Social media is full of chat groups and forums.
Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or some other business forum website, they can be a valuable source of support, advice and banter.
They can also be a source of great frustration.
Over the years I’ve been part of many such groups. They’ve all started off well with members posting lots of useful information. Everyone’s provided advice and support when asked creating a friendly and supportive atmosphere.
But then something seems to happen.
After the initial support phase, something more sinister starts. You get one or two members who start to catfight. Another that decides he has an opinion on everyone’s comments and he’s obviously right (I say he, but of course it could also be a she).
Then, as anarchy sets in, rather than seeing informative posts, wave after wave of mindless adverts start to appear. People no longer want to help and advise; now they just bang on about how great they are.
Another useful group falls into disarray with many members unsubscribing never to be seen again.
If you think that’s a bit melodramatic, it’s happened in at least 5 groups I’ve been part of.
Become the trusted friend
Is this the normal lifecycle of a social media group?
It doesn’t have to be.
First of all, if you’re an admin of one of these groups and you see the above scenario developing, please nip it in the bud. Have a quiet word with the offender(s) and help them see the error of their ways.
If a contentious issue is raised, by all means start a debate, but make sure it’s conducted with decorum.
But above all, if you’re a member of one of these groups, make sure you don’t become the social pariah.
- Don’t harp on about your business all the time
- If someone disagrees with you, accept their view point with good grace and debate issues in a friendly way
- Don’t become the ‘I’ve done that’ person, listen and make valuable contributions to discussions
- Answer questions that are in your area of expertise without blatantly advertising your company
- Do not automatically add members to your mailing list just because they said hello
- Be a valuable member of the community and not a silent stalker
If you do all of that you’ll become known as the go-to person for your industry; someone who is generous with their knowledge and someone people can trust.