How to Get the Most out of Your Online Communities
I hear people talking all the time about the communities they belong to online and which ones are the best and which ones are not worth their time. Different communities are going to appeal to different people, no one community is going to be best for everyone. Finding the communities that are best for you takes some time, but in my opinion, participating in communities and finding out what they are all about is worth the time if you are serious about making blogging a career.
How to find your place on the net
- Before joining an online community answer the following questions about yourself, your blog and community involvement in general:
- What types of people do I want to associate myself and my brand with online?
- Why do I want to be a part of a community?
- What topics, goals and themes best fit my personal brand?
- What level of activity am I looking for from a community?
- What are my personal and professional needs?
- What do I expect to get from a community?
- What do I want to give to a community? How much time? How much effort? How much personal information.
Once you have answered the questions above and are comfortable with your answers, join a few communities and try them out for a month or two then ask yourself the following questions:
- Are the people in this community the type of people I want to associate myself and my brand with online?
- What is great about this community? Why do I want to be a part of it?
- What is not so great?
- Do the topics, goals and themes in this community align with my personal brand?
- Is the activity level in this community what I was looking for? Is it too much? Not enough?
- Does this community meet my personal and professional needs?
- Am I getting what I expect out of this community?
- Do I feel like I belong to this community or am I just another member?
Now, compare your answers about the community to your answers prior to joining. If they do not align, then that particular community is probably not for you. If there are more negatives than positives then maybe it’s time to move on and try out another community.
This may seem like common sense to many people, but I can’t tell you how many people I meet that are in countless communities, spreading themselves way too thin which results in stress and dissatisfaction. When you are stressed and dissatisfied you will get no return on your valuable time as a member of any of those communities.
My advice is to be as selective about the communities you join online as you would be when joining groups in your real life. Find the ones that best fit your needs and focus on building relationships within those communities. If they don’t fit your needs, cut them loose, lighten your load and reduce the stress of trying to keep up with them all. Trust me, you will be much happier and your blog will be happier too!