One of the track keynotes at BlogWorld LA 2011 was given by Chris Garrett and Sonia Simone. The two partnered to talk about tribes, and whiles you can check out the entire presentation by purchasing the virtual ticket, here are some key take-away points:
#1: Your tribe starts with you – your passion and how you frame that passion.
Chris and Sonia talked about the need to be a leader in your community. While it is important to listen to your crowd, the vision for the tribe has to be your own. What’s your unique spin on your topic? People want to get behind that idea, and they need your vision as a guide.
#2: You are the leader, so start acting like it. Set the rules that will support your tribe.
I think this point can be best summed up in two quotes:
“If you’re not getting hate mail, you’re not trying hard enough.” – Chris
“It’s not all unicorns and rainbows. It’s a lot of drama…If you’re going to have a tribe you have to accept that you are the law.” – Sonia
There will be people who hate what you do and aren’t afraid to tell you that. There will also be people within your tribe who are argumentative, mean-spirited, and annoying. The great thing with your tribe is that you get to make the rules – but you also have to enforce them.
#3: You can move from free to paid when you know what your tribe will pay for.
Lastly, think about what you know how to do really well and what your clients really need. That’s the intersection you want to find if you intend to build a paid membership community. People are willing to pay for lots of different stuff; it’s just a matter for finding your community and getting them involved with your product!
I definitely enjoyed this insider’s look at the membership community-building experiences Chris and Sonia had. Remember, the virtual ticket allows you to hear the entire presentation as well as ALL of the other sessions from this weekend.
If anyone knows a thing or two about community, it’s Liz Strauss. I got the opportunity to attend her track keynote at BlogWorld LA 2011; here are some take-away key points from her talk:
“A leader is someone who wants to build something they can’t build alone.”
We all believe we have to build things alone, like help is a four-letter word. But we all need help to build something great. Remember, John Kennedy had no idea how to actually put a man on the moon. Invite people who share your values to help you – and they will bring their friends.
“In order to know where you’re going you’re really have to have a strategy.”
Strategies are the the same as tactics. According to Liz, “strategy is a realistic system to leverage opportunity.” We all have different opportunities, but you need to have a mission so people will follow you…and you need a vision to have a mission. Missions make roadblocks irrelevant, because you’ll find your way around them.
“Pick your position. Know where you are.”
When you choose your position, you’re going to attract people to you and help you build your tribe. Notice people: who they are, what they do, and what they notice. And notice people who notice you – those are the people who think like you and share in your vision and mission. Identify your advantages and look for people who need those things. And remember, what you think are your weakness can be turned around into strengths.
“Cycles, trends, and conditions shine with opportunity.”
Change allows for the chance to grow. “Bad” conditions don’t have to be bad for you – did you know the most businesses were started during the height of the American Great Depression. You can turn challenges into opportunity.
“Understand that you’re going to have different people in your tribe.”
Support people in every way you can, but realize that people are different. You have apostles, people who execute, two-minute volunteers…understand how your tribe works and value them at every level.
“Campaigns make sales. Communities make relationships.”
Campaigns are about your products, but you want people to build a relationship with you. That way, when you make mistakes or change your mind, people will follow you.
“You can’t lead the community and be the community.”
Liz told a great story about her friend who, within a year of owning her first car, got into five (minor) accidents because she had a habit of speaking with her hands to people – she wanted to be a passenger and a driver. You have to lead – and that means setting an example and being in control of your community.
These were just a few of the awesome points she made during her session. Remember, you can pick up a virtual ticket if you want to hear Liz’s entire talk as well as other presentations from BWELA 2011 – as well as special backstage exclusives from Johnny B. Truant!
The short answer: two girlfriends were dealing with cancer and I felt helpless. I wanted to know how best to be there for them. I also found myself with a strange, overwhelming need to be close to my girlfriends – those two and others.
That was the genesis of my online community – Girlfriendology.com. Definitely not with the intent, initially, to build an online community, but to address a personal need to express my girlfriend gratitude and a desire to inspire women to be better friends to each other.
I suspect that a driving emotion is most often the beginning of many successful online communities – a need to express our beliefs and passions, a desire to educate or inspire, and a longing to connect with like-minded people.
Whatever the origin or mission of a community, it will eventually weave a unique story. The story threads its way through the community manager, in and out through the communication and content, connecting the members of the community and, in the end, the story creates a ‘fabric’ much stronger because of all those elements.
And, just like any really good story, there are several, distinct, key elements to an online community that build into the story as the community grows. We’ll cover these in my BWELA session on Successful Solutions for Building and Growing a Successful Online Community (Thursday, Nov 3, 2:45 pm):
1. Community Goals and Objectives – From branding to managing expectations, for new communities or those who might need to re-examine their goals and objectives to get back on track.
2. Knowing and Growing our Communities – Who are the citizens in our unique community, and what connects us? We need to take stock of your community as it grows, and continue to provide substance and content that meets our objectives and is valuable for member participation.
3. Using Social Media to Grow our Community – I’ll share a variety of ways in how others have grown their communities using Social Media, as well as defining specific social media tools for managing community connections efficiently and effectively.
4. Managing our Community – Most of us wear multiple hats, from CEO to content creation, from ongoing social media updates to managing a budget. But the one hat that we may struggle with wearing most is that of managing a group of people who have their own goals, objectives and viewpoints. So we’ll share some lessons I’ve learned about managing communities – the good, the bad and the downright painful!
We’ll cover several case studies of a variety of communities, the advice they have to offer and the lessons they learned the hard way. Join us to as we share in the conversation of how to be successful at managing and growing our online communities!
Note: I’d love to hear your community manager/community story! Please fill out this survey and share your community insights. You may be selected as one of our seminar’s case studies. And we’ll note all the communities to thank in our presentation and upcoming eBook on Community Building for Bloggers.
With over 20 years of corporate marketing, DEBBA HAUPERT now focuses her marketing efforts on social media to help companies reach/build their ‘communities.’ She built the online community of women: GIRLFRIENDOLOGY . Debba has over 24,000 Twitter followers and 20,000 female Facebook Fans – and, keeping with the brand, she deletes (most) guys! She has worked with Biz, Kroger, The UPS Store, Frito-Lay, Healthy Choice, Crystal Light, International Delight and other brands. She teaches/speaks on social media marketing. She/Girlfriendology can also be found at @Girlfriendology and Facebook.com/Girlfriendology .
Commenting systemLivefyre announced via their blog yesterday a new platform, with new features. It’s called SocialSync. If the comments on your blog are dead and you’ve been dying for some social interaction, SocialSync might be just what you’re looking for.
It grabs related Twitter and Facebook comments automatically, as well as adds @ mentions from within the comment box. This is all about real-time sharing and joining a conversation.
If people are sharing your content all over the web, but there’s no conversation happening on your actual blog, well – that can be a problem. If you would like all of those tweets and Facebook posts to make their way back to your content, then SocialSync is the answer.
Finally, there is also an added SEO benefit. Livefyre says, “Well, now that your pages are filled with social interactions from across the web, Livefyre is able to activate search engines to crawl through your site. Finally, original content is rewarded with valuable SEO credit for sparking conversations that spread throughout the Internet. In our book, that’s a huge win.”
That is a huge win. I’ve installed Livefyre on my toy bog and am going to test it for the next week. I’ll be sure and give a report back on my thoughts. What do you think? Is this a commenting system that appeals to you?
If you hang out around the blogosphere long enough you’ll hear the words “engagement with your audience” thrown around quite a bit. If you’re wondering what it means or how to create it, you’re not alone. With the amount of tips and advice available on the web, things can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, creating and maximizing engagement with your audience can be boiled down to 4 essential elements.
Content is really the heart of a blog. Without good content you’re finished before you start. Like almost everything in life the ability to create great content is something you develop over time. My blogging friend Joel Runyon put it wisely when he said “you more or less suck at it for a while and you just suck a little less every single day.” The best habit you can develop in terms of creating good content is to write every single day. You don’t need to publish everything you write and you don’t even have to finish it. You just need to get into the habit of doing it and you will evolve as as a writer. If you can determine the core message of your blog and boil it down to a tagline that will have a big impact on creating a connection with your readers.
One of the most important things that people tend to forget or take for granted is that a blog is multi-format platform. 95% of communication is non-verbal, yet the the majority of bloggers stick primarily to writing as the only way they communicate with their audience. Given that we have content can be consumed in the forms of writing, audio, and video, in order to maximize engagement it’s important to communicate with your audience using different formats.
If content is the heart of a blog, then connections are its lifeblood. Underlying all the technology that social media puts at your disposal is people. Therefore relationships play an integral role in the growth of your blog. The right relationships cause your content to spread and result in opportunity. The key to build relationships is to give more than you take, and leave people better than when you found them. There’s tremendous power in connecting purely for the sake of connecting with no end result in mind.
Blogging is really an art form and we are all artists. It’s the opportunity to tap into the creative potential that we all possess. One of the great gifts we have at our disposal as bloggers is the ability to experiment with anything and everything. If you have an idea which doesn’t seem to have a purpose, then follow through on it. You never know where it will take you or how it will influence your audience. Take chances with your content and don’t remember that anything worth doing requires the courage to fail.
These are all hashtags for different Twitter chats. You’ve probably seen them from time to time as people in your stream participate in them. Maybe you scoffed at the idea, simply viewing them as flooding your stream? It actually goes much further than that. Each chat is its own Twitter community that everyone participates in! BlogWorld, I might add, has its own chat: #BWEChat which is every Wednesday at 9-10pm EST.
What is a Twitter Chat?
A Twitter Chat is a group of users that share certain traits that all communicate with each other through a hashtag. You may have seen hashtags like #usguys and #SMgirlfriends tweeted about; these are twitter communities. If you’re on Twitter a lot, and you want to maximize its benefits, you should consider participating yourself. Twitter chats are also communities, although they only meeet once a week (But feel free to use the hashtag to share with others!)
There’s Twitter chats for everyone, from fiction writers to social media advocates to teachers. You can check out a list by clicking here.
Why Participate in a chat?
Whether you’re a budding freelancer out for clients and advice, or a business looking to find new customers, or if you want to demonstrate your expertise, The best place to go is to a Twitter community. You can ask questions and get answers from others in the community, and do the opposite as well. By participating in a Twitter chat, you can also get recognition for your comments, resulting in more people following you, including a possible client or two!
Networking in a Twitter Chat
The best thing to do is to follow the major players of the chat. Obviously, this includes the host and any guests the host may have, but also watch for other people who frequently comment on things during the chat. These may be people that give the best advice, or are the most social, or are just plain ‘ole interesting!
Don’t forget to comment, yourself. Some chats go really really fast, so the best thing to do is reply to people with a question or comment and carry on the conversation.
Faux pas you should avoid
Don’t link to random sites (including your own) unless the community host explicitly allows it. Exceptions may be for content that’s relevant to a discussion at hand. Most of the hosts tend to frown upon links during chat, as they are seen as spam. If you must link content to someone, reply to them without the hashtag (Basically, backchannel them.)
Don’t announce if you’re late. It makes it look like you’re not respecting the chat and the topic by being on time. If you are late, it’s perfectly acceptable to just jump on into the chat.
Lastly, use common sense. Don’t act like a jerk, post commentary that’s on-topic, and be generous.
James Dabbagian is a Social Media Mad Scientist (Not a ninja, rockstar, superhero, etc) who has blogged since the days of
LiveJournal, and has done Social Media essentially all his Internet life. Get tips on using social media and blogging from his website. And don’t forget to catch #Freelancechat, a Twitter community for freelancers.
Session Title: Discover the Hidden Profits in Your Community Speaker: Michele Price
Your Profits Like Puzzle Pieces Scattered In The Wind?
Being able to discover, access and leverage your hidden assets within a community is one very powerful way to see the big picture and what makes it important – all in one visual.
One thing bloggers and authors have in common, they both create entertainment and education ( depending on your niche). Bloggers, if you are wondering what else you have in common with authors, you will find out in our session at Blogworld (it’s more than you think)
In times past, to create the successful path for a best seller, you only had to write a kick-ass book. That period is long gone and frankly had frustrations for established as well as new authors. Who knew that the book game would change in an instant.
Even publishers are still giving authors some “not so stellar advice” right now in how to sell their books.
So if publishers are still in the stone ages with how they operate, how can you expect them to be able to advise you properly so you are getting the best results possible?
What do you want your experience with publishing and selling your book to look like?
Why are you writing a book?
Before you “GUFF” at me, let me share the reason why I am asking you this. The most un-asked question of authors right now when addressing their Publicity, PR and Marketing strategies is…
“What did you want to accomplish by writing your book?”
And while it might seem simple, you would be surprised how many cannot answer swiftly and succinctly.
If you answer is to sell books- DONG ( see the Gong Show Hook) here pulling you off the stage now.
Without knowing the “True End Game” what ever you put into place to get yourself seen, heard and publicized will be wasted money.
Ask me how many authors I know who have wasted their marketing dollars in trying to get proper attention for their books these past couple of years. It would have paid hiring me 1,000 times over.
Creating a best seller in today’s environment has shifted like a race car taking a hard right turn on the track in the rain.
How well do you drive on this new track of today’s readers?
Do you know if your topic niche readers like digital or paper more?
Do you know where they hang out online to talk about your topic?
Do you know where they gather face to face?
Do you know what they want to learn next?
Do you know how their interests have shifted over the year before?
Do you know whether they want another book or would they prefer an audio instead?
We will discuss these answers and much more at Blogworld LA on Nov. 3-5. You want to make sure you know them BEFORE you even think of writing that book.
Make sure you put Discover the Hidden Profits in Your Community on your schedule “must attend” sessions. ( A big surprise that day for someone attending).
“Come to BlogWorld L.A. and you’ll learn how to create better content, grow your brand, audience, and revenue online from the world’s most successful New Media content experts and Social Media innovators. More than 200 Speakers, 3 Days of Education and a Tradeshow Exploding with New Media Resources…plus great Networking Events too. Don’t miss it!”
Michele Price is the founder of Social Media For Smart People, a new media agency working with businesses creating branding relationships with bloggers, as well as implementing integrated & social media marketing for speakers and authors. Michele @Prosperitygal is the host of Breakthrough Business Strategies radio, Women in Business radio, and #Speakchat.
Session Title: So You think You Can Manage a Community? Speaker: Marcy Massura
Recently I have come across articles that like to talk about successful techniques for Community Management, but rarely do they focus on the most important ingredient; the community manager themselves. I thought I would put a list together for MY essential five things I think it takes to not only snag a job in this killer field- but to keep it– by being outrageously effective for the brand.
Be absolutely passionate about the power and potential of social media. Understand that you are not just promoting products…but you have the power to create communities of like minded people. Sure that means they are ‘like minded’ in their love of a brand- but that is nothing to sneeze at. You are at the helm. And while your purpose is to promote (which is a euphemism for SELL) the brand, you are also there to fascinate the consumer. Make sure your passion is evident to both your employer and the readers.
You must be proud of the brand. (I adore my brands.) You must use it, love it and proudly tell everyone they know that they represent the brand. Why? Well it is pretty hard to fake sincerity, even in 140 characters. Additionally- it is easy to create content for a brand/product you have personal experience using. Can fresh-out-of-college Bob write content for product targeted to mothers? Maybe. But can he do it with a convincing sincerity that will help to build the community? Probably not.
Not all brands are prepared to be in the digital area. Of course that doesn’t stop them, especially since everyone keeps telling them they HAVE to be doing social. So they hire a digital agency to build them a page(s) and hire themselves a community manager. But they are nervous, and realize this person and voice is the biggest spokesperson they have ever had. Gone are the days of being able to bury a bad quote on page 17 of the paper by making a call to a buddy after a press conference. Nope. Now, everything in the social world is broadcasted and permanent. So they want to play it conservative. Safe. The best community managers push back- just a little to help bring the brand along with creative and interactive content. But that takes guts, vision and strength.
Every time I mention I am a community manager for a large brand I almost always get the same reaction- “Wow that must be FUN”. I generally smile and say “It is. I am lucky”. But what they don’t understand is- my idea of ‘fun’ and their idea is totally different. My fun is high paced, tumultuous, last minute, long hours, stressful and jam packed with opportunities to be effective. Very few community managers are creating content with no checks and balances- most major brands have a slew of people hired to check and double check every Facebook update, every Twitter reply and more. So you need to be patient and remind yourself that it is their multi-billion dollar business that gets sued if you say something false, (likely) NOT YOU. They have every right to double and triple check and change your content (because in reality it is THEIRS) But that also means you are frequently working on tight schedules…so patience on all levels helps.
Know where YOU want to take the brand. Don’t wait for the brand to tell you what they want because chances are- they don’t know. You need to TELL THEM where you are going to take them. Do you want to increase Facebook likes? Change demographics, increase interactions, change over-all perception, build alliances, promote advocates etc etc and etc.
Community management is a fun and exciting path that many bloggers are venturing into, as a realistic career option. After all- once you fully understand the space- why not help others and grab a paycheck while you are at it. However, it is important to remember that it can be a demanding position with many pitfalls. Being the face, the voice and the consumer point of contact for a brand is a huge responsibility. One that must be treated with respect, care and love. And while I would not say I have fully mastered all 5 of these traits- I do work towards these every day.
Hear a bit more about Marcy’s topic and why she is pumped to attend BlogWorld Expo L.A. in November:
Go to our YouTube channel to see what other speakers are saying about BlogWorld.
Marcy Massura is a Community Manager at Weber Shandwick representing Oscar Mayer and Lunchables in the digital space. She is also a long time blogger, humorist and all around ‘social’ gal. Learn more than you needed to know about her at marcymassura.com or on Twitter @marcymassura. Better yet, come hear her speak at BlogWorld.
In the book, The View From the Studio Door, Ted Orland made the following observation:
“Art made for a specific audience has a far greater chance of generating a response than art cast to the winds in hopes that someone will response to it. Living in – and producing for – some small corner of the world is the daily regimen of the overwhelming majority of artists at work today.”
I couldn’t agree more.
And since I’ve been blogging and writing books for close to ten years now, I thought it would be appropriate to officially define my ideal audience.
That’s why I’ve included a new link on my blog called, “About You.”
Here’s what it says:
Welcome! This blog is where you belong if:
You want to matter.
You want to stay rare.
You want to inject soul.
You want to delete average.
You want to play for keeps.
You want to reach the world.
You want to capture heartshare.
You want to give yourself away.
You want to focus your face off.
You want to treat people like people.
You want to humanize the workplace.
You want to reach and engage the people who matter most.
You want to be taken seriously by the people who matter most.
You want to stamp out anonymity.
You want to slay your inner editor.
You want to give your river a voice.
You want to take the road less traveled.
You want to command attention everywhere.
You want to help people fall in love with themselves.
You want to advocate against normality.
You want to wage a war against the status quo.
You want to live the legacy that’s in your heart.
You want to overcome your addiction to permission.
You want to express yourself diversely and relentlessly.
You want to elevate your hireability, employability, listenability, trustability, findability, buyability and yessability.
If those things are not important to you, that’s totally cool.
No hard feelings.
JUST KNOW: That’s who I am, and that’s what I write about.
Hope you choose to stick around. Because I’d love to become part of your life in some way.
LET ME ASK YOU THIS…
Have you defined your ideal audience?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
When you do, post it publicly for them to see.
It gives me an outlet to share my thoughts. I’ve always treated it as an online journal rather than a publication to get people’s attention. This approach isn’t great for building up a huge readership, but it is who I am.
Blogging was the gateway to starting Social Media Group. We’ve been around since 2006, and I can remember a time when I could LITERALLY blog about everything that had happened in social media in a given week (and it was my goal to do so – and I did, every day!)
My favorite part of blogging is definitely the amount of new contacts and people you meet. Having a well known blog really gets your name out there, and certainly brings in a lot more opportunities versus if you were running your business online the same way, but not blogging at all. It’s a win-win situation.
Next Week: What is your least favorite thing about blogging?