Social networking skills are an important element in your online community.

Bring your social networking skills to a new level! The more valued a member of your community feels, the more likely they are to stick around and get involved. Here are some ways you can make members of your community feel special by applying following social networking skills.

1. Greet personally every new member, but don’t send a standard e-mail. Try to engage a newcomer to begin a conversation, send them community guidelines, last newsletters, introduce them into community in the same way as you were welcomed if you had a VIP arrangement in a 5 star hotel when a specially assigned person explains you what you can do and where during your stay.

2. One of the major social networking skills is abilitiy to make interviews with your members. Interview your influential members, you can do it either via video or audio podcast or just send them questions via e-mail. Your members will get to know each other better, and the interview subject will feel special about being chosen to be interviewed.

3. Acknowledge members contribution. Use your social networking skills by rewarding members who contribute great content to the community by placing them either on a LeaderBoard section or by giving them credits. Stimulate active contribution and engagement so that members feel passionate about the community. By doing this you’re shaping the culture of the community and you’re demonstrating what you want to see in the community.

4. Identify leaders and create a support group. You can identify leaders and form the Advisory Board or Panel of Expert groups. Invite in these groups only people who can give you real good advise how to go forward with the community. Have individual conversations with members, not necessarily on line. Don’t be afraid that a lot of your matchmaking will take place ‘behind the scenes’.

5. Remember your members. When your community grows, it’s all too easy to forget those that helped it become a success. Never forget those early members, but at the same time, don’t forget the newer ones, either.Obviously, you can run into problems with scale here. You don’t need to obsess over this – just remember things about members and mention them every now and again when relevant. Sometimes a spreadsheet with one or two important bits of information about specific members can be invaluable.

6. Ask about your members. If you don’t see a member for a while, ask after them. Drop them a line – make them know that you’ve noticed their absence. Make sure they’re OK. Get other members to ask after them, too.

7. Give them prestigious titles. A common mistake is to give the superstars of your community moderator privileges. You should be choosing people that have the right blend of respect and maturity – this shouldn’t be a popularity contest.Instead, give the superstars of your community unique titles, ranks or badges. Make sure they are marked out as special, and make sure the community knows why they’ve been marked out. They’ll often want the same treatment, leading to more of the kind of behavior and contributions you want to see in your community.

8. Give them responsibility. This could mean moderator privileges, but I believe that if you can limit the number of people with administrator powers to you alone, you should.Give members ‘responsibility’ over specific sections of your community. Give them tasks and objectives – put them in charge of recruiting new members (make sure they don’t spam). Set them a target of increasing the number of discussions about a specific topic, or of extending and rejuvenating existing discussions.If they’re particularly active in a specific section of the community, consider naming it after them.

9. Have a periodic update of newcomers and Encourage people to introduce themselves into community and say hi.

10. To bring the social skils in your company to a common denominator you might consider creating formal procedures and policies in this area. The major idea is to design a community management process that you can put in writing, so you can delegate the process to somebody else. Another argument for creating a good documented process is when you want to sell your community, such documentation and procedures will constitute as an asset and will bring more value to your community.

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