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Now that admins of Facebook fan pages can comment on Facebook profiles and other fan pages as the representatives of those pages, not themselves, there is going to be a huge wave of unwanted content floating around. (If you want details, read this Mashable post.)

I’m going to go all out and call it a tsunami.

We are finally going to see the difference between true community managers who understand their craft and those who simply play one on the internet.

Do you know how tempting it is going to be for admins to post all over other fan pages and go directly to individual profile pages and start pushing their messaging?

VERY!

Think about it. You can now just trot on over to any profile page and start pushing all kinds of marketing messages. “Visit our page,” “Buy our stuff,” “Come download our coupon,” “We just posted a new brochure, you’ll love it.”

Get my drift? And that’s just scratching the surface.

It’s one thing to remove unwanted messages from your inbox, but constantly removing from your wall? The average Joe, non-marketing Facebook user isn’t ready for this at all. I think it will get ugly fast.

For those who have never learned proper etiquette for marketing through online communities, there is a real chance that they will crash and burn.

One horror story I always like to share at speaking events is about a guy who joined the online community I managed and uploaded 750 pictures of wrist watches. It was unbelievable. As you can probably imagine, he was marked as abuse and the matter was brought to my attention fast.

It wasn’t part of the culture. If he’d bothered to study how the community worked, spent some time observing other members, and avoided the temptation to pounce — he would have found a better way to get their attention.  But I digress.

Because this is a new opportunity for Facebook page admins, whose experience and credentials run the gamut,there are no agreed-upon or established rules.I don’t doubt that this change will enable brands, businesses and organizations to build stronger relationships with their fans, as mentioned on Socialbakers, but I do anticipate a wild, wild, west mentality unless Facebook has some plans in place to keep it at bay.

I suppose that removing posts and hiding them could be sufficient. But that’s only if the tsunami heads in a different direction.

On this one, we’ll just have to wait and see.

With new Facebook fan pages, the rules of engagement matter more than ever

 

Are more relevant than ever.

 

Now that admins of Facebook fan pages can comment on Facebook profiles and other fan pages as the representatives of those pages, not themselves, there is going to be a huge wave of unwanted content floating around. I’m going to go all out and call it a tsunami.

We are finally going to see the difference between true community managers who understand their craft and those who simply play one on the internet.

Do you know how tempting it is going to be for admins to post all over other fan pages and go directly to individual profile pages and start pushing their messaging?

VERY!

Think about it. You can now just trot on over to any profile page and start pushing all kinds of marketing messages. “Visit our page,” “Buy our stuff,” “Come download our coupon,” “We just posted a new brochure, you’ll love it.”

Get my drift.

It’s one thing to remove unwanted messages from your inbox, but constantly removing from your wall? The average Joe, non-marketing Facebook user isn’t ready for this at all. I think it will get ugly fast.

For those who have never learned proper etiquette for marketing through online communities, there is a real chance that they will crash and burn.

One horror story I always like to share at speaking events is about a guy who joined the online community I managed and uploaded 750 pictures of wrist watches. It was unbelievable.

As you can probably imagine, he was marked as abuse and the matter was brought to my attention fast.

It wasn’t part of the culture. If he’d bothered to study how the community worked, spent some time observing other members, and avoided the temptation to pounce — he would have found a better way to get their attention.

Because this is a new opportunity for Facebook page admins, whose experience and credentials run the gamut,there are no established rules. I anticipate a wild, wild, west mentality unless Facebook has some plans in place. I suppose that removing posts and hiding them could be sufficient. But that’s only if the tsunami heads in a different direction.

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One of the 18 Rules of Community Engagement I outline in my book is simply “Ask Questions.” I believe that people want to express their opinions and asking questions is a sure way to get them to do so. Throw in your own personal story before asking the question and you may strike gold. I’ve gotten many great conversations started that way in the community I manage. It is quite effective.

But I am noticing a trend among bloggers, some that I really respect, and that is ending every blog post with a question.

Come on! Do you always have to ask what we think about something or ask us to contribute to the list that you’ve developed or provide additional steps for whatever it is  you’re providing steps for? We will probably do that anyway, so it really isn’t necessary. Not for every post.  And my favorite is “What did I miss?” If you know you missed something then maybe you should spend a little more time thinking it through and give us your complete thoughts on the topic at hand before hitting “publish.”

I know that asking questions is a way to ask for input and it really is effective in many cases but lately it has felt like  you are trying to crowdsource almost everything and I am just asking you to reconsider that approach.

See what else you can do to keep us engaged. We follow you because you’re smart. Now dazzle us.

 

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I am both humbled and honored to receive the first video review of my book, “18 Rules of Community Engagement” by Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer and wanted to share it here for my readers.  It comes on the heels of this review on WiserEarth Blog, and this article and excerpt in EContent Magazine.

In the event that you have not read my book, perhaps this video will convince you. You’ll also hear about three other social media books Jason is recommending including Connection Generation by Iggy Pintado, Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel and Andy Sernovitz’s upcoming new addition to Word of Mouth Marketing, which has not yet been released.

So take a few minutes and listen to what Jason has to say about the book.

Four Books Worth Reading from Jason Falls on Vimeo.

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18Rules_EContentMagazine

If you’d like to read the first chapter of my book, “If you build it will they come?” Check out the September issue of EContent magazine. You can read the print copy or get the online version.

Here’s a link: If You Build it Will They Come?

I’d like to thank editor, Michelle Manafy for her interest in my work and for sharing it with the EContent community.

Enjoy.

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This is a cross post from the blog, Newspaprgirl. Author Janet Thaeler asked me to share my top five rules of community engagement and I was happy to oblige. Janet is currently working on a book about online marketing.

Have you ever struck up a conversation with a complete stranger in the checkout line at the grocery store once you both realize the line hasn’t moved in the last ten minutes?

Perhaps you’ve locked eyes briefly with a parent as you both painfully watched another parent manhandle their screaming 3-year-old at the park.

The connections you make with strangers in these types of situations are based on a shared experience. Something that affects you both and has no bearing on whether or not you were previously acquainted.

These are the same connections we can make online, and sharing personal experiences is one of the most effective ways to engage an online community.

As a community manager, I have employed many tactics to engage members and encourage participation. Some work better than others but nothing seems to resonate more than a personal story. When you share something personal, it evokes emotion and prompts others to share similar experiences.

When I blogged about the anniversary of my father’s death, stories about dad’s who’d died too soon poured in and the level of sharing was unbelievable. The same thing happened when I recounted a time in high school when I almost froze to death while waiting for the city bus. It was as if there was suddenly a competition to see who had endured the worst winters and could recall all of the gruesome details.

If you ever want to start a conversation fast, sharing something personal will get the job done. If you share something from your own life, it is almost certain others will follow suit.

It is what I consider one of the top five rules of community engagement.

Here are the other four:

Stroke a few egos
Flattery will get you everywhere. It is imperative that you go above and beyond in this department. When you have constant contributors, and people who are vested in the best interest of the community, you have to express your grattitude. and tell them how much you need and appreciate them.

Ask questions
Never underestimate the power of a question. Ask members what they think about current events, or potential changes in the community or forum.Find out what they think about local and national issues. Ad don’t think your questions have to be intellectual. Sometimes something as simple as “What are you cooking for dinner tonight?” can create a major dialog.

Acknowledge good work
See, “stroke a few egos.” Acknowledging good work publicly is good for everyone. It encourages the contributor and shows your appreciation of their time and efforts

Accept and respond to criticism
This simply shows that you’re human. Building an open honest relationship with your community is key. When people know that you are accessible and available and willing to hear them out and respond, you build a level of respect that cannot be bought. It also illustrates your commitment to the community and how much you value their presence.

Today’s consumers are faced with infinite choices, and if you don’t provide an experience worth their time, they won’t be back.
Remember, we are living in the conversation age, where the number of choices online are infinite and the audience that was once easily bought must now be earned.

You can find out more about engaging online communities in my new book, “18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting with Customers Online.”

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Amazon book reviews are great and so are complete blog posts devoted solely to your creative prose. I’m looking forward to them both. But with the popularity and power of twitter, Twitviews (that’s what I’m calling reviews posted on twitter only) are worth watching.

I was completely amazed at the number of tweets about my new book, yesterday. And while they don’t qualify as full-fledged book reviews and may not show up in a Google search, I find them very powerful given the reach of our networks.

Here are a few:

DerekShowerman: @communitygirl provides 18 rules of community engagement in an eBook form. http://ow.ly/dh0R
tomhumbarger: Build a Thriving Online Community – New book out today by @communitygirl provides 18 rules of community engagement http://ow.ly/dh0R
LainieH: @communitygirl just saw the press release for your new book about online community engagement. Congrats! http://tinyurl.com/koxzt7..
NewspaperGrl: Get to know @communitygirl who just wrote a fabulous book about managing an online community. #gno #gno
NewspaperGrl: I’m a big fan of @communitygirl & her new book – short on theory long on practical advice for running an online community

ksablan: On community: “You need them, ore than they need you” (from new book by @communitygirl, out today http://cli.gs/mJGrAn )

JustinFenwick: If you don’t have the time or patience to engage and do so genuinely…you cannot realistically expect to grow a community” @communitygirl

JustAskNicole: Hot off the press! “18 Rules of Community Engagement” http://idek.net/E9V (new book by @communitygirl).

timwtyler: @communitygirl just read your new 18 Rules of Community Engagement. Great practical advice w a passion for your members. Recommended reading

alisonmichalk: @communitygirl will be sure to read your new book on Community Engagement but too busy to commit to reviewing it 😦 good luck for launch!
Full_Throttle: RT @communitygirl “There are many ways to attract an online audience, but keeping one requires creativity [and work]” – http://bit.ly/IO9mK

The bottom line here is authors should find value in all reviews, not just Amazon. Social media has opened up many doors. It’s up to us to walk through them.

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Okay, it’s my first stab at a video for this blog.  I shot it in my kitchen using my BlackBerry very close to midnight.  The good part is I’m well aware of the lack of video quality and I promise if I decide to shoot more video, I will invest in a flip camera!

18 Rules of Community Engagement, by Angela Connor from Angela Connor on Vimeo.

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18 Rules of Community Engagement launches today!

18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide to Building Relationships and Connecting with Customers Online (Happy About Publishing) is officially out today on all major online retailer sites. You’ve read my blog, seen the endorsements and maybe even downloaded a free chapter from the book website, so what are you waiting for? You’ve got a community to engage, so get your copy today.

I hope you enjoy reading 18 Rules of Community Engagement and I can’t wait to get your feedback.

Here’s the press release:

Build a Thriving Online Community – New Book Helps you Attract Thousands

An online community can bring new business and visibility , yet most businesses build an online community that fails to attract members. A new guide shows how to beat the odds and attract thousands of people. The principles in this new book can be applied to any social network or business community that wants to grow their membership base.

Cupertino, CA (PRWEB) June 9, 2009 — Building an online community with active, participating Book cover| 18 Rules of Community Engagement  members is a challenge. Over half of businesses that attempt it fail to get over a thousand members. That’s why Angela Connor wrote the guide to building relationships and connecting with customers online. The book ’18 Rules of Community Engagement,’ outlines the principles Connor used to take the online news community for the top-rated TV station in North Carolina from 0 to 11,000 members in just eighteen months.

A study of more than 100 businesses with online communities found that 35% had less than 100 members and less than 25% had more than 1,000 members. Recently, Sam’s Club announced a new community for small businesses owners. They had an existing network of thousands to draw on. Most businesses don’t have that luxury.

Building community can be daunting whether it’s on an existing social network or a branded community for business. The principles taught in this book can be applied to building an online community on social media sites, on a branded community site, or on a blog.

The key is to interact – to be social – in a way that builds value. “In the age of instant communications, where we are constantly connected and faced with infinite choices, consumers want and expect more. We are now living in the conversation age, where one-way communication is no longer acceptable or desired. People want to engage and discuss, react and interact,” notes Connor.

The key aspects of building an online community are:

1. Give people something to talk about.

2. Engage with people.

3. Provide useful information.

The book provides examples of tactics to use to connect with people and help them connect with others. An online community thrives when a community manager facilitates interaction. This guide tells exactly how.

There are answers to common questions such as:

What’s the best way to deal with troublemakers who harm communities?

What’s the best way to encourage participation when stats say most participants are lurkers who don’t contribute?

How much time is required each day to grow an online community?

What’s the best way to help community members feel appreciated and welcomed so they not only stay, but help drive the community?

Learn this and more from someone who has achieved what most businesses have not.. Build a strong online community and bring greater visibility and new customers.

Key stats:

– Title: 18 Rules of Community Engagement

– Subtitle: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online

– Authors: Angela Connor

– Date of Publication: May, 2009

– Price: Paperback $19.95, eBook $14.95

– ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-60005-142-5 (1-60005-142-1)

– ISBN: eBook: 978-1-60005-143-2 (1-60005-143-X)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2009923129

– Forward by HARO’s Peter Shankman

About Happy About®:

Happy About® books educate, entertain and evoke. You will quickly gain wisdom with our smaller, compact, high-impact books. Visit Happy About at http://happyabout.info and http://42rules.com for more info. For quantity discounts, please contact the publisher, Mitchell Levy at mlevy(at) happyabout.info, 408-257-3000. If you want to explore publishing a nonfiction business book, we don’t need a long book proposal.

Please, contact the publisher and ask for the “6 questions” or go to this url: http://happyabout.info/contribute.php.

Press Copies:

A free copy of the book is available to the press upon request. Please send an e-mail to prupdate(at)happyabout.info

Get “18 Rules of Community Engagement” at http://happyabout.info/community-engagement.php

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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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