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Look Outside the Fishbowl

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

I find it is important to look outside the typical information flow in the social media space and see if advice offered in other areas applies to what I do. For instance, a big part of community management is promotion, which is why I really enjoy Andy Sernovitz blog on word of mouth marketing. Not everything in that blog hits the bulls eye for me, but it always helps me to look at promotion from a different perspective.

Today I want to point you to a blog article I saw in Fortune called How to sell in a lousy economy. Again, not everything is this article is gold or is applicable to community management, but these are folks trying to build relationships that pay the bills in a very harsh environment. Here are some useful tactics they provided that caught my eye:

Chris Sharma @ Nordstrom notes how to start a conversation that engages:

"If you ask him, Can I help you? They'll probably say, No, I'm just looking. So when someone's looking at a tie, I'll say, Wow, that's a great color. Are you trying to put together something? It goes from there."

Peter Foss @ GE warns against getting too personal:

"You can't go in and be superficial. You have to be careful with asking, How are your kids?"

Richard Shank @ AT&T on building networks:

"We know all the CIOs in the Midwest, and a lot of them know each other, so I'll say, Why don't you have a conversation with so-and-so, and that person can serve as a reference for me. If you don't know them, you can meet someone new and network. It's a good strategy for helping customers consider you."

The broader point I'm trying to make is that the technology is new, but in many cases the practices of building relationships have been around for a while. Its easy to get caught up in your own world - don't forget to look outside the fishbowl from time to time to see what other ideas are out there waiting to be (re)discovered!


See the comments page for how I envision community managers using the methods above to improve their community relationships; or let me know what was the most useful advice on communities you received outside the social media context!

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Last update:
‎05-17-2012 07:24 PM
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