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.)
  4. Focus on the members, not the organization. You know you have goals and you also know that the company and it’s initiatives are important. You should be the only one who knows that. Your members need to believe that the community is about them and their needs. Find a way to do do this.  Interviewing members is a good start. Here is my archive of member interviews.
  5. Share great stories up the chain. Start tooting your community’s horn with your superiors. How will they ever know what’s going on and how effective the community has become if you don’t tell them? You know the stories but you have to share them. Send an email all the way up the chain when your community comes together for a great cause. Let the powers that be know that they’ve created something that hundreds or even thousands of people find valuable. Forward those emails from users that may seem a bit personal but provide insight into how much the community means to them or how it has made a difference in their lives.

Remember, this job is what you make it. I’ve learned that and I’m sure you know it by now as well.  And in the event that this turns out to be my last post of 2009, let me thank you for being here and sharing my posts across your social networks.  I have quite a few things planned for 2010, including the release of my first Community Manager Survey and informational products on increasing user participation, crafting community guidelines and much much more. Stay tuned…