In a previous post, we covered the first 6 rules for participating in a building products niche social network, and here’s the remaining 5:
- DON’T participate only in discussions that can lead to you talking about your company’s products. I can’t emphasize this enough – everything shouldn’t lead back to your products. Everything should lead back to helping solve a challenge for another member of the network.
- DO use the network for research purposes, within reason. While talking about your products all the time is boring, giving network members a chance to give their opinion, try a prototype of a product or provide insight in another way is a great way to be involved, and many members will likely jump at the chance.
- DON’T believe this is a short-term initiative. If your company is going to participate, it needs to be a commitment – the best of these networks have been around for a decade or more, with many members involved throughout. Over time, you’ll learn more, become more trusted and, ultimately, get more return than if you only participate when there’s a new product to launch, or whenever you feel like it.
- DO have a plan in place for handling complaints or attacks. The US Air Force (a surprisingly progressive organization from a social standpoint) has their “Rules of Engagement” in an easy-to-follow diagram that is a great model for any company – see it by clicking here.
- DON’T forget that, like many things in life & business, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. By that, I mean every network has its core group that provides the best information, participates the most and stays involved the longest. If you have to prioritize responding and who to discuss with, those are the most important.