Keep a Positive Tone in Your Online Community - dummies

Keep a Positive Tone in Your Online Community

By Deborah Ng

It’s up to you to set the tone for your online community. If you’re a regular presence, members are less inclined to sling mud or use profanity, and the community is a more positive place to interact.

With no visible leader or personal authority, controversial topics and inappropriate comments can make their way through. Your community can certainly talk about thought-provoking issues, but it’s better to step in a few times a day to make sure that things don’t get out of hand.

Your community is a reflection of you and your ability to manage effectively. A positive community reflects on you positively, and a negative atmosphere shows that you don’t have good control — or don’t care.

To keep the tone positive:

  • Steer topics in the right direction. Sometimes, it’s okay if a discussion meanders away from the original topic. If the topic goes completely off track and members are confused or unsure what everyone is talking about, you have to guide it back on track with leading questions and comments.

  • Offer encouraging words. Positive words yield positive results. Praise members for good deeds, offer good wishes on birthdays or other milestones, and let them all know that they have something special to offer. Don’t suck up to members or offer false flattery, but when you’re encouraging and supportive with your members, your members offer the same to you, the brand, and their community.

  • Use humor. Everyone enjoys a good laugh. Inject fun into your community, and encourage your members to have fun as well. Slapstick can be annoying, but who doesn’t appreciate a good sense of humor?

  • Don’t tell the world your problems. Nothing kills a mood like a sob story. Also, your personal problems have no place in community discussions. Keep your TMI (too much information) to yourself.