Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
About a year or two ago there was a pretty funny commercial on television that had a local backyard Barbeque going on. The catch was that there was this guy wandering around and inserting himself awkwardly into games and conversations at the party that no one knew. Everybody was asking each other if they knew him – no one did.
I write this post today with a certain amount of disappointment as I couldn’t find the video outlined above (I think it might have been a Johnsonville Brats commercial). Nevertheless, I hope that the overview I gave above sets enough of a groundwork for my point and if any of you readers out there know what video I’m talking about and can find it, then let me know and I’ll update this post.
Anyways, the point in bringing that video up is to give a picture of what it’s like when someone joins an online community like Twitter, a blog or a message board and immediately begins touting their organization, product or service.
Imagine yourself sitting in your backyard on a sunny Saturday afternoon and noting that your neighbor is holding a backyard BBQ with all their friends. So you, being the strong advocate of your ministry or non-profit, walk over, stand in the middle of the group and shout out the URL to your website. Ridiculous, right?
And yet, this seems to be a tendency that so many people gravitate towards online. They have their organizations mission at the top of their mind and they jump into these communities without having any relationship whatsoever with them. This doesn’t work in real social contexts like a backyard BBQ and it won’t work online.
So what I’m saying is, don’t get into social media and online communities looking for a quick fix – create a relationship first, contribute value to the group and then, when the time is right, introduce your organization. It takes time and it takes effort but all relationships do.
The difference is that at the end of the day, you won’t just have an audience; you’ll have a group of friends and advocates – a much more powerful entity.