Building an online community is work, but we can learn a thing or two from our ol’ pal Tom Sawyer. Remember the part where he had to whitewash the fence on a day when he’d rather be doing anything BUT whitewashing the fence. He made it look like so much fun that other kids came and gave him their valued possessions for the chance to whitewash and get in on the fun.
In the end, Tom got his work done, ended up with some great new stuff, and the other kids actually DID have fun doing the work. In fact, Tom might actually have missed out on some of the fun by not participating.
The same can be done with our online communities.
Now I’m not suggesting that we take the analogy to its logical extreme; you should never fake it and fool people into joining your community.
But communities should have a level of fun or enjoyment. If you’re building an online social community around your business, don’t think of it as work. As I talk to friends who are community managers for businesses, one of the things I find that they have in common is that they really do enjoy what they do. They don’t really view it as “work”. Building and maintaining an online community can, and should, be fun. A lot of this is a matter of perspective and how you view your “work” and whether or not you really love what you do. Hopefully you do!
And if you’re having fun, and others see it, they will be attracted to you and your community. When people are having fun, others want to join in.
I’ve used this example before, but I go back to it often because it is a perfect example. Go spend some time over at my friend Gini Dietrich’s blog at Spin Sucks. She has built a strong community that knows how to have fun while also discussing serious issues. Read through the comments on her posts, you’ll see what I’m talking about. And the real time nature of the Livefyre plugin adds to the fun and community building aspect.
Think about your favorite social platform, whether it be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or something else. What draws you there? I’d bet that one of the elements is that you actually enjoy using it; you have fun.
If you’re having fun, not only will you attract others, but they’ll want to help out as well. They want to be a part of what you’re doing, because, well, we all desire to belong.
Honestly. It’s OK to have fun.
Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that having fun has to be all laughter and silliness. We have fun any time we enjoy something. Even when reading the most serious of books, or participating in a serious discussion, we get drawn in when it’s about a topic we enjoy.
Create great content that people enjoy, and yes, have a little fun, and you might just see greater growth in your community. People will talk about you and tell others that your place is THE place to be.
Are you having fun online? Do you enjoy the work you do when it comes to your social networks? What sorts of things have helped you develop a “fun” community?
- You Should Care About Community Building, Even if You Have No Interest in Being a “Community Manager” (managingcommunities.com)
- Plugging In: The Six Communities with which Your Business Needs to Connect (inklingmedia.net)
- Social Good Is In, Negativity Is Out (spinsucks.com)
- Your Business Needs an Online Community Manager (inklingmedia.net)
- Three Things I Would Have Done Differently If I Started Blogging Today (dannybrown.me)