Owning the page has been a treat, since the MySpace brand automatically gives me access to thousands of eyes. This page has been pertinent to understanding the MySpace audience. I still cannot believe I have the privilege to delve right into the core of the community — even if it is off platform. Actually, the fan page is still small (for a brand the scope of MySpace) so it has been easier to interact with the members.
When I started curating the page, it was not pretty. Users would post rude things unprovoked, spam the wall, comments and the Discussion threads. Slowly but surely, we are turning into a community where power users are being identified, comments are turning into conversations, personal attacks are rarer occurrences and community members take it upon themselves to ensure the conversation stays respectful. It is now a semi-community; a safe place where our users — customers — can come to hang out. Though I am not going to lie. These two and half months have been a daily uphill battle since users who visit the fan page still do not understand how to conduct themselves. It is also fascinating to see the reactions of people who are caught off guard when they realize someone from MySpace is actually present, listening, when they post rude or disrespectful comments.
That said, for all persons representing their brands online, it is important to remember: access to hundreds of thousands, does not equate to an insta-community.
So how am I building community?
When I took over the page, I double — perhaps tripled — the content posted and with every post, keep in mind the Internet is a medium to engage and socialize as I: 1. join and moderate the conversation 2. post engaging content and 3. set guidelines.
1. Joining the conversation: moderating
A key factor in building community is to actually, well, partake in conversation. The key here, is not be afraid. There is a person sitting behind the computer engaging with your content. So long as you keep that in mind, interaction is pretty simple: talk to anyone and everyone as you would like to be treated. Do not respond to every single comment but watch the direction of the conversation. If someone is unnecessarily rude, warn them and let them know: Hey, I’m listening. That catches users off guard and the conversation goes back to being civil. Regulars, are now used to moderation. If a person continues to insult or personally attack you, your brand or other members of the community: Do not be afraid to ban. It’s for the greater good of the community. I also do not delete comments unless absolutely necessary. I’ve found the community members watch what other users post on the wall and comments — even posts from a few days back. A couple of examples (warning, foul language):
2. Post engaging content
Like I talked about on Marketing Pilgrim, there are (loosely) three fundamental types of Internet users:
1. creators (sharers, broadcasters, content providers)
2. taggers (those who engage with simple actions: like, comment, favorite etc.) and
3. viewers (lurkers — those who are none of the above and simply consume)
Before sharing content, always ask yourselves: will my headline reach all three groups? Did I pick and choose content my audience would appreciate. I’ve found that regardless of demographic and target audience, the three fundamental users and their actions are the same. (will go into detail about content at latter time.)
3. Set guidelines
I do not treat the fan page like a billboard, so I expect the community members to come to the page with the same respect. Conversation — two way conversation — is a must. I monitor all wall postings, comment threads and Discussions by letting users know pasting a link to MySpace profiles is ineffective. I took it a step further by providing options for people who want to be seen.
If you look at the Discussion tab, there are threads for 1. MySpace profiles 2. pimping their favorite Facebook fan pages 3. ads, causes or whatever they may be selling and 4. chain letters. Then, I listen.
How effective are these methods? Only time will tell but so far, the feedback and reactions are excellent and the community just keeps on growing!
Stay tuned, as this will be an ongoing series :)
ps: Did anyone else notice Facebook 1UPd their analyics by showing the number of fans who’ve hid the page?