Just like the community in which you live, social media neighborhoods are created by the people who inhabit them.
Here at BizSugar.com, for example, we feel we have one of the best online communities on the planet, but making a difference in your social media community or neighborhood has to do with your effort and the efforts of your fellow members to make them good places to interact and network.
With this in mind, here are five tips for improving your social media neighborhood where ever it might be:
1. Be kind
Call it Karma or the golden rule. Names are less important than the idea that how you treat others in the community will likely impact how you are treated in return. So kind words and encouragement in your comments to other members will have an overall positive effect and build the community as well. This doesn’t mean there will be no disagreements, but setting the tone for your neighborhood with a note of kindness will certainly encourage others to do the same.
2. Be courteous
Avoid making comments only about you and your brand or business. Think about the reputation a person who is discourteous gains in an offline community. How do you feel about those in your neighborhood or community organizations who are rude, selfish and unthinking in their treatment of others? When networking in online communities, this behavior can become part of your brand. Ask yourself how you wish to be perceived by others.
3. Be considerate
One of the best ways to determine whether you are being kind and courteous to others in your online communities as well as offline is to try to be considerate of others’ feelings. Think about how the things you post may make others feel before you post them. It also means considering how others might feel if you litter their online community with spam and unrelated comments and posts. (How would you feel about your neighbor carelessly littering on your street or in front of your house without considering your feelings.)
4. Be Respectful
It’s doubtful that cutting another community member down with a disrespectful comment or post will win many points or improve the quality of the online community in which you participate any more than feuding with one or more neighbors will improve the quality of the offline community in which you live. Speak your mind but always with respect for others. Remember, the idea of an online community is to engage others in conversation not end the conversation through disrespectful comments.
5. Be helpful
Above all, try to be helpful the way you might be helpful in your own offline neighborhood by donating generously to local organizations who serve the entire community and volunteering your time when necessary to help out as well. You can do this online by sharing helpful articles and posts that will help everyone and by “favoriting” or bookmarking the submissions of others you found helpful. Let your community see that you’re not just in it for yourself. You may be surprised at the generosity you receive in return.
(BizSugar.com is a social media site dedicated to news and information of interest to the small business community. If you are a small business owner, we invite you to join us and help make our online “neighborhood” a better place for small business leaders from around the world.)