More Community Management Best Practices

Following up on my recent post on community management best practices, I thought I would share some additional tips and advice – based on my own personal experiences.

Building an online community for your company and brand isn’t rocket science. That being said, there are some simple steps you can take that will facilitate growth and foster engagement with your burgeoning band of advocates (otherwise known as community members).

The five key points from my previous post:

  1. Participate where the conversations are happening
  2. Be timely with your responses
  3. Focus on being people-centric, not company-centric
  4. Be careful what you say
  5. Don’t ignore negative comments

Five more I’d like to add:

1. Give new members a warm welcome

It’s important to make new people feel welcome in your community, to set the stage for engagement – particularly when a community is young and growing. If possible, take the time to send a personalized welcome message to new members. Imagine how a new member will feel, receiving a message from a community host or moderator that is uniquely customized and tailored.

If you see a new member contributing to the first time, give that person some recognition. Thank them for their contribution, and try to elicit further discussion or comments if possible – perhaps that member has more to say. Showing a little gratitude will go a long way!

2. Study your community

Yes, study your community! Do your homework! Learn the make-up of your of your community – read member profiles and gain a better sense of just who has joined, and the different types of interests your members have. The more knowledge you have, the better you’ll be able to interact and converse with your community.

3. Monitor community activity and health

Be sure to stay tuned in to your community, from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Track key data that is most relevant, whether related to new member joins, commenting activity, voting activity or another metric that you value, and develop reports as deemed appropriate. Keep an eye out for trends! If your community had higher or lower levels of participation that expected during a specific period, dig in and find out why.

4. Communicate with your members

It’s important to keep members appraised of activity in the community. A regular email, if you’re hosting the community on an internal platform, can go a long way.  If you’re using Facebook, Twitter or another network, make use of status updates. Just don’t overdo it, however – you’ll need to find the communication mix that is right for your brand.

5. Keep members engaged

Provide community members with incentives for contributing. At Genius Crowds, a product innovation community I used to moderate, we provided community member with gift cards related to different types of community activity – such as posting product ideas, commenting and voting. There’s plenty more you can do. For example, if a new hot topic is posted in the community, send a personal email to members who might be interested, to let them know (this is where your homework on knowing member interests will come in handy!).

Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow

Swing dancing at an event I was at in NYC.

Swing dancing at an event I was at in NYC.

Starting this weekend my Saturday nights will regain some normalcy, with the return of the Stomp it Off! swing dance at the Legion Auditorium on Commercial Drive, hosted by Jungle Swing Productions. Vancouver has a thriving swing dance community, which in a sense, just might be one of Vancouver’s best kept secrets. Swing dancing represents an absolutely fantastic opportunity to socialize in an open, fun and inclusive atmosphere, while also getting some exercise and letting loose on the dance floor.

For those of you who haven’t danced before, you might be surprised to know that most dancers in the community are in their twenties and thirties. Personally, I have made some great friends through dancing, friends who are very forgiving of me and my two left feet!

So, why should you consider dancing? Well, here are some benefits that come to mind.

Expand Your Social Circle

Swing dancing really is a great way to meet people. You don’t need to have any dance experience whatsoever, or have a partner to dance  with. There is a free drop-in lesson at the start of each dance, and you rotate around, giving you a chance to dance with everyone at the lesson. Coming on your own? No worries!  The atmosphere is very social, you will be asked to dance.

Learn Something New

Are you looking to pick up an new activity or hobby? Just a warning, swing dancing is very addictive!  The dance at the Legion is very beginner-friendly. Contrary to popular belief, you do no need to have experience before swing dancing. It is not a competition, it is an opportunity to have fun.  If you try it, and you like it, there are several great local companies that offer swing dancing lesson series. Consider checking out Rhythm City Productions.

An Inexpensive Night Out

Cover for the Stomp it Off! dance is only $10, or $8 for Jungle Swing members, and it includes a free drop-in lesson. I don’t know if you’ll find better value anywhere in the city.  Interested in going for a drink (or two) as well?  There is a bar downstairs, and a group of us often make the trek down at some point in the evening. There are also plenty of dining options on Commercial Drive, should you wish to grab a bite beforehand.

Listen to Great Music

Stomp it Off! brings in the best DJs in Vancouver, and there playlist is sure to keep you on the dance floor.  What’s more, very few weeks Stomp it Off! hosts a live band.

Keep Fit

Needless to say, swing dancing is also a great way to get some exercise. No, it’s not cross-fit or a Jane Fonda workout routine, but dancing is an excellent complement to a healthy and active lifestyle.

Saturday night’s dance runs from 9:00pm to 1:00pm at the Legion Auditorium at 2205 Commercial Drive, with a free drop-in lesson at 8:00pm. I hope to see you there!