As a parent, I early-on developed a strategy for surviving the information and advice onslaught . My strategy was to define our family identity and maximize our parental strengths. This helped me reject good ideas that were simply not going to be sustainable given my personality, skill or energy levels. I was never going to be able to maintain a weekly chore chart, but I could create a fun atmosphere during our Saturday morning house cleaning.
Engaging your residents through social media requires a similar approach. No matter how good the strategy you hear at a conference or read in a book, you've got to evaluate it in terms of your reality and the identity of your community.
I recently read a presentation on using social media for engaging community. It included some great suggestions:
- Use humor
- Post photos
- Ask leading questions
- Post helpful tips
All good ideas. All potential flops if they are outside your personality or your community's identity. If you're not funny you shouldn't attempt to use humor to engage your residents. If your parties are lame or your pictures are bland, they will not be a good option. Asking questions can be wonderful unless no one responds or it starts a strange or inappropriate discussion among your most disenfranchised residents. And trying all of these things at the same time is sure to overwhelm you or your staff and decrease your chances for success.
So, take a few minutes to consider your strengths and your interests. Are you good with one-liners? Consider using humor in posts. Are you an avid reader? Try posting short quotes from your reading or a book of the month. A fitness nut? Start with tips for a healthy lifestyle.
Sustainable communication begins with a reality check. Who am I and who is my community.
We'd love to hear what's working for you!