Tag Archives: social media

Introduction – What is an Online Community?

Social networks are booming – and not just Facebook! Thousands of niche communities have been created over the past few years, filling up the holes that Mark Zuckerberg's all-encompassing giant has created. While over a billion people are speaking to everyone they've met about everything they do, many are looking for focus. They want to connect with other like-minded individuals around the particular passions that inspire them, without all the extra “noise” that Facebook generates.

online community

Affordable social networking applications, allow users to create that niche social network easily, and thousands of people are doing it right now.

Online communities are being built by artists and schools, by thought leaders and by local communities. They're being set up by individuals and by groups and by anyone who wants to bring together people who share an interest and a passion.

Businesses, too, are building brands, creating loyalty and discovering valuable intelligence on what customers want and expect. And they're earning from it. When a company gives space to its customers to gather and talk, it stops being a place where people go when they need to make a purchase. It becomes a pillar of the community, the only place where people go when they want to buy something related to their interests.

And today, building those online communities is easier than ever.

The Internet means that anyone can now create their own community.

They can build a website that gives their customers all the tools they need to easily hold discussions, meet like-minded people and form strong bonds.

They keep people coming back day after day, month after month, providing a virtual and valuable forum for people who share an interest.

Built right and maintained properly, a community website hugs customers close, strengthens a business and advances an activity.

But having the right kind of software to create that community isn't enough.

You also need the right strategy to make your community grow steadily and organically, without spending millions.

This book will cover everything you need to know to create a successful online community, from the essential first steps to proven strategies for growth and engagement. Once you finish reading, you will have a clear understanding of what you should — and shouldn't — be doing to get your social network moving in the right direction.

We'll look at the right way to build an online community, but not just any community; a community that remains active and thriving. A community whose members don't register, look and leave but one whose members come back again and again, post comments and contribute to discussions.

A community that people don't just want to join but want to be a part of.

Building that kind of community may mean taking steps that can feel counterintuitive. We'll explain why you should be taking those steps anyway.

We'll start by talking you through the process of launching a community.

This can feel like the worst time for a new social site. There are few members, few discussions and little reaction to the content that’s being posted — not that there’s much content either. We'll explain how to find those all-important first members and discuss why it's better to engage a small number of highly dedicated early users than attract a large number of users who don’t return.

We’ll then talk about building on that foundation. We’ll discuss the importance of forming a group identity and show you how you to do it. We'll talk you through the role of the community manager; and describe the best strategies you should be using to increase participation.

Finally, we'll talk metrics and money.

Although communities don't have the same monetizing process as other forms of online marketing it is possible to turn a community into cash and online communities do generate figures.

You should know how to find those figures, how to read them and what to do with them.

While so many businesses and community leaders focus on building their Facebook pages or fret about their Twitter content, others are having a ball discussing their favorite topics with people who genuinely care about them and who return day after day to their website to see what’s new.

Building that website is easy. Building that community is a little harder but with a little effort, it's an option available to any business owner and any community leader.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Jack

Want to Be More Influential? Improve Your Social Skills

Want to Be More Influential? Improve Your Social Skills.

 Improving your Social skills is no longer a choice! It is a must if you want to be in marketing. Dale Carnegie got it right when he said that to win more friends and influence more people you need to improve your interpersonal skills.  Twenty years of research on power and influence shows that people with superior social skills are substantially more influential than people with average social skills.  These findings make sense when you realize that influence is not something you have; it’s something other people give you.  In other words, you can’t be influential with people unless they allow you to be influential with them.  So influence is in large part a function of your relationship with other people, and the rule of thumb on influence is that you are likely to be more successful if the people you want to influence know you, like you, respect you, and trust you. 

Being Known

It is significantly easier to influence people you know than people you don’t.  So go out of your way to make yourself known.  If you’re in an organization, this means increasing your visibility throughout the organization.  Introduce yourself to people.  As you get to know them, let them know who you are.  My research shows that people are who highly skilled at being friendly and sociable with strangers and building close relationships are more than twice as influential as people who are less skilled at sociability and relationship building.  People around the world instinctively understand this, which is why socializing is one of the most frequently used influence techniques globally.  If you aren’t naturally good at socializing, then this is a key skill to build.  Extraverts are often naturally good at socializing, but being an introvert is not necessarily a liability.  You may just have to try harder to do something that does not come naturally to you.

Being Liked

Sometimes, you know the person you want to influence but aren’t as influential as you’d like with him or her because of bad chemistry. Many years ago when I was younger and single a friend introduced me to a young woman, and she and I dated for a while.  She was a nice, attractive person, and we tried to be a couple but it just didn’t work.  Somehow, we got on each other’s nerves and whatever either of us said or did was somehow wrong.  There was no chemistry between us, and it wasn’t her fault or mine.  We just weren’t a good match for each other.  So it goes.  In my three decades in business I’ve had similar situations with some colleagues and clients.  Despite everyone’s good intentions, the plain fact is that there’s something about the other person each of you just doesn’t like.

I wrote in The Elements of Power(Amacom Books, 2011) that attraction can be a significant source of power, and it’s based partly on the psychological principle of liking.  We are more inclined to say yes to people we like than to people we don’t, which is why friends are more likely to do favors for each other than they are for people they don’t know.  So to be more influential, do what you can to be more likeable to the people you want to influence.  Of course, we each have whatever physical gifts (or challenges) we were born with, but you should do the best you can with what you have.  Good grooming, posture, dress, and manners go a long way toward making you more attractive to others.  In business, as well as many other walks of life, these things matter.  The same is true with interpersonal behaviors that people like:friendliness, generosity, warmth, caring, and acceptance.  When we act with these qualities, people are more inclined to like us.  Conversely, if we are pushy, arrogant, boastful, self-centered, rude, disrespectful, or otherwise annoying, people will be inclined to dislike us.  Personality is a key component of likeability.

Being Respected and Trusted

Trust and respect are largely about character, credibility, and confidence.  You build character through courage, integrity, reliability, and similar character traits; you build credibility through your knowledge, access to information, role, and reputation (of which work ethic, results, and contributions are a significant factor); and you build confidence by behaving self-confidently, achieving consistently superior results, making good decisions, and exercising sound judgment.  If you are a member of a business or professional organization, people will also trust and respect you more if you are actively involved, engaged, and comitted to the enterprise.  To become highly influential, it helps to be well-liked, well-regarded, and indispensable.

Fortunately, none of us is born with a fixed amount of power and influence.  No matter who you are, you can become more powerful and more influential, and one of the keys is improving your interpersonal and social skills.  For more tips on how to do this, see Elements of Influence:  The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead(Amacom Books, 2011) or my earlier book, What People Want (Davies-Black, 2006).  Also see Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which he first published in 1936 but is still relevant today.

Chris Corey CMO Markethive

 

Parts of this article are excerpted from Terry R. Bacon, Elements of Influence:  The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead (NY:  AMACOM Books, 2011).

Photo credits:  Friends in a bar: Sean Locke/istockphoto.com. Young businesswoman:  Maridav/istockphoto.com.  Business people looking at a chart:  Jacob Wackerhausen/istockphoto.com. 

Jack

Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Networking

Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Networking

In today’s techno technology-obsessed, social media and networking have become an intricate part of daily life. Social networks are websites and phone apps that allow people to create a personal profile, upload pictures of their life, update their status, and share information. These are very powerful mediums that have the ability to cause some great things, as well as some very bad things, to happen. Let’s look at all of the pros and cons surrounding social networks.

The Advantages of Social Networking

1. Staying In Touch
As we grow older, friends, family, and people that we knew, move away and it is very easy to lose touch with them. With social networks, this problem is essentially solved. It is extremely simply to find people on social sites, and once you do you can add them to your friend's list and always be able to instantly communicate with them, as well as keep up with what is going on in their life.

2. New Connections
Meeting people can be difficult when the internet came around the dating world changed completely to try to fix this problem. Social networking is possibly the number one way that people met new friends or romantic partners in today’s society. Profiles and interests allow you to “pre-screen” a person beforehand to see if there are any deal breakers.

3. Aids In Criminal Cases
Whether people are aware of it or not, what they post on social media can very easily be used against them if they were to get in trouble with the law. Someone who is selling drugs, and may be posting about it on their social networks, can be caught in this way. This also applies for someone who gets caught drunk driving and was posting pictures of them at the bar moments before.

4. Gives Shy People An Outlet
Communication doesn’t come naturally to many people. If someone is very reserved or shy in their normal day to day life, social networking can be an outlet for them to share their ideas and thoughts with other people in a comfortable environment.

5. Connecting Kindred Spirits
Finding someone who is interested in all of the same things that you are can be tough, especially if you are interested in something unique. Social networking allows you to connect with entire groups of people who are interested in the same things as you, helping to grow friendships and enrich lives.

The Disadvantages of Social Networking

1. Cyber Bullying
Bullying has been a problem among young people, and even adults, for as long as we can remember. However, when social media came around, this bullying was taken to an entirely different level. Cyber bullying is when a person is continuously bullied through online accounts. Cyber-bullying is such a problem because it can be 24/7 harassment, and it can also be done anonymously.

2. Misinformation Spreads Like Wildfire
Social media has become the number one source of news and information for the majority of people. I know this may sound scary, but I assure you, it’s true. People will read something and immediately take it as truth, and spread this information on to their friends, and so on and so forth. This can cause major falsities to taken as real life headlines.

3. Easy Prey
People are always “checking in” with their exact locations on social medias, advertising where they work, and providing much more sensitive information. Predators, such as rapists, can also obtain this information and easily identify where they can find you at any given time. This is a large danger. The danger is also spread on to the children, who may not have much of a clue of who is okay to speak with and who is not.

4. Less Real Life Interaction
Twenty years ago, if it was someone’s birthday you went and saw them in person, or sent them a birthday card. Today, however, we simply write a quick little message on their Facebook wall and leave it at that. All of the interactions that we have with people have become incredibly in personal.

Important Facts About Social Networking

  • 28 percent of all news is obtained through social media websites.
  • The average person spends nearly 4 hours a day on social networking websites! That’s a whole lot of time.
  • There are currently 1.19 billion users registered on Facebook.com.
  • 80 percent of all the “Pins” on Pinterest are actually just repins.

Chris Corey CMO@markethive.com

Jack