The Personality Problem
Talking like a real person is far more difficult than we imagine.
We've been brainwashed by years of corp-speak. We've largely forgotten how to connect with non-employees.
If you're running a community on behalf of an organization for the first time, you might assume this is easy. Most people do.
There are a lot of subtle nuances, expressions, and seemingly minor variables which will significantly impact the development of the community.
If you're doing outreach to a prospective member, and you speak in the third person, make the message too long, don't properly space out the message, don't clearly explain your connection to that person – you're chances of getting a reply plummet.
If you're replying to members, and can't meaningfully connect with them, you're going to struggle. If you don't have the passion for the products/topic as they do, they sense it. They drift away.
If you're writing content, and it just has that slightly corporate whiff, that lack of personality, that lack of familiarity or caring, it's going to repulse members.
If you initiate discussions that just don't sound right, have the aura of someone that doesn't really have much experience in that sector, you're not going to get many responses.
If you're managing a community on behalf of a brand, spend some time going through communities. See how members talk together. See the personality they use, how they create discussions, what type of discussions work best, and how content is written.
Too often, we assume that these communities (especially those targeting business professionals), should be entirely formal. A quick glance at LinkedIn communities would tell you that's not the case
Every professional community manager I speak to claims they know this. Yet nearly every single one will make one of these mistakes.
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