Community Communications: Are You Being A Creep?

When it comes to communications within an online community, it’s a pretty mixed bag. Some groups allow for more self-promotion than others. But no group is created for the sole intent and purpose of offering sales opportunities to its community members.

As a matter of fact, even community owners soon learn that if they oversell, they lose the luster and collaborative vibe of their community.

More often than not, when a community goes sour it’s because certain types of community members are allowed to get away with bad behavior. And now I’m going to share some examples of creepy community communications and interactions.

It’s Not An Opera! No room for me…me…me…meeeeeeee!

If you’re seeing every post, discussion topic and call for assistance as a way to sell yourself, one of your products or a service, you might not really get the concept of most online communities.

I can’t tell you how many times I see community members who have no problem constantly pitching their services, no matter the nature of the post.

Me, me, me is a vocal exercise for singers! It’s NOT the best practice in an online community!

Guess what? There’s NO reason to include your URL EVERY time you comment. There’s no reason to repeatedly add your Facebook page link EVERY time you take part in a discussion.

Most community owners and moderators will nip this in the bud if they’re aware of it, but in very busy communities it can be overlooked. It won’t be overlooked, though, by your fellow community members. Not for long at least. They’ll soon suss out that you’re in it solely for yourself and deem you one of the creeps.

Need More Negative Nellie?

We’ve all met Nellie, or her close cousin Ned. Every time they post or comment, their words bear the brunt of their immense negativity.

Every product they try sucks. Everything about their website is wrong. All of their clients are mean, demanding, heartless and cruel.

Woe is them!

Too much woe is me will earn you a failing grade within any online community.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with sharing the occasional downer moment with the group. It’s healthy, in fact, to admit that running a business isn’t all sunshine, mimosas and red carpet events.

But, when the woe is me permeates every post you publish or to which you contribute, you’ll no longer be seen as open and honest, you’ll be seen as a Debbie Downer, Nellie’s other cousin.

And that doesn’t foster warm and fuzzies, nor trust in your ability to better the community at large.

Feed Me The Freebies!

Anyone have a contract I can look over before I start signing clients?

How do you set up your camera for natural light photo sessions? I’m not sure I’ve got the correct specs.

How much do you charge for “add specific design, marketing or copywriting service here?”

While the intent of many online communities is to foster a safe place for niche-industry discussion, far too often I see those same communities devolve into free-advice fests that do little to benefit anyone besides those looking to get as much free advice as possible.

Guess what? That online community isn’t a free, all you can eat, buffet!

Don’t Feed The Trolls!

When you see a community member two-fisting all of the free advice and crowdsourcing the skills and expertise for which you normally charge a pretty penny it’s YOUR responsibility to draw a line in the sand. It’s time to state that the getting might have been good, but now the getting ain’t going to happen without dollars exchanged.