Staying Engaged in an Online Community
Most professionals attend conferences where they make connections with others. We have good intentions for staying connected afterward. We may start strong by sending follow up emails after we return home, but as life and work get busier, those connections often fall by the wayside.
Social media has made it easier to stay connected, but our feeds are so full of pictures and status updates from family and friends, news, and ads. After a period of initial excitement immediately following the event, our engagement tends to dwindle.
That’s unfortunate, because we invested time and money to attend the conference and make those connections - it’s a shame to let them fizzle out. Here are some tips for keeping connections strong by engaging in online groups from Facebook and LinkedIn to the platform we use for our peer Circles, MightyNetworks.
Focus on a few top groups If you want to make an impact, target your efforts with a few top groups. There are thousands of industry groups you could participate in, but spreading your efforts too thin makes it difficult to develop quality relationships. Instead, pay attention to a few quality groups to develop better, stronger relationships and improve your recognition amongst other discussion members.
Follow up Follow up is crucial for in-person networking, and it’s also important for online groups. Follow up on the threads you participate in. It’s easy to add your two cents and then forget to check back for subsequent comments and conversation, but doing so is key to making quality connections.
Take the time to review and respond to interactions and conversations in your communities. If people are asking you questions and you never answer, they will probably give up trying to interact with you in the future.
Don’t self-promote People who choose to be members of online communities are looking to connect with other members who are interested in similar topics. If an organic opportunity arises where you can share a relevant link to your blog or website, by all means, post it. But it’s crucial that the majority of your posts are not self-promotional.
Not only is blatant self-promotion frowned upon, in many communities, it’s not permitted. Plus, it just comes off as spammy and will deter other users from interacting with you. Focus on building credibility instead of trying to drive traffic.
Consistency is key If you want to stand out from the crowd and be recognized by other members, consistent participation is key. Schedule a few minutes every day to check in on the few groups you’re involved in. Look for threads you can comment on, ask a question of your own, or share a resource you recently found useful. This will cement your reputation with other community members as someone with unique ideas and interesting insights.
When you consistently add value to the community, you will come to be known as a knowledgeable resource and increase your chances of developing better business relationships with group members.
As a project manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Erin plans, organizes, secures and manages resources for the firm’s many service and program areas, including providing assistance and constant communication with clients and sponsors and serving as an even liaison. Her primary duties include overseeing and managing the specifics of all Boomer Consulting, Inc. communities, such as the Boomer Technology Circles, CIO Circle, Managing Partner Circle, Advisor Circle, Talent Circle, Lean Circle, NextGen Circle and the P3 Leadership Academy.”