From marketing manager to brand manager to online community manager, things are moving quickly. Over the years I’ve lived pretty much all of these positions. What I have learned more than anything today, is that people don’t want you to suck. They want you to be real and authentic.

Photo Take From: Creative Commons

For years and years, companies main goal was to “push” their products or services onto you through the form of advertising. Things have since changed, especially if you want to succeed today. The goal now, is to build passionate online communities.

You have probably heard the word engagement before right? Everyone is using it, but few understand what it really means.

If you want to get traction and build any sort of community, you better start being as real as possible.

One of the things that frustrates me the most is people trying to create cooler facebook ads, or trying to get more “Likes” when they haven’t even begun to build their community. Oh, and the last thing, never try to build a community about you. The community that you are trying to build should be more about others than it is about you.

I put together a list of 5 things you can do to stop faking it and start making it.

1. Just be the facilitator.

People will come back to a place where they feel like they are being heard. When you stop listening, they leave. If you want to build a community you have to have people in it right? Being a good facilitator is more about you listening than it is you talking.

Stop focusing first on an ROI and advertising dollars, and start focusing on your online community. Let the people determine the community. Shut up, stop talking, and start listening.

2. Be the extension.

In general, online communities are just extensions, or should be extensions of what happens in the real world. Your online community should not replace, but imitate personal relationships. The positive daily interactions that happen outside, should be shared and valued in your online community.

If you are making connections elsewhere, you should be making similar connections online.

3. Don’t be stupid, keep it simple.

If I’ve learned anything in life, it is to keep it simple. This doesn’t matter if it is online or offline. Keep it simple. Nobody wants confusing, fogged up communities, people want simple, clean, and real.

Besides keeping it simple, start small and scale from there.

4. You want loyalty.

If you think this is going to happen overnight, then you got another thing coming. Loyalty is not something that happens in a day, it happens over days. How do you keep people coming back? Make your content, short, sweet, and simple. This is what people are looking for. Also, be frequent and easy to engage with.

5. Make Engagement Easy

Most people look, but never actually buy anything. People bounce around from site to site trying to find something they like. Think of the last restaurant that had a few options, was it hard to make a decision? Probably not. This is what you need to be, the restaurant with few options. You want quick, easy engagement if you are ever going to build a community.

If you are able to follow these simple tips, you can stop faking it, and start making it.


Question for you?

What are you doing to build your online community? I would love to hear your tips.