Events, meetings, graduations, conferences, work functions are being cancelled, moved to a drive tru format or conducted online. While some may want things to go back to the way they were before the pandemic, crowd gatherings are not safe and likely won’t be for a while. It is still important to stay physically distant but that doesn't mean we have to be alone or isolated. Humans need social interaction and even though it is not wise to come together right now, it is the best time to take full advantage of your online community. This is what it was made for: to offer support, insight, encouragement and kindness, in virtual form.
To reach its full potential, your online community and members need guidance and consistency. Follow these best practice guidelines to make your community the place your members turn to when in need.
- Be professional and respectful, after all it is a community of professionals, for professionals. This doesn’t mean you can’t keep it light, use emojis and offer feedback, just be mindful of others' privacy and time.
- Make sure your message is clear and easy to understand. Let people know that it is ok to ask questions for clarification, don’t let them make assumptions.
- When you read a comment, don’t always take it at face value. It is difficult to interpret emotions from writing, so even if something sounds disagreeable, sarcastic or mean tempered, keep in mind that it may not have been the writer's intentions to come off that way. You may get the urge to react but it is not always necessary.
- Which brings us to the next point, if you don’t have something truthful, nice, or useful to say, maybe it is best to keep it to yourself. That is why moderating posts, even for a while, is a good tactic to make sure members abide by the rules.
- Post regularly and respond to questions in a timely and positive manner.
- Online communication can be tremendously improved by starting with a strong subject line and keeping paragraphs/sentences short and easy to read.
Now more than ever it is very important to stay connected. And your members are no exception. To build a loyal membership base, make sure you listen to their needs and provide support.
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