Community Manager's Plan for Participation
"90% of success is showing up."
We've found that the best way to ensure success with your Biznik membership is to make a plan for showing up. If your participation is willy nilly, you will see some results, but if you have a plan (and stick to it), you will find that this community becomes one of the cornerstones of your business -- a place where a group of your peers to answer a question, have a beer with, collaborate with or hire, are never more than a click away. Here's a simple recipe for a plan. You can add to it and make it your own.
This one bears repeating. Complete your profile with real information. That means use a real name, a real photo, and think long and hard about your categories and job title. We get that you're an owner or a CEO or an entrepreneur. We all are. Give us something to chew on. More specifically, are you a photographer or a business strategist?
Do this 1-3 times a week...
- Read an article. The Weekly Hot Sheet brings the most popular articles to your inbox, or go straight the articles section. We are lucky to have so many talented authors inside our ranks of membership writing about business and discussing that content on Biznik.
- Comment on that article. Avoid the temptation to leave a "throw-away" comment that can be summed up in a, "Good job" or "I agree!". Commenting provides an opportunity for others to engage with you as a professional. So try to further the discussion by posing a question or challenging the author.
- Share it with someone you you think would get some value out of it. Can't think of someone? Then tweet it or post it on Facebook. Use the author's twitter handle and you could create some goodwill from the author too!
Do this one a month...
- Check in on the conversations you're a part of. (Biznik makes it easy. Just log in, go to your profile, and click the 'Posts' tab for easy access to all your posts.) Abandoning an online discussion you were participating in, is like turning the lights out in the middle of a conversation. Those who were engaging with you will wonder what happened to you. They may even wonder if you're still in business!
- Publish an article. It's not as scary as it sounds. Do you have a blog? Do you post to it? Then you've got an article in you. It doesn't have to be a literary masterpiece or a tome. (Actually, it can't be -- there is a 1500 word count limit.) Focus on one a lesson or observation you've made in your business, and share some thoughts and ideas that would help your peers be more successful at theirs.
- Host an event. Also not that scary. Gathering 12-15 people for a meet'n'greet at your local pub or coffee shop is easy, fun, and can pay off in spades. See Creating an Event inside the FAQ.
Invite your peeps.
You have friends that are running their own show. You've got a network of peeps you already network with. It's not rocket science that it's easier to network with people we already know, like and trust. Invite your peeps to join us. Surely they have questions about contracts, conversion rates, and how to incorporate. Biznik members are here to support them too. (Besides a world full of Bizniks to network with is better for the planet!)
Come back often.
And follow up within 48 hours. If someone left a voicemail on your business phone or sent you an email asking for more information on your services would you leave them hanging, or ignore them entirely? An online community is simply a different medium! If someone makes a comment on your article or sends you a message, reply back as promptly as possible. Even if your response is that you are super busy and can't get back to their question or need for a while. It's not only your professional reputation on the line, it's very possible that connection could turn into business in one way or another.
Think of this like a soup stock to get you started, then develop your own plan by adding elements that fit your personality. When you add personal style and your networking becomes one of your business habits, you'll see it pay off in spades.