Atomic chirped into the final five minutes of the How to Handle Online Comments and Community workshop with Jen MacMillian Social Media and communities editor. Here she discussed the five things they’ve learned about communities and we couldn’t agree more with all of them:
1. It’s all about the community (not you)
Absolutely, pinpointing your readers and who they are, not only signifies the interests of your audience, but also provides solid feedback on what’s working and what simply won’t cut it.
2. Engage: listen, respond act
Converse and make a stance as an active member in the community. Responding and engaging with your community members, can enrich their online experience, as well as yours. Just because you and that member of the community aren’t standing face to face, doesn’t mean you can ignore them. With content overload, it’s tough to sit down and thoroughly read through everything, but this is not something you want to just skim through. Pay attention and give your all when responding to community members.
3. The more transparent and accountable you are, the better
Secrets don’t make friends. When members of your community run into an issue, be honest. Rules and regulations about posting comments are already stated in the agreement, if a member of the community crosses the line, the facilitator is entitled to remove the post, but please, offer an explanation.
4. Keep an open mind
Although we would love to be showered with positive comments, that’s never the case. Keep an open mind and learn to accept constructive criticism. This may help your community grow.
5. Yes, people like options
Macmillan suggests adding fun elements to help you provide options. A comparison to a dinner party where guests are given more options was mentioned, bottom line: the more engaging the party, the more people will want to stay. This goes the same for an online community.
Tip: Allow filtering of comments to be optional. Websites are trying to connect comment profiles with facebook profiles to draw a face the name. Viewing comments from people you know can be more engaging then just viewing comments from the anonymous.