Why do people participate online? How can a community definition inform our behaviour as community managers? Community is a mis-used term, but understanding what a community truly is can help our every day actions as community managers.
Whether engaging young or old, the first rule of community management is understanding why people engage online at all.
Communities are made up of a “specific group of people who form relationships over time around a strong common interest”. They participate online for several reasons including reputation, efficacy, altruism, anticipated reciprocity, a sense of belonging, and emotional connections.
Of those participating in online communities, a vast number are young people and with over 45% of Facebook’s population aged between 13 and 24, engaging with this demographic is more important than ever.
Here are 8 tips on engaging young people online:
1. Look beyond the short-term to long-term engagement
Just as with display advertising, you may only have a few seconds of someone’s attention. That said, you don’t want to exploit that opportunity for short-term likes or engagement. Building connections and loyalty via social media is a long-term process, so use that time to start slowly building a relationship with your audience.
You can start doing this by thinking about ways to better involve your members. Is there a project you can involve your members in? Is there a change they have wanted that you can give them? Is there something you can give them that makes them feel more strongly connected to your community? Things that genuinely build loyalty in members lead to more long-term involvement.
Give members the opportunity to share their thoughts, ask you questions and interrogate your policies. Encourage them to talk to you – you’ll gain valuable insights into what they want from you, as well as how they want to communicate with you. Always be careful about asking for feedback you can’t act on though!
3. Use their native language
Talk in a language that your followers can understand. Industry jargon, abbreviations and buzzwords mean nothing to them, and will most often turn them off. Saying that, it doesn’t mean you have to end every status update with “LOL ”. Young people expect businesses online to maintain a certain level of professionalism and respect. So, be friendly, courteous and interested in what they have to say, and just remember that it’s important to balance being personable with being too casual.
4. Be relevant
Whatever you’re talking about, try to frame it to match particular self-interests of young people. It’s important to frame things within the context of what a young adult might ask themselves when they see your content: “How will this benefit me right now?” Post content that’s relevant to them right now, that interests them right now, and that’s worthwhile spending their time with right now.
5. Show humour
It can be tough to make a dry topic interesting. Don’t be afraid of using humour – when appropriate. Humour is a great tool for Community Managers. The Australian Bureau of Statistics did a fantastic job with their 2011 twitter account, and received international attention for this joke.
6. Be relatable – have a face!
Although you’re expected to behave like a business, it can be difficult to relate to a business. Put a human face to your communication and ensure that face is someone who is helpful, understanding, and is relatable to your audience.
Do things that will take your membership on a ride with you. Don’t be afraid to rebel against the status quo to stand out from the crowd — young people are often doing this themselves among their own peer groups.
Ask them to share their own experiences as they relate to your topic or industry. Whenever you can, respect their position in the argument (even if you disagree), empathise with them, and work with them to bring about the change they want to see. A business can’t be a friend but it can still act like one.
7. Show respect
Always maintain a healthy respect for your members, not just while you’re building your community but also once it’s built. You don’t own them, they don’t owe you anything and, given a good enough reason, they can turn against you. At the same time, those who feel like they “own” your business — who have shared their thoughts with you and have seen you, and in turn themselves, benefit from their contributions — won’t need a reason to defend you.
8. Allow pseudonymity
If you’re engaging with your members outside of Facebook, consider allowing users to choose their usernames, and not have to use their real names. Pseudonymity can help provide a safer, private space where people feel more comfortable discussing certain topics and sharing information and advice. If you have effective community management you can avoid bad behaviour by enforcing the rules.
Alison Michalk, CEO Quiip
Please login with linkedin to comment
Cannes Lions has announced the winners in the second Awards Show of the week during Cannes Lions Live, which runs until June 25th. On day two, winners were celebrated in the Social & Influencer Lions, Media Lions, PR Lions, Direct Lions, Creative Strategy Lions and Creative Data Lions – all within the Reach Track, in […]
Cresta Awards has announced that despite having a few more weeks before entries close, this year’s Cresta Awards has surpassed its entries for the whole 2019 Season. Cresta sees this as evidence, not just of evolution in its own awards but of a wider measure of industry confidence and resilience in many markets. The awards […]
Ashley Madison, the online dating site for married people famous for its shock advertising, is toning down the message, instead creating content aimed at empowering women with the message it’s fine to have an affair. Recently, B&T interviewed GroupM’s chief technology and transformation officer, Ryan Menezes. When asked what was the best brand he’d never […]
Clemenger BBDO Melbourne has announced Charlotte Stevens as group business director, leading the Myer account. Stevens is returning home to Australia following a decade in London, most of which was spent at Portas Agency. During her time in London, Stevens led Sainsbury’s fashion, homeware and beauty portfolios and worked across a range of retail accounts […]
In this piece, Tim Sleath, VP of Product Management at VDX.tv, discusses household targeting’s role alongside other identity solutions and how advertisers can create an effective household strategy for their campaigns. As the advertising industry plans for the removal of third-party cookie support and moves toward adopting more privacy-centric solutions, marketers will need to identify […]
Culture-leading publisher Highsnobiety continues to evolve its local operations with the appointment of Citizens of Culture as its strategic partner across media operations within Australia. Highsnobiety is a premium global brand dedicated to cultural pioneers, with work spanning across digital platforms, print media, documentaries, cutting edge events, a shopping platform and a full service creative […]
Australian fashion brand Witchery has partnered with B Corp GlamCorner as part of GlamCorner’s subscription box offering as the demand for everyday essentials soars. This partnership marks another milestone for the Australian fashion industry towards becoming more circular and introducing more paths to reduce textile waste. Customers nationally will be able to rent more of […]