Don’t: Have not slept in weeks, a million subscribers is a lot of work. #momoneymoproblems
See how that works? Your community is already rooting for you, don’t disappoint them by being that guy.
3. Pushy McPusherton
One of the first things we learn in life, no one likes a pusher.
A surefire way to lose your community is with constant sales pushes. Buy this. Sign up now. What are you waiting for? Huh? Huh?
Treat your customers as you would like to be treated should always be your north star. Instead of pitching your customers on this or that, provide them with valuable resources. Case studies, infographics, current trends and anything that may help your customers learn and maybe, just maybe, drive them to your desired action (a sale, a referral etc.)
No one likes to be harassed into making a choice, your community is not an exception.
Imagine you’re putting the moves on a girl/guy and you can only say what someone tells you to in a hidden earpiece. In this instance, it makes Dennis Quaid exponentially awesome.
In real life, however, robotically sending out messages to your Facebook or Twitter followers can do more harm than good. We’re talking about an all-automated strategy, where the messages are crafted and programmed ahead of time, hindering the opportunity for real-time conversation and engagement.
Not only does it prevent genuine conversations, it can also spell PR disaster. Tweeting a marketing message when the world is caught up in a tragedy makes you and your company look insensitive and like social media idiots. Avoid being socially awkward, and balance your scheduled messages with some personal engagement and use common sense.
5. The Unoriginal
Just be yourself. This advice works for dating as much as it works for community management.
It’s likely that your audience might overlap with similar brands and businesses. If your strategy is to only syndicate existing content, start counting down to a big, sleepy, yawn from your community. If your competition is creating original content, nailing cool interviews, making fun videos they will look like the better company (even if your company’s product or services is far superior.)
They call this “peacocking” and we’re just telling you, be the brighter more funky peacock.
6. The Rambler
You might know this brand as the newsfeed hog, littering messages like it’s going out of style. Know when to say, enough is enough and when less is actually more.
Maybe you think it’s a numbers game, more talking means more chances to be heard. How many times must we state “quality versus quantity” before it finally sticks? Being long-winded or repetitive can cause frustration in your community who find them wading around in a pool of noise with no clue what to even tune into.
Be selective with your words and optimize the times when your audience is most responsive. Be courteous if you’re in their space, like on Facebook, because maybe all they want to do is creep on their ex-boyfriends. Er…or, read interesting current events.
7. The Terrible Listener
Oh, did you say something?
Remember that your community rallies behind you through the good and the bad. So when there is feedback, questions, comments and concerns, please take the time to listen and respond.
Good conversationalists are the ones who know how to actively listen. To show they are listening they actually acknowledge a previous comment.
You mentioned that you used to take dance lessons, what type of dancing is your favourite?
A member of our community mentioned our payment screen was confusing, please help us make it better by leaving a suggestion for improvement below.
Double swoon. When your community feels like you are present and responsive, these are the types of tidbits they’ll share about your brand to their network. This is how you’ll keep your current crowd while attracting new fans and followers.
There you have it friends, tips for nurturing your community (and a few dating tips mixed in there as well!) Become a community casanova and go out there and steal some hearts.
What others tip can you tell us when it comes to maintaining community engagement? Feel free to comment below and let us know!