Do you garden? I used too many years ago but decided to try and take it up a little again. It is amazing to me to see the rewards that come from planting a seed, cultivating the ground; giving it some water and seeing something beautiful grow. As I worked away at getting my flowers to bloom I could not help but see so many parallels to what we try to do on a social media level.
Creating a thriving social community is a ton of work. Try and picture the results if you just tossed a bunch of seeds in the air and sprinkled some water on them once in a while. Not a pretty picture is it? In much the same way our approach to social networking and building community needs to not be these random tosses of interaction but a solid cultivated approach. Here are three key aspects of how you can have a lively social media garden.
Keep the Weeds at Bay
There are always obstacles that are trying to choke your progress. We know in the real gardening world you can never eliminate weeds but you can certainly control them and keep them at bay. In the social gardening world, it is much the same. You need to, first of all, be there. You need to have a voice and be involved in your community otherwise your community will overtake you. It is as simple as that. Often times you are in need of keeping negative influences under control. You can only do that if you are regular and participate in a consistent approach. So break out that hoe and rake and come up with a consistent comprehensive approach to your social media strategy
Let The Sunshine In
How well do your flowers go when there is no sun? Perhaps your garden goes through days of overcast conditions, how well do those plants thrive and where do those flower heads turn? Our social online conversations can also go one way or another. You can be drab boring and suck the life out of your community or you can let the sunshine in and inspire your community to participate, to pick their heads up so to speak and enjoy the social media garden they are part of. That is up to us as community managers to make that happen. We all have bad days of course but it is so that the flavor of our posts and conversation has life and vitality to them. People hear bad news all the time. I don’t see much sense in giving them more.
You underwater your garden what happens? You overwater your garden what happens? Easy point to see is it not? If you don’t give your community enough content and interaction it will simply wither up and die. If you overdo it and flood them with endless posts, syndications, polls, surveys etc. you will drown them out and you will be left with nothing. You need to give your community just what they need. Just like every flower or plant has different needs so does our own individual communities we maintain. Don’t assume you know what they need and want. Ask them. Test and see how they respond to different items you provide. Give them what they are looking for.
Gardening is certainly rewarding for many and cultivating our social media gardens can be the same. Give it the time and effort and we can see our communities continue to thrive and grow and provide the bounteous results that are expected of us in this ever-changing business world. If you have any social media gardening tips to share I would love to hear about them in the comment section below.
Written by Jonathan Saar