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Want to make a few changes in your online community in 2010? Consider adopting these resolutions. If you like them, don’t wait two days. Start today.

  1. Stop taking things personally.The members don’t know you. They know your work. If a few dislike you, it’s probably because you are doing your job. You cannot please everyone. Accept that this is impossible and focus on what really matters: Growing the community and bringing people together.
  2. Greet at least three newcomers daily. Do this with a personal greeting beyond “Welcome to ____.” Find something about them that you can comment on. Perhaps they have a cool avatar or mentioned that they like horseback riding in their profile.  Find a way to relate  from the very beginning.Your personal touch will go a long way.
  3. Reinvent your newsletter.Whether it’s weekly or monthly it’s time to fine-tune your newsletter and include content that people actually care about.If you have news to share about the organization, put it toward the end. Make members feel special by highlighting their work. Look for the most interesting, not necessarily the content with the most page views or comments. And whenever possible…make it short! (Here is a copy of one of mine.) Read the rest of this entry »

I hope you’ve enjoyed updating your Facebook status, making connections on LinkedIn, tweeting for the masses and watching YouTube videos from the comfort of your employer’s keyboard, but I think that will change for many in the next year.

I shared my thoughts on this over on SiliconAngle, where I am a contributing writer and decided to cross-post for you. So, have a read and tell me what you think.


I don’t have a list of ten predictions. I don’t even have five. But I do have one and I feel rather strongly about it.

Okay, a great number of people are predicting that social media will be even bigger next year and businesses will continue to latch on and make use of the space. They’ve learned that it is an important strategy and that social media must become a huge part of their overall marketing and PR efforts.

Great.

However, I believe that many employees (state workers, for sure) will find themselves blockedfrom Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and maybe even LinkedIn entirely next year.

I’ve written quite a bit about social media guidelines and even led the charge in developing them for my current company, which supports employee involvement.  We want people to get involved and become brand advocates. But that’s us.  That may not be the case where you work and you could soon find out the hard way.

For many companies there is nothing to gain but a loss of productivity for allowing this access and they’ve known it for a while.  Therefore, I maintain that many will soon pull the plug.

Read the rest of this entry »

I certainly hope that my stories about irate members won’t follow me into 2010 and end up as posts on this blog, but I think that may be wishful thinking. Remember my last story about the member who sent an email informing me about the horrible way I manage the community?

Well, I’ve got another one for you. Today, a member whose account was banned sent an email to many people in my organization indicating that I’d sent him a racist email. (You may also recall the time I was referred to as the n-word and the b-word)

Unbelievable! This person who refers to himself as a doctor posted a horrible comment and indicated that it came from me, from a yahoo account that he has determined belongs to me. He wants to know how they could tolerate that and allow me to represent the organization.

It is such a sickening paragraph filled with racist crap that I could never even think, let alone write. And as much as you probably want to read it, I cannot post it on my blog.  I just can’t.

And the thing is, people know it isn’t true so I really shouldn’t worry about it much.  But I have to tell you that I am so sick of this.  It’s nice that people care about the community but when you care so much about being banned that you want to take down the person you deem responsible, that’s just ridiculous. It’s an online community!

Yes, I have a thick skin and I know that you take it and move on but at some point it feels like too much. This level of abuse is getting old. It’s getting old fast.

Hopefully I will emerge with a more positive post in the next few days.

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If you haven’t yet had your fill of social media predictions for 2010, check out this deck on SlideShare  presented by Trendsspotting Market Research.

You can find my trend predictions  on page 33.

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I’ve noticed a spike in traffic that has likely stemmed from this Mashable article on Community Engagement, where I am quoted heavily throughout. Many thanks to Leah Betancourt for interviewing me for her most insightful article.

My regular readers know how passionate I am about growing online communities and engaging users online but you may not.

So, welcome to my blog, where I often vent, try to enlighten, and share the good, the bad and the ugly sides of community management.

Please take a few minutes to read through some of my popular posts, interviews and community management tips.

I hope you’ll find something you like.

If you want to reach me, I’m @communitygirl on Twitter, and you can also find me on LinkedIn. Oh, and if you’d like to read the entire first chapter of my book, “18 Rules of Community Engagement” you can find it in the September edition of EContent Magazine.

Angela Connor

Angela-at-AngelaConnor-dot-com.

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Here’s something you can do to jump start your year, clear out your inbox and make better use of your time in the social space next year.

Start opting-out.

Take a few minutes to assess every piece of email you receive that comes from someone who promised to teach you how to become an internet marketing genius, double your number of Facebook fans, guarantee that you’ll get 15 retweets per day by following 8 simple rules or any other claim that simply did not deliver.

You’ve waited and waited for that one email that would give you the idea of a lifetime but it didn’t come. It probably isn’t coming. Perhaps you’ve received one valuable e-mail blast and the other 11 were crap. Why continue to reward this person with a personal invitation into your world? They wanted your email address for their own gain, not yours.  You gave them a chance and they didn’t meet your needs, so let them go. This is YOUR time we’re talking about here.

After my book was published earlier this year, I opted in to all kinds of emails from experts who knew how to get me super publicity. I dialed in to a few teleseminars and even participated in a webinar or two. It was all junk. Regurgitated junk and empty promises, week after week.  There was one gem though. A woman who offers great practical advice on book marketing. I was so impressed with her that I paid for one of her information products on how to get your book in libraries.  It cost $19 and I am happy to say that after following her advice to the letter, I did get my book in a few libraries and learned how to navigate the bureaucracy. That was worth it,

But back to the topic at hand….

Read the rest of this entry »

A new survey conducted by Junior Achievement and Deloitte finds that teens fully expect to access social networking sites on-the-job. Will they get a rude awakening, or will this be the status quo by the time they enter the workforce?

I think we have yet to determine the answer to this one, and it will likely depend on what happens in the next few years. Employers need to realize that policies will have to be created and they need to really figure out their stance sooner than later. I’ve been an advocate of social media guidelines, and those who haven’t may be after reading the results of this poll.

I’ve included the entire press release for your reading pleasure:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ — Online social networks have become so central to teens’ lifestyles that they would consider their ability to access them during working hours when weighing a job offer. This is according to the seventh annual Junior Achievement/Deloitte Teen Ethics Survey, which focused on the ethical implications of the popularity of social networking.

Nearly nine-in-10 (88 percent) teens surveyed use social networks every day, with 70 percent saying they participate in social networking an hour or more daily. More than half (58 percent) said they would consider their ability to access social networks at work when considering a job offer from a potential employer. This comes as many organizations have begun implementing policies that limit access to social networks during the workday due to concerns about unethical usages, such as time theft, spreading rumors about co-workers or managers and leaking proprietary information, among other reasons.

Most of the teens surveyed feel prepared to make ethical decisions at work (82 percent) and a significant majority of teens say they do not behave unethically while using social networks (83 percent). Yet, despite this confidence in the integrity of their online behavior, significant numbers of teens do not consider the reactions of specific groups of influencers in their lives when posting content on social networks. Specifically, 40 percent do not consider the potential reactions of college admissions officers, 38 percent do not consider the reactions of present or future employers, and 30 percent do not consider their parents’ reactions. Moreover, 16 percent readily admitted to behavior that included posting content embarrassing to others, spreading rumors and pretending to be someone other than themselves. Ultimately, more than half of those who did admit to posting this type of content about others (54 percent) said they later regretted doing so.

Read the rest of this entry »

In one of the first large-scale studies of Facebook pages ever conducted, Toronto-based  Sysomos analyzed and investigated usage patterns in nearly 600,000.

The results include information on various aspects including popularity, amount of content posted, number of fans and categories. This is a study of interest if you manage Facebook Fan pages or plan to create one.

Here are a few highlights from the analysis:

  • On average, a Facebook Page has 4,596 fans.
  • Four percent of pages have more than 10,000 fans, 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans, and 0.05% of pages (or 297 in total) have more than a million fans.
  • Pages with more than one million fans have nearly three times as much owner-generated content as the average Facebook page. (Where “owner-generated content” means things like photos, videos, and links posted by the page’s administrators.)
  • Pages with more than one million fans have nearly 60 times as much fan-generated content (photos, videos) as the average Facebook page.
  • On an average Facebook Page, the administrators create one wall post every 15.7 days. Among pages with more than one million fans, one wall post is created for every 16.1 days. This suggests that wall post frequency does not correlate with a page’s popularity.
  • Overall, the most popular “category” for Facebook pages is “non-profits”, while “celebrities”, “music”, and “products” are the most popular categories among pages with more than one million fans.

There is much more to this study and you can find it all here.

The point I’d like to make here is that major engagement on a Facebook fan page like any other community takes a lot of work and often times the administrator (community manager) is charged with creating the bulk of the content. Facebook may be biggest, baddest,  go-to-social network on the planet with it’s 350 million members, but don’t let that number fool you. They’re not knocking down doors to fan your page.

It still takes a lot of work to find success.

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I’ve received quite a few emails over the last year about some of the nuances of community engagement. It is also something I’m often asked after speaking engagements.

People wonder how much time they should put into their communities and what it really takes to keep people interested, engaged and coming back for more.
I think it is important for every community manager to spend time communicating with members publicly and even privately through email when warranted.  It keeps you in touch with the masses and makes it an even more personal experience for members. It also helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the community, whcih is extremely important.

I’ve gone through some of the comments I’ve posted in my community and picked out a few from the last 2-3 days to share with you here.  Some may be out of context since you are only reading my side of the conversation but the goal is to illustrate the personal approach I take with community members and how I work to blend right in, and not necessarily come off as the intimidating all-knowing person in charge. Enjoy!

“Woman, you are the biggest animal lover I know. Love the photos of your newest family member. Need to find a spot on the home page for that face!”

“Wonderful. A new beginning in time for the new year. All the best to you!”

“Hey there poohperson: How long have you been on this voyage to getting in better shape? If you have lots of posts I can create a gallery putting them all in one place. I think people would like a series…”

“I’m with you TIMBO. I was born and raised in Detroit and it is easy to understand because it makes sense. I’ve lived in some places that have no rhyme or reason. I do think Cary is a bit of a wild card though…”

“Okay, I have to give you that one. Detroit is notorious for road construction and detours that can completely screw you up and ruin your plans. I can see how you had a hard time.”

“Good morning. I think you have a great blog and I posted it on the GOLO homepage. BUT, I changed the picture because I didn’t think that was a good photo for the top slot of the homepage. I also included a link to the other blog you referenced in the post.”

“You know, I see my profile in the abuse queue every once in a while and for some reason it cracks me up. Have a great afternoon.”

“Another great image gallery! Happy Holidays, OR.”

“Yes, I do love shoes. I did a blog about Coach shoes with pictures to boot! I didn’t buy them though. I think my dad would want me to have them for Christmas though so I need to revisit Macy’s.”

“Yukon my friend, we HAVE to meet this time so let’s see if we can get you here to the station for a visit, okay? My holiday was low key with just the four of us. Last year I had a house full of family…”

“Hi there. I read your blog. Sometimes the people who comment on those stories are the great MINORITY. I know it can be disheartening to see so many comments and it’s easy to think they represent the community…”

“Irish, I got your email with the info and have forwarded it to the BBB. Thanks to everyone for the advice and information.”

“I am adding this to my favorites to read the next time I get a scathing email deeming me incompetent. I like to have nice stuff to read on the tough days.”

“What an amazing deal on Snuggies! I wish I’d known about that!”

“Hi Quagmire, yes that was great of target. I went there last year and bought a lot of DVD’s but it was crowded. They didn’t have coffee either. Did your son get a laptop?”

“And how do you even eat a hog’s head? Do you just bite a big old chunk somewhere between the ears?”

“Thanks, everyone. Oh and I will enjoy those collards. My kids don’t like them so much but this is one time I don’t care because that leaves more for me. I used my grandfather’s secret recipe.”

This is just some food for thought heading into 2010. Kick your engagement levels up a notch and see what happens.

Oh, I devote an entire chapter to this concept in my book, 18 Rules of Community Engagement. The chapter is called, “Make it Personal.”

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It is with a bit of trepidation that I post this presentation for what may or may not be your viewing pleasure.

It’s the presentation I gave at the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism a few days ago.  I have not viewed it in it’s entirety because if I do, I’ll never post it. You know we are most critical of ourselves and I have to admit,  I could use some work in the speaking department.

So here you go. This is a message I delivered to a group of reporters, editors and bloggers, on December 2, 2009. I hope you get something out of it.

Here’s the Link to Engaging the Audience, by Angela Connor

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

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