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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