You’ve probably heard or seen the word “community” a lot if you’ve been hanging around the Social Media world. Well, today, we’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to envision your community building as the building of an arch instead of a little town. If you picture an arch, you have 2 legs, a left and right, and they come together at one central stone, the keystone. The keystone locks everything into place.
Building a Social Media community means that you are going to a lot of different sites or registering your name in a lot of places. So the left side of your community arch may be your blog, your Twitter account, your Facebook page – things having to do directly with you. Let’s call the right-hand leg your traveling leg. This would be your registration with commenting sites like Disquis and LiveFyre, your inclusion in someone else’s Facebook group, or just general comments that you leave on someone else’s blog.
One thing it’s really important to have in all of these instances is a name – an identifier. And that’s what we’re going to call your keystone.
Why is your name so important?
Let’s take a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you have a blog that you call, oh, I don’t know, “Sunny Puppy Daisy Blog.” All of the blog posts show the author’s name (you) as Sunny Puppy. So, you’re blogging away and you leave a really nice mention of someone in your post. That person sees it and leaves you a really nice comment. The interacting, for them, is with someone who is going by the name Sunny Puppy. Now, let’s say based on the person’s nice comment on your post, you go find them on Twitter. They don’t follow you back right away. On Twitter, your name is Daisy Jackson. Guess what? That person you interacted with on your blog? They have no idea who you are on Twitter. It’s now taking extra time and effort to help that person become a part of your over-arching community because you have to explain to them who you are.
Now extrapolate this across all of the different channels you use. What name did you give yourself for Disqus? Are you engaging bloggers who then have no idea how to find your blog? Do you have different names for your Digg and StumbleUpon handles? How can anyone get to know you when they’re never 100% sure that you are you? It can get to be a pretty big problem.
Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you
There are millions upon millions of people tweeting and blogging and Facebooking these days, so sticking out and getting attention can be pretty difficult. To better your odds, make it easy for people to recognize you as you are walking down the various “streets” of the Social Media world. Help people connect the dots so that they see that you’re that person who wrote the really great comment and you’re also the person who tweeted that really interesting study. Help someone who gets to know you primarily through Twitter get to know you better via your blog or via your comments on their blogs. Help people build a relationship with just you rather than building relationships with six different versions of you.
If you don’t like the mushy community talk…
This advice can also help you if you are using Social Media for business. It is not the be-all or end-all of branding, but it certainly helps get your company’s name out there. If you say something useful on Twitter using your corporate account, you want people to be able to attribute that to you, then tie it to your related blog post. Your name, one of your common features across all channels, will help lock people in on both legs of your community arch.
A rose by any other name
So what is your name situation? If you comment here, will I be able to find you with ease elsewhere? Will it be easy for me to continue to build my relationship with you as I see your name popping up in different places, or will you become another face in the crowd beyond the walls of this space right here? Is your keystone in place?
How can I help you set that all important block that will lock the different parts of your community building efforts together? Just let me know.