I attribute this to the pay it forward aspect of our social community. I believe it is hunan nature to want to be kind, and helpful. In the down turned economy, people seek out ways to make a difference.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Engage-give people a reason to be part of your community. Reach out to your industry leaders and enlist their support.
2. Interact-be a conversation starter. People appreciate making contact – particularly when the banter is positive and upbeat.
3. Reinforce interaction with public recognition. Retweet on Twitter. Create a blog post noting and linking the people who are engaging with you community. This encourages other people’s participation.
4. Find people who need your help and help them. Enlist others to do the same. For instance, job seekers appreciate it when you amplify their search with a retweet, or tweet.
5. Make sure you are listening and responding to participants in your community.
6. Be prepared to address negative comments immediately. Rapid response is crucial to building a better relationship. A problem resolved quickly and attentively builds community loyalty.
7. Provide excellent content.
8. Be consistent in your content by staying on message and reinforcing your core brand values, goals, and mission.
9. Don’t spread yourself too thin-find the space where the interaction is greatest and focus your attention there.
10. Stay positive. Garner support from your community and build those relationships.
The relationships I’ve built over the past few years in social media communities have grown dear to my heart. Nothing builds community loyalty like deepening relationships with your participants. The top ten tips I’ve mentioned have helped me focus my community building efforts. I hope they help yours. Mashable and Techcrunch are staples in my Google Reader. I like these topical articles – Enjoy:
How To: Use Social Media to Connect With Other Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneur People & Lists
The Fastest Growing Social Sites
8 Things to Avoid When Building a Community