Some people are natural engagers. They make you feel incredible the moment you meet them. Others…well…let’s just say you wouldn’t buy them a cup of coffee.
If you are in charge of your association’s online community being an engager will help you build lasting relationships with your members. If you’re not engaging your members, you are a danger to the success of your community. Here are a few characteristics of engagers and how you can become better at it:
They may very well be the most fascinating person in the world but they have a way of making you feel like you are even more so. They do this by taking an interest in you and by asking questions. In your association’s online community this could take the form of asking them to further clarify something they’ve shared (an appeal to ego) or asking someone to tell everyone more about themselves. Once they do, ask about a detail they’ve mentioned. They’ll feel like you were listening.
Good conversation rarely occurs with a know-it-all. While you may be the industry expert, ringing in on every topic with no interest in learning from the discussion will not build cohesion, unless all of your members decide they don’t want to talk to you. That’s a cohesive community but probably not one they’ll want to remain a part of at renewal time.
Deal in connections
Yes, you want members connected to you but you also want them engaging with one another. Make introductions in order to see this happen.
If engaging is a game of tennis and a member lobs the conversation ball, you’re expected to return it. However, a good engager doesn’t wait for the ball. A good engager walks up and down the court looking for people who want to play and plays the game they want to whether it’s tennis, soccer, running, etc. An engager makes things happen without pressuring those on the sidelines to take part. They make the game look so fun people are asking to join.
This one is hard if you hate the people in your community or your boss for assigning you this additional task. As an engager you need to approach the community every day with an “I can’t wait to see what’s going on today” attitude. This is something that’s very hard to fake so if you don’t enjoy the interaction, you might want to be thinking of your next opportunity.
A good engager makes a world of difference in an association’s online community. But the other side is true as well. A community manager who dislikes his/her role as an engager is a danger to the community. Members will try your community but if they have a bad experience once, or nothing is going on, don’t expect them to return.
What are you doing today to engage your members?