I Respect Your Social Media Community – Do You Respect Mine?

social media community respect

After spending 15 years in corporate high tech and big data product marketing and brand management it’s hard not to make up a new three letter acronymn at least once a day.

The purpose of this post is to talk about the OPC. Ever heard of an “OPC?” OPC = Other People’s Communities.

When we talk about communities in social media there are million ways we can slice and dice it.

A community does not just happen overnight. You can’t just decide “hey, I am going to launch my product on October 1st and by October 31st I will have a line waiting to click like on my Facebook page, loads of fans visiting my Facebook page daily, an opt-in email list over flowing with qualified leads and a line of new clients ready to get out their credit card to buy from me or download my new app.” As much as we wish it worked this way, the truth is it just simply doesn’t.

Building communities take time. It requires an understanding of the people within the community, their needs, their desires, the problem pain points and a framework and fabric for them to connect. It requires a respect and care for those communities and the people in them.

Things like content, conversation, education, inspiration, peers, resources, and more all help foster relationships. At the heart of community is the heart of the people. It’s why I boldly believe the heartbeat of social media overall is people. It’s you and me.

Why are you interested in social media? 

social media community direspectIf you are in in business you likely have an interest in leveraging social media to connect with people so that you can sell them more product or service. That’s unfortunately how many business leaders new to social media explain their goals of social media to us.

Most are not clear how to use the medium but are certain they have a goal of “selling more stuff.” We work with some clients in the disaster restoration business and their favorite words are “we just need more jobs.” To them more jobs equals more cleanups of floods, water damage, fire damage, mold removal etc. It’s not that they want more houses to be damaged, they just want to be the service provider contacted when and if it does happen!

You can’t just go head first and sell into a community you don’t know. 

social media community against the flowJust because a community exists online that matches your target demographics, doesn’t mean they are ready to be your friend let alone buy from you! If you enter the community with the only goal being to sell, chances are you are going to stick out like a soar thumb in a bad way.

The tricky thing is for many to understand is that you don’t just move from point A of starting social media to point Z of people buying from you. There are many things that must happen in between such as:

  1. Getting in the head of your audience
  2. Setting clear business goals and objectives
  3. Developing a plan that includes building relationships with real people
  4. Executing the plan
  5. Analyzing, tweaking, optimizing
  6. Rinsing and repeating

Inspire – Connect – Achieve

Somewhere in there you must inspire and connect with the right folks so that you can build community. If your plan does not include a way for you to provide relevance via content that resonates with your audience you are going to have a tough time building community. Why you ask? Because they are never going to be inspired to join your community in the first place.

If you look at successful online communities you will see many common themes. They usually share, communicate openly, have structure, are helpful, provide value, workout issues as needed and the list goes on.

Relationships are earned, not given.

You must earn people’s trust to inspire them to click, like, tweet, retweet, share and talk about you and your product. You earn their trust and over time you educate them, make them laugh, make them do the “happy cry” and build a business or personal friendship. The relationship is something you invested in, something the other person invested in and provides a return on the time spent for both of you.

Are You Respecting the OPCs (Other People’s Communities)? 

Now, let’s talk about the OPC. The OPC comes in when someone stops by and wants to pop into our community. You may also want to pop into, tap into or build relationships with OPCs (other people’s communities.)

power of social media community respectMy next question is what do you think about when you have a goal to engage with other communities?

What do you think when you do any of the following?

  • Ask someone to retweet you?
  • Ask someone to share your blog on their Facebook page?
  • Ask someone to post on your Facebook page?
  • Ask someone or a community to click like on your Facebook page?
  • Ask someone to follow you?
  • Ask someone to connect with you on LinkedIn?
  • Ask a group leader on LinkedIn if you can post your blog post to their community?

Are you thinking about how you are adding value to the audience? To their OPC? To the community they may have spent years nurturing and investing in the people and heartbeats within the community? Are you thinking about how you can truly inspire the OPC?  Help them achieve their goals?

Or are you thinking about your own goals? Are you thinking about how you can leverage the OPC to get more retweets, more likes, more Facebook fans and more sales?

I can tell you if you are only thinking of  making sales, the chances of that goal being achieved are slim to none.

Why I don’t retweet You & share all of your content

I recently wrote the post “10 Reasons Why I Don’t Retweet You and Your Content“. Yowza, it fired some people up. People either loved it or thought I was being overly cautious. I love this debate and wanted to continue the discussion here.

At the core, the reason I put much thought into what I share, tweet, retweet, like, post on Facebook etc. is because I care about the needs of my community. I build communities with a goal of providing them the highest possible value in everything I do. This includes communication, content via blogs, videos, inspiration, education and the list goes on. I research the community, I listen to what they are saying. I care about their feedback.  I care about their needs and I do my best to learn what their goals are, what their pain points are. I study what keeps them up at night and I build the best plan I can to help them get more sleep, to solve their problems.

So tell me why, just because you have written a blog post that you want to get mucho traffic that I am required to share it with my audience? The truth is I am not. I am happy to share it if it provides value to my audience, helps them achieve their goals and I believe it is a fit with my audience.

Social Media is Not a Barter Market as in “you retweet my stuff and I’ll retweet yours”

social media bartering for retweetsAs I always teach and preach, you really need to have the objectives of your audience in the forefront of everything you are doing in social media. Because the heartbeat of social media is people, you must get to the heart of the people first with a goal of EARNING their retweet.

Be the heartbeat of social media.

Because I filter what I curate and share doesn’t make me a bad tweeter or a bad business leader. I hope you are doing the same thing. Don’t get bullied by those out there that want to make social media a bartering system.

Respect your community. Respect my community. Respect other people’s community and they will respect you back. Be their friend. Be their helper. Be someone who inspires them and chances are they’ll want to do the same for you.

Be the inspiration, be the content that helps someone solve their toughest problem. Share your best stuff that does these things and I’ll be happy to retweet your blog post, share your tweet and tell people to watch you video.

Remember it is real people that are doing the reading, the watching, the clicking and buying. They may be behind an avatar or a logo. However, they are real people.

The best thing you can do if you want business results in social media is to start with the people.

Be the heartbeat!


What You Say?

Are you respecting the OPC? Do people respect your community? Or do people get frustrated if you don’t share everything? How have you built your community? What tips can you offer others?


Heartbeat of Social Media Series

This blog post is part of a new series titled “The Heartbeat of Social Media“. It will include a deep look at how communities work, what people are doing within them and how businesses can better understand how they can fit in, provide value and derive benefit as both a business as well as individual people.

Subscribe to the series for updates and access to special videos, webinar training and more. Would love to hear your input and have you participate in discussions and debates as we challenge each other to be part of what makes the social network heartbeat healthy and alive in 2012!


About the Author

Pam Moore

*Forbes Top 10 Social Media Women, Forbes top 50 Social Media Power Influencer - CEO / founder of Marketing Nutz, full service social brand, digital marketing agency. Social media marketing speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. I help businesses of all size integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups!

  • JessicaNorthey

    TRULY GREAT POST PAM! so many points. You are so insightful! LOVE YA!

    • http://www.pammarketingnut.com/ PamMktgNut

       @JessicaNorthey Thanks Jess! You know this is a topic near and dear to my heart. The conversations the past week on the “Why I don’t Retweet” article really hit home with how many people are still so focused on numbers. It’s like they can’t see the people thru the tweets! Lol 

      • JessicaNorthey

         @PamMktgNut (from the facebook wall post) tee-her >>> I dont get annoyed as much as bothered by people who tend to practice “reciprocation” methods of Social Media ie I will post your stuff if you post mine. Post it because you like it….PERIOD.
        As I have changed my focus more on Country Music and Entertainment…sometimes posts about quantum physics and your techno community don’t really fit mine. I respect that you may see something of mine you want to share but when people DM/email me or try to pressure me to tweet/post things that make no sense for my community they are being the opposite of what they think are. Sharing someones stuff JUST so they will share yours is kinda shady, if ya ask me. I love ya Pam AND totally get you :) XOXXO

        • http://www.SocialMediaForSmartPeople.com/ prosperitygal

           @JessicaNorthey Jess while I hear you about your focus to discuss country music – one thought I have is a little different than yours…I think my audience/community while we maybe connected via social media, business thinking, trendsetting mindsets to discover breakthroughs – are more complex than a single topic. 
          Some of us all still love food or photography or football or mystery novels, so that is why I RT a variety of topics.
          What do you guys think – is there value in tweeting and RT a variety of topics?

        • SteveCassady

           @prosperitygal I think there is value in sharing a variety of topics.  I have a variety of communities I am involved with and unlike Google+ circle posts, twitter posts are for all to see.

        • http://www.pammarketingnut.com/ PamMktgNut

           @prosperitygal  I don’t think @JessicaNorthey is stating there can’t be diversity.  I agree with you and  love to share many different topics with my audience. It is another reason why I love @Triberr. It has introduced me to so many bloggers that I would have never met or read their content otherwise. It has also given me an opportunity to get to know people like you, learn from you, etc. I think what we share and how and when is both art and science, with a slant toward more art. It’s as much gut feel as it is science. I honestly try to push myself out of my comfort box on a daily basis. I always try to purposely share posts that are not 100% tightly aligned to  my niche or own personal area of focus. I have found my audience reply, like and engage positively with many of them even when science told me they wouldn’t.

        • http://www.pammarketingnut.com/ PamMktgNut

           @SteveCassady  @prosperitygal I agree Steve. For me it’s both art and science as I mentioned in reply above to @prosperitygal !  Variety is the spice of life. However, quality is also important. For me the post must offer something unique. It must inspire, educate, strike an emotional chord, etc.  People want to laugh, cry, be educated and inspired to do better, be better and live life to the fullest. 

  • Josh Moore

    Love this one!

  • Alinda Pete-angerville

    Continually providing opportunities to learn and grow and have fun while doing so – just another example. Appreciate the chance to learn and grow and get insight from someone who TRULY “gets it”.

  • MatchesMalone

    Well then, as The Black Fox would say, “This Changes Everything!!!”
    Good points here, but some that don’t follow easily into the niche that I’m apparently marketing to. It follows that creating something of value to sell would be the first step. Okay, I’ve done that. What’s the next step?
    I’ve always erred on the side of asking forgiveness instead of permission. I can post a page onto your page, and have some people see it. It truly depends on the rules of the OPCs whether or not it will stay up for any length of time.

    • http://www.pammarketingnut.com/ PamMktgNut

       @MatchesMalone What do you mean by they don’t work in the niche you market to? How does connecting with people not work in any niche? I’d love to have a discussion with you on this. Asking for forgiveness will only take you so far in social. It won’t be long before you will not be welcome in communities, on Facebook pages. If people repeatedly spam pages many people eventually block them. Get enough blocks and it is going to impact more than just your ability to spam. Plus I have to question WHY would you do this? If you’re going to take the time, invest the time and money to do such why wouldn’t you just take the same time and invest in something can be more impactful, offer real benefit and build relationships? Something that will have a longer life than a post you spam on someone’s page. Who cares if someone sees the post. People buy from people and and eventually I believe tactics and strategies as you discussed will catch up to the people that use them. They’ll wonder why they got left behind as while everyone else was building community, building relationships they were freeloading and not creating anything meaningful to connect people with their brand. It’s also not only business lost but personal benefit lost. It’s human nature to want to connect with real people. Why miss out on relationships that could bring your life depth, joy, peace and at the same time help your business? Sorry, makes no sense to me. Would love to hear your opinion.  

      • MatchesMalone

         @PamMktgNut Having thought about this response for awhile now, and I’ve come up with the following: You had the opportunity to find out what I do before you made your response, and yet, you chose to respond thusly.  I have nothing to hide, my public persona is basically who I am.
        The entertainment industry is unique, in that it promotes narcissism more than any other, I would think. I’m not truly selling anything, although, most would say that I am.
        You ask why I would ‘spam’ a page on Facebook, and that’s not truly the question you should ask, as that’s not truly what I do. If you ask me to visit you, be your friend, or like your page, that gives me the opportunity to post to it which I take one time. It’s up to you as the owner of the page to then decide whether or not the post I leave there stays up or not. You may remove it if you wish.  You can leave it up as a bad example, I don’t truly care what happens to it. 
        Everyone by now should know how to make a movie. If you don’t, hire me to do so. Maybe that’s the service I’m selling, but I don’t see it that way. This conversation will post to multiple places, and maybe this will get you more sales, and me more followers, but that’s not the goal of this conversation.

        • http://www.pammarketingnut.com/ PamMktgNut

           @MatchesMalone Sorry, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I can’t be sold on your strategy. Just because I accept your friendship on Facebook does not give you right to post about your biz on my wall. My point in my comment back to you was that there is value in investing in real people, in relationships. There is value in getting in the head of your audience.  Yes, you may do video… however, WHO do you want to provide video services for? What size is their biz? What are their geo locations? How big is their business? Where do they spend their time online? Are they on Tweetchats, Facebook, LinkedIn, none of the above? If you don’t know the answers to these questions then even posting on my Facebook wall with a spam post is going to do more harm than good. What if your target audience is NOT on my Facebook page? What if you just ruined what could have been a great relationship based on trust, honesty, value? What if I knew 20 people who might need your services? I could bring you in to a Tweetchat as a guest. Your comments explain the core of why so many biz leaders are missing out on results in social media. They want to take the short cuts, spam a wall versus invest in a relationship with the people who own the wall.  I also did check out your profile. I clicked thru to your Twitter account, your project 168 page. Looks like you do video, magician work etc. Still didn’t tell me what I could hire you for, sorry. That’s why I asked. 

        • http://www.pammarketingnut.com/ PamMktgNut

           @MatchesMalone Hello again. I am coming back to state one more thing. I Just looked at your LInkedIn profile and your comments are really on my heart. Please know I am stating all of this with a goal to truly help you meet your business goals. I think you have an amazing and very interesting background. You have a lot to offer, experiences to share. Many people would probably like to learn from you, be inspired by you and eventually buy from you. You are selling yourself short by not letting them see or meet the real you.  Why spam a Facebook wall when you could be adding real value, letting your real self shine and organically attracting people to you and your brand? I challenge you to give it a try for 60 days. If it doesn’t work then come back and tell me so and I will walk thru your strategy and understand why.  

  • danielnewmanUV

    This post actually made me jump out of my chair.  Great stuff here.
    I was thinking about this a lot lately.  While I am a business person, I am so much more than that. I am a father, an athlete, a member of my community, and and and….
    Why in the world should the person I am, and what I represent in the “Social” community be limited to just one dimension of my being?
    That is why I share so many different things that relate to my interests.  That is also why I share things from people within the communities in which I resiede.
    The other day someone gave me flack for writing a social media focused blog.  They proclaimed that it didn’t belong on a leadership blog.
    To me that is incredibly short sighted.  Leadership transcends every part of our life.  Including Social.  As a proponent of the platform and a member of many social communities I can write about it if I choose.
    That is the beauty of having a blog.  It is my blog and I can write what I choose.  You as the reader can choose whether or not you want to read, share etc…
    I don’t ever EXPECT anyone to share my content.  I’ve never DM’d anyone and asked them to etc.  Not my style, but I am so grateful for the communities I am a part of and for all the generous people who share my content.  Many of which my content isn’t a great fit for their “core” audience.
    In the end though, we are people.  That is it.  The popularity contest, the clicks, and the rankings.  It is all good stuff and amusing, but as people we relate and every one of us is diverse.
    Pam, thanks for writing this.  I’m glad to have met you and always appreciate your willingness to put your thoughts out there whether they are popular or not.

    • http://www.pammarketingnut.com/ PamMktgNut

       @danielnewmanUV Great words Daniel! I agree with you 100%. We are so much more than bloggers. I am a mom, wife, friend, woman of Christ, writer, agency owner, life group leader in my church and the list goes on and on. I don’t know if you remember but late last winter I was dealing with a similar experience to what you describe. I had found that I was starting to write blog post content based on what some loud voices in the community told me to write or not write. As I looked at the stats, they were starting to fall. I was losing myself in my own blog.  I wrote a post titled “I’m Taking My Blog back”. Immediately when I did such the numbers rose again. the conclusion I came to after such and after a few late night chats with the #GetRealChat community on this topic was that our blog readers want “US” in our blogs. They want to hear our perspective. They are not coming to our blog to hear us say the same thing everyone else is saying. They want YOUR perspective Daniel! So I say write the social media post wherever you want. I know many leaders who need to better learn social. Just like you they are not just looking for leadership articles. They need to also lead in life in business, communication and yes on the social networks. I say it’s also time for you to “Take Your Blog Back!” Try it, measure the stats where you are right now and I bet they’ll do a hockey stick graph just like mine did when you take it back again.
      p.s. If you can’t tell… I am in the middle of a silent “take my blog back” scenario again. You can usually tell when my posts start to get more opinionated and bold. I am currently writing about much of what I am seeing in the social waves. Right now it’s not pretty and I am shocked at the number of people who are once again so very focused on the numbers over quality of relationships. I can tell you my numbers are sky rocketing again as I take my blog back. I love working with you Daniel and am so happy our paths crossed. You always make me think. Your thinking is one that makes me do better and be better. Love you for that! :)  

      • danielnewmanUV

         @PamMktgNut Thank you so much for the kind words.  This post has inspired me to write something in which I will post very soon. 
        I couldn’t agree more about taking back and not apologizing for what we write and who we are.  
        I look forward to further connecting in the future, but so appreciate our work so far.

        • http://www.pammarketingnut.com/ PamMktgNut

           @danielnewmanUV Love it Daniel! I am so happy to see it. I’ll come comment soon (today!) You have so much to offer and I am blessed our tweet and life paths crossed. Don’t let anyone put you into a box. Your Lifesong is beautiful and you have so much to share and give to others and you do it in such a humble, beautiful way. I learn from you daily, truly! 

  • ianmcleary

    Hi Pam,   I used to behave differently online than offline but what I found is that, as you say, people want to see more of you.  I found that I wasn’t translating my personality to the online world.  As soon as I did I found that I was more successful at engaging with people and building relationships.
    I had a the same issue when I went to conferences.   I was too serious at conferences and I’m a fun loving guy that loves humour and meeting people.  As soon as I changed my attitude and became more myself then I enjoyed the conferences much more and also met some fantastic people.
    Online if you are yourself some people will love you and some people won’t.  But  the majority of people through Social Media behave the same and don’t really get anywhere.  
    In Ireland we love our pubs!  We don’t go into a pub and ask a stranger to buy you a drink.  If you go into a pub and meet a friend that you built a strong relationship with the first thing they’ll ask you is ‘what are you having’.   Asking for a retweet is similar.  If we focus on building relationships and deliver valuable content everything else will take care of itself.
    Enjoyed reading the post and the comments!

    • http://www.pammarketingnut.com/ PamMktgNut

       @ianmcleary I love your Pub analogy. You are so right in that there is only one me and one you. We should be that person, period. Just because we “can” spam on social doesn’t mean we should. We should treat it as real life and build relationships. I really believe there will be a larger movement toward this over the next couple of years. I think the digital divide for success will be between those that learn how to master both the art and science of social and those that don’t. Thanks for your comment. I may have to use that analogy the next time I speak or train. I’ll give you full credit of course!! Enjoy the rest of your week!  

      • http://www.discoverybuddy.com IanCleary

        Absolutely!  No problem using the analogy!!!

      • ianmcleary


      • ianmcleary

         @PamMktgNut Absolutely.  Enjoy the week-end!! Ian

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  • PamMktgNut

    Thx for the RT luvs folks! Happy Monday!! @ambercleveland @RebelBrown @salesdujour

  • MarkRCameron

    @ShellyKramer nice article Shelly.

  • Tedh9rcja
  • Bernicehneal

    Whether you start your social communications from your Facebook page or your blog the application is the same. If you have something interesting to say or useful to give to the community then say it. As a business owner and someone who is passionate about what it is you do then in reality there is no one else that is more knowledgeable than you about your products or services.I have collected more information from <a href=”http://www.socialinkmedia.com/”>Social Media Marketing Service</a>

  • Bernicehneal

    Social Media Marketing is a like a gourmet food store. How can we provide irresistible social media marketing tips that attract clients like crazy! Social media content is our our delicacy. What we put in front of our viewers is what we get back. Do we really put the best out to our viewers and get the feedback so we know what to do next? Do we really interact with people?For more information visit http://www.socialinkmedia.com/

  • EnigmaNetxx

    @BigGirlBranding @PamMktgNut
    muy bien!

  • PamMktgNut

    @C_Pappas Thanks Christina!

  • JohnRichardBell

    RT @PamMktgNut I Respect Your Social Media Community – Do You Respect Mine? http://t.co/Yx8h645V <~Lots of learning in this post #sm #socbiz

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  • SidekicksMktg

    @PamMktgNut I agree. I have not respect for those I “follow” that automatically “follow back”. R they interested or just playing a game?

  • MZazeela

    Pam – Operative word is community.
    I really think the rules of engagement are similar in the real versus virtual worlds. After all, if you were invited to an industry party, would you work the room, handing out business cards, and asking everyone if you can quote on their business?
    Of course some folks DO exactly that. And, I imagine it is likely that they would behave similarly on any SoMe site or in any online community. I think the consequence of that behavior is pretty easy to predict. Get enough people together and there are bound to be some who don’t get it. And, the “don’t get it” crowd certainly includes high powered business executives just as well as us regular folks.  I think when your agenda gets in the way of your common sense, one is prone to making lots of mistakes that might be perceived as selfish.
    As in many other areas of life, shortcuts rarely work. If you are not willing to make the investment in time, you are unlikely to reap the rewards.

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