Gini Dietrich

The Secret Sauce of Online Community Building

By: Gini Dietrich | August 24, 2011 | 
273

Everyone always wants to know what is the secret sauce to building a community. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s simple, really.

Stroke people’s egos.

Seriously. That’s it.

You’ve heard this from me before; it’s not a new concept. But it truly is the secret sauce.

Starting from Scratch

Some people disagree with me. Mitch Joel, for instance, thinks blog comments are nice, but the real juice is in the content.

I agree. But I also think if you aren’t giving people a reason to comment, they’re not going to. If you don’t stroke their egos by visiting the places where they participate online, they’re not going to come to you. And this is very important, especially when you’re starting out.

But how do you go about doing such a thing?

Three years ago I began blogging for the sheer purpose of figuring it out so we could counsel clients on the pros, cons, and how to make a blog effective.

And something interesting happened along the way. I built a community.

It actually wasn’t on purpose. You see, I had 128 visitors the first month of blogging. No one commented; not even my mom.

But I began reading other blogs, and commenting on them. Soon, those bloggers came to my blog and commented on my content.

Well, let’s be real. It took me 10 months to figure that out. But when I figured that out, our traffic jumped, oh, nearly four thousand percent. Yes, four thousand percent.

All I was doing? Stroking other people’s egos by commenting on their blogs and being smart about what I said.

The funny thing is that, when you comment consistently, the blogger wants to know who you are. So they check you out. And, if they like what they see, they comment, subscribe, and share.

Building Community

But, of course, for this double type A personality, that wasn’t enough. I really wanted more than traffic and comments.

I wanted community.

Back to Mitch Joel…I read a blog post he wrote about community. He said (I’m paraphrasing) that you don’t have a community until people begin talking to one another without your participation. Until then, it’s just comments.

And he’s right. You know you’ve hit community mecca when people come to your site to talk to one another, with your content as the conversation starter.

One of the things we did to really help build community was install Livefyre as our commenting platform. You see, it invites people to come back over and over and over again.

But it’s not the end all, be all. It’s only a tool. It’s in how you use it that makes community building successful.

The consistent content has to drive conversation. Create a polarizing opinion and watch people talk to one another (professionally, of course) about the topic.

Additional Things to Consider

So we’ve talked about stroking people’s egos, having good and consistent content, creating a conversation, installing Livefyre, and providing some banter.

A few additional things you should consider:

  1. Know what your vision is for the blog. It’s easy to forget when you read other blogs and you’re moved so much by what the bloggers have written that you want to write something similar. Unless it matches your vision, don’t do it.
  2. Have goals, just like you do for everything else you do in business. We started out with silly goals, such as “beat Danny Brown in the AdAge rankings,” which keeps me, particularly, motivated, but doesn’t do much for the business. Know what you’re trying to achieve and don’t take your eye off the ball.
  3. Your content should always have a call-to-action to it. This was a really hard lesson for me to learn. When I figured that out, this last year, our traffic grew 281 percent. Our community grew. And you know what else? Our sales increased because we gave people a reason to buy from us.

Three years of blogging. Nearly a 30,000 percent increase in traffic since the beginning. Ten blog posts per week (four from guests). A highly engaged community. And increased sales.

All because I believe if you stroke other people’s egos, your benefits far outweigh the cons.

Thanks to PowerPointNinja for the image. I always think, two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun when I think about community building.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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273 responses to “The Secret Sauce of Online Community Building”

  1. faybiz says:

    G- you give good community

  2. faybiz says:

    G- you give good community

  3. faybiz says:

    G- you give good community

  4. Shelley Pringle says:

    Great post, Gini. As someone who is just starting out on her social media journey I really appreciate the suggestions you share. I just have one question for you: where do you find the time?

  5. AranH says:

    @shelleypringle you’re looking great today…

  6. AranH says:

    @shelleypringle you’re looking great today…

  7. CarlThress says:

    Great post (as always). Lots of good takeaways. My favorite: “You know you’ve hit community mecca when people come to your site to talk to one another, with your content as the conversation starter.”

  8. CarlThress says:

    Great post (as always). Lots of good takeaways. My favorite: “You know you’ve hit community mecca when people come to your site to talk to one another, with your content as the conversation starter.”

  9. martinwaxman says:

    RT @shelleypringle @ginidietrich: Online Community Building & the Secret Sauce via @SpinSucks http://t.co/dL6ifwR

  10. martinwaxman says:

    RT @shelleypringle @ginidietrich: Online Community Building & the Secret Sauce via @SpinSucks http://t.co/dL6ifwR

  11. ginidietrich says:

    @Shelley Pringle Ha! I’m better at it some weeks than others. But just like you’ve commented here, you’re beginning to build good will for when you launch your own things.

  12. ginidietrich says:

    @CarlThress I like that too…and it really started with Mitch challenging me.

  13. ginidietrich says:

    @faybiz I don’t know what to say. You said something nice and didn’t call me names!

  14. ArveyColumbus says:

    This reminds me of something I borrowed and quote from a @toddschnick blog post. Todd said, influencer that he is, that each of us should be reading and commenting on a minimum of five blog posts per day. So I do (I can be such a herdwoman sometimes). I’ve unsubscribed from blogs based upon posts from the blogger stating that comments on blogs are irrelevent. If a blogger doesn’t care what my thoughts may be on their subject matter, they must not care about it enough to invite conversation. I’m getting old and have little patience too. But that’s another story…

  15. ArveyColumbus says:

    This reminds me of something I borrowed and quote from a @toddschnick blog post. Todd said, influencer that he is, that each of us should be reading and commenting on a minimum of five blog posts per day. So I do (I can be such a herdwoman sometimes). I’ve unsubscribed from blogs based upon posts from the blogger stating that comments on blogs are irrelevent. If a blogger doesn’t care what my thoughts may be on their subject matter, they must not care about it enough to invite conversation. I’m getting old and have little patience too. But that’s another story…

  16. AlinaKelly says:

    Great points ginidietrich . Maybe it’s intuitively obvious, but I think it’s worth noting that disingenuous ego-stroking for the sole purpose of community building is a fail. I’ve seen a bit of what looks like that on the blogs and find it off-putting. No one wants a sycophant for a friend.

    I have to agree that some of the best (and often most entertaining) community building happens in the comments (e.g. mock competitive banter between you and dannybrown). For all I know, your blogs could be ghost-written, but the banter in comments is real and that’s where I’ve grown to discover and respect a lot of fantastic bloggers – yourself and dannybrown among them.

  17. @faybiz@ginidietrich “You give community” made me laugh. 🙂

  18. KDillabough says:

    @AlinaKellyginidietrichdannybrown I had to look up sycophant. I now have a new word:) Thanks Alina. Cheers! Kaarina

  19. KDillabough says:

    Confidence-building, content-rich, relief-providing reality check: that’s what I call this post. Thanks! Kaarina

  20. KenMueller says:

    I’m with you 100% on this, and it’s why I’m here. I’ve become a part of this great community and some of it has carried over to my blog. And…I love it!

  21. NancyD68 says:

    Now you have me thinking about Big Macs. 🙂 You make a very good point about people come back when they feel they are wanted. So it is in my case. I began reading and commenting on blogs and noticed that some bloggers never replied to my well thought out comments, while some always did.

    I always come back if the owner of the blog replies to me. If they don’t, I may still read, but won’t comment. I think everyone wants to be liked and accepted. This is part of life. I want to be liked and accepted too.

    Some of the best conversations are had here in the comments. It happens sometimes even over on my blog! Sometimes I will get a flurry of comments and realize they are talking to each other, which is really cool to see.

    My very first post had 6 views! (if they would have counted my visits it would have been 100!) but the very next day, Chris Brogan tweeted out my post because he saw I posted it in the Facebook group he was running at the time 218 views and 15 comments. I cried from being so happy. I have yet to break 200 page views again, but I will…

    Seems I was channeling Griddy with that monster comment. See what happens when I am sick? Where is my tea?

  22. Shonali says:

    I think what is especially cool about Livefyre is that it helps you identify your community. Before I was blogging frequently, and before I had Livefyre, I certainly got comments, and even some replies/sub-comments between commenters, but it was difficult to bring them back to different parts of the conversation. That’s one of the things I really like about Livefyre. But as you said, it’s a tool – it’s how it’s used that makes the difference.

    And I’ll second what @faybiz said – you give good community, Jean Genie (have you figured out why I call you that yet?).

  23. Shonali says:

    I think what is especially cool about Livefyre is that it helps you identify your community. Before I was blogging frequently, and before I had Livefyre, I certainly got comments, and even some replies/sub-comments between commenters, but it was difficult to bring them back to different parts of the conversation. That’s one of the things I really like about Livefyre. But as you said, it’s a tool – it’s how it’s used that makes the difference.

    And I’ll second what @faybiz said – you give good community, Jean Genie (have you figured out why I call you that yet?).

  24. kamkansas says:

    A great success story! RT @KDillabough via @ginidietrich Online Community Building and the Secret Sauce | Spin Sucks http://t.co/3FzLLts

  25. kamkansas says:

    A great success story! RT @KDillabough via @ginidietrich Online Community Building and the Secret Sauce | Spin Sucks http://t.co/3FzLLts

  26. AlinaKelly says:

    @KDillaboughginidietrichdannybrown Well if I’ve done someone some good, then my work here is done. You’re welcome Kaarina! a.

  27. NancyD68 says:

    @Shonali@faybiz I know why you call her that – but I bet you she has no idea why!

  28. captain_diver says:

    I didn’t see a call to action in this article.

    Good Post. I’ve been reading your blog since the Vocus webinar a few weeks ago. I’m getting a lot of ideas and daily inspiration.

  29. jackielamp says:

    Lifefyre definitely helps the comments become more of an ongoing conversation that just a one-and-done sort of thing.

    Question: do you think building community is the same for personal reasons vs. building one for a brand? I agree with what you said about “stroking egos,” but how does a brand do that without coming off as sort of cheesy? (because it’s not as subtle when a brand strokes someone’s ego)

  30. jackielamp says:

    Lifefyre definitely helps the comments become more of an ongoing conversation that just a one-and-done sort of thing.

    Question: do you think building community is the same for personal reasons vs. building one for a brand? I agree with what you said about “stroking egos,” but how does a brand do that without coming off as sort of cheesy? (because it’s not as subtle when a brand strokes someone’s ego)

  31. nikkimartinpr says:

    Amazing what happens when you stroke egos RT @carrieatthill Online community building & the secret sauce http://t.co/LxAgauH @ginidietrich

  32. jackielamp says:

    Lifefyre definitely helps the comments become more of an ongoing conversation instead of just a hit-and-run commenting sort of thing.

    My questions: do you think building community works the same for a person vs. building one for a brand? I agree with what you said about “stroking egos,” but how does a brand do that without coming off as sort of cheesy? (because to me it’s not as subtle when a brand strokes someone’s ego)

  33. ginidietrich says:

    @captain_diver HAHAHA! Smarty pants! The fact that you’re reading the blog is a call-to-action.

    And thank you…I’m happy to hear (er read?) you’re getting inspiration.

  34. DannyBrown says:

    @ginidietrich@captain_diver Doesn’t that call-to-action come from *outside* the blog, though? So, technically, C_D is correct. 😉

  35. fitzternet says:

    @jackielamp Good point. For a brand to do that effectively, they should probably have a face behind their ego boosting… Or at least a name.

    Of course, that may be perceived as risky and risky is bad. Or so I’ve heard.

  36. DannyBrown says:

    @AlinaKelly Shhh, don’t let @ginidietrich hear you complimenting me in the same sentence as her, you’ll be banned for at least 7 weeks!

  37. fitzternet says:

    @captain_diver I was JUST about to make the same wiseass comment.

  38. DannyBrown says:

    I think the reverse can be true. If you question people’s egos, and deliver the question with solid facts and research as to why their ego is out of check, that can have the same effect as stroking an ego.

    Additionally, people are becoming wary of the posts that list X Amount of Bloggers to Follow, or Y Amount of Twitter Users to Know. Blogs with lists like that especially are often seen as nothing but linkbait.

    While the opposite may be true, and there’s genuine praise within, it can often be seen as the opposite, and put people off.

  39. MARLdblE says:

    Hey Gini, This is really interesting. I think you have a solid point and agree with your perspective – developing an engaged community is all about giving first. That said, I do think blogging to build community vs. blogging to build your business can sometimes present conflicts. For example, when you “stroke the ego of others” for comment it’s likely that you are engaging your peers not your clients. That is great, but it takes time away from revenue generating activities. I think it goes back to your additional points which is to have goals. Why are you blogging? If your primary goal is to build a community then do those things. If it’s to build your business than do that. Yes, sometimes community and customer’s converge (that’s ideal), but a lot of times the people who actually buy from you don’t even understand these deeper principles of building community to begin with. Am I making sense? Loved this post. 🙂

  40. captain_diver says:

    @ginidietrich yeah, I guess that fact that I registered for a name on here (kind of a lame name, will have to rethink that) just to make my post means I heeded the call.

  41. captain_diver says:

    @ginidietrich yeah, I guess that fact that I registered for a name on here (kind of a lame name, will have to rethink that) just to make my post means I heeded the call.

  42. NancyD68 says:

    @KenMueller thought you were here for the cake!

  43. Al Smith says:

    @NancyD68@Shonali@faybiz Now I will be singin THAT song all day. David Bowie. Wow ! Thanks.

    Jean Genie !

  44. Al Smith says:

    Love this Gini. I guess thats what you would call it. stroking their ego. I would rather say, appreciating and supporting good writing. Whatever you call it, It works.

    As long as it is genuine and we are not just blowing smoke, then its a good thing. just to be commenting, so someone will comment on your blog ? don’t seem right to me. But, you gotta start somewhere.

    Thanks for sharing all you have learned and what is working for you. i appreciate it.

    Thanks.

    Al

  45. Brankica says:

    Hey Gini, that is exactly what pushed my blog from a completely new blog to a up and coming one in matter of months. I commented like crazy but not like a lot of people do, for link, it was to meet new people and connect. I am the living proof it works like a charm 🙂

  46. Brankica says:

    @captain_diver@ginidietrich lame? Nothing including diving is lame 😉

  47. Al Smith says:

    @Brankica Thanks Brankica. Exactly. To meet new people and connect. The rest will take care of itself. Glad i just saw this. You are a perfect example of this, too. Thanks again.

    Al

  48. AlinaKelly says:

    @DannyBrown Thanks for the heads up. Would not want to get on the wrong side of @ginidietrich. Seven weeks – HARSH!!

  49. skooloflife says:

    HEy Gini

    Great points. Interesting point you brought up about using LiveFyre. ONe of the things I remember in Seth Godin’s book Tribes is the idea of Tribe Member to Tribe Member communication. I wonder if a commenting platform like Livefyre facilitates more of that. It would be interesting to see the community pre and post Livefyre.

  50. skooloflife says:

    HEy Gini

    Great points. Interesting point you brought up about using LiveFyre. ONe of the things I remember in Seth Godin’s book Tribes is the idea of Tribe Member to Tribe Member communication. I wonder if a commenting platform like Livefyre facilitates more of that. It would be interesting to see the community pre and post Livefyre.

  51. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68 All that image does is make me want to sing the Big Mac song

  52. sydcon_mktg says:

    @ginidietrich OH now…its in my head now “2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese…” Thanks a lot! @NancyD68 LOL!

  53. NancyD68 says:

    @ginidietrich thanks a million lady! 🙂

  54. ginidietrich says:

    @ArveyColumbus@toddschnick I agree with that – it’s what makes a blog. It wouldn’t be any fun to post and not read what everyone has to say. Even when they disagree with me.

  55. ginidietrich says:

    @AlinaKelly Totally agree. Anyone who is disingenuous online, period, will be found out. But, um, it’s not mock competition with danny brown .

  56. ginidietrich says:

    @KDillabough LOL! I’ll take that summary.

  57. ginidietrich says:

    @KDillabough LOL! I’ll take that summary.

  58. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68@KenMueller I thought you were here for the cake, too.

  59. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68@KenMueller I thought you were here for the cake, too.

  60. bergholt says:

    The scarcest ressource out there is attention — and the easiets way to get people’s attention is to show them attention. Old trick — as old as humanity! 🙂

  61. bergholt says:

    The scarcest ressource out there is attention — and the easiets way to get people’s attention is to show them attention. Old trick — as old as humanity! 🙂

  62. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68 Some sick person – you’re commenting AND making zucchini bread. I wish I had that kind of energy when I’m sick.

    I agree – it’s totally fun to see people talking to one another. Sometimes I just read the comments and think, “I have nothing to add, but this is fun!”

  63. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68 Some sick person – you’re commenting AND making zucchini bread. I wish I had that kind of energy when I’m sick.

    I agree – it’s totally fun to see people talking to one another. Sometimes I just read the comments and think, “I have nothing to add, but this is fun!”

  64. ginidietrich says:

    @Al Smith@NancyD68@Shonali@faybiz I thought it was because of the video I did on how to say my name. It’s not?

  65. ginidietrich says:

    @Al Smith@NancyD68@Shonali@faybiz I thought it was because of the video I did on how to say my name. It’s not?

  66. DannyBrown says:

    @ginidietrich@AlinaKelly Well, to be fair, there is some mock competition involved. Gini tries to compete, I like to mock 😉

  67. DannyBrown says:

    @ginidietrich@AlinaKelly Well, to be fair, there is some mock competition involved. Gini tries to compete, I like to mock 😉

  68. ginidietrich says:

    @bergholt Exactly! We all like attention.

  69. ginidietrich says:

    @skooloflife I definitely think it does. We saw a pretty big increase in conversations among readers when we installed it. When it was down with the big Amazon outage a few months ago, the comments to one another slowed down. It was a pretty interesting experiment.

  70. ginidietrich says:

    @Brankica Between that and Twitter, blogging is a whole new world.

  71. ginidietrich says:

    @Al Smith No, I agree. You have to be genuine about it. People will see right through that.

  72. ginidietrich says:

    @MARLdblE Totally makes sense. And I’ve had to remind myself a couple of times in the past few months of our vision and why we’re blogging. But you’ll see a lot of our clients do comment here … and are taken on by some of our competitors. So it all fits together nicely for us.

  73. EmmaofCEM says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe to your secret sauce, Gini. It’s something I definitely am trying to incorporate more into my community cooking, so to speak. (Probably also doesn’t help that I’m a domestic disaster who has actually ruined ramen before. For real.)

    Would you say that community presupposes action, or is it the other way around? That is, is the community out there waiting to be tapped by a blogger’s individual voice, or does she use that voice to create a community where one might not have previously existed?

  74. ginidietrich says:

    @DannyBrown Sure, what I meant by stroking people’s egos is paying attention to what they have to say and providing a perspective, even if it’s an opposite one. And I certainly don’t think posts that list people to follow is the way to do it. For instance, I watched you for about a year on Twitter and was really impressed with the work you did. But I was intimidated as hell to talk to you. I read your blog, but I never commented. Then I decided it was time to get over myself and start commenting. We don’t always agree, but we’ve become friends, have we not?

  75. CristerDelaCruz says:

    I LOVE that little McDonald’s jingle you added at the bottom! Knowing the tune to that and singing along in our heads really dates us, doesn’t it? I’m sure if I sing that to a teenager now, they’d think I was crazy 🙂 Thanks for the flash-back!

  76. ginidietrich says:

    @fitzternet@jackielamp I agree with John. There needs to be a person behind the brand. We were just talking about this in a speaking engagement I did yesterday. A couple of attendees are trying to decide how to create a brand with personality. One of the things I suggested is that they have a weekly post from their top people. For instance, Mondays are chats with the CEO, Tuesdays are chats with a therapist, Wednesdays are marketing chats, etc. Then those people can build the community for each of their areas of expertise.

  77. ginidietrich says:

    @DannyBrown@AlinaKelly LOL! I have one word for you: Scoreboard.

  78. KenMueller says:

    @ginidietrich@NancyD68 well, I WAS, but no one has given me any cake!

  79. ginidietrich says:

    @EmmaofCEM Which begs the question: How does one ruin ramen?

    I think it’s a mixture of both. We all love to read new voices that are different from everyone else. So, while you may be tapping other’s communities, you’re likely also building something that doesn’t already exist.

  80. ginidietrich says:

    @CristerDelaCruz I’ve had it stuck in my head all day.

  81. KenMueller says:

    @ginidietrich@CristerDelaCruz aww. that’s a shame. 867-5309

  82. John_Trader1 says:

    Your community has been a very influential case study on how to effectively build something from scratch, so thanks for adding to the value by sharing some of the secrets of what worked for you. I often wonder across the social media landscape how many people like yourself and folks like Danny Brown, Adam Singer, Christopher Penn, et al have been inspirations for others to become “Innovation Stimulators” and start building their own communities. Is their a study out on the exponential effect of community building leaders influence on others? Maybe that’s too hard to quantify.

  83. NancyD68 says:

    @ginidietrich@Al Smith@Shonali@faybiz *hits head on desk*

  84. NancyD68 says:

    @ginidietrich I made the zucchini bread yesterday when I was not sick. I woke up sick, yet I still come here and bug you! 🙂 That is love right there let me tell you…

  85. NancyD68 says:

    @KenMueller@ginidietrich me neither! I keep waiting for Gini to teach me to bake a cake! There obviously is no cake here. I have bacon over on my blog though…

  86. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68 Ohhhhh. My time is all screwed up. What’s wrong with you?

  87. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68 Ohhhhh. My time is all screwed up. What’s wrong with you?

  88. ginidietrich says:

    @John_Trader1 I don’t know. But if I find something like that, you’ll be the first to know.

  89. ginidietrich says:

    @John_Trader1 I don’t know. But if I find something like that, you’ll be the first to know.

  90. Jk Allen says:

    Hey Gini,

    Blogging communities is such a hot topic these days. Here’s my take…

    I think everything has to do with goals and purpose of the blog.

    And based on the that, I think that’s how we should define our community. At least that’s how I do it. I don’t compare my community with yours or any other blog because we have two different blogging goals and purposes and audience.

    Many of my readers are non-bloggers. Non-bloggers traditionally don’t leave comments…but they do send emails…a lot of them. These days, I get just as many emails as I do comments – which is cool. But this dynamic means that my community will not look like other’s communities online, unless they have a similar situation.

    You have a rockin’ community here, as you know. I love jumping in from time to time as time permits me.

    Take care Gini!

  91. ginidietrich says:

    @Jk Allen I agree … and I get lots of emails, too. I didn’t write this to say we should compare our communities to others. Only to give some secrets on how I’ve built my community, should you want to do the same.

  92. Anthony_Rodriguez says:

    This is spot on. Thanks for the advice. I’ll really be able to use this as I get started in the social media world for my government agency. I think one of the hurdles to this community building as a government professional is all the fear about public records that are created because of social media. Have you come across this and how have you addressed it?

  93. Anthony_Rodriguez says:

    This is spot on. Thanks for the advice. I’ll really be able to use this as I get started in the social media world for my government agency. I think one of the hurdles to this community building as a government professional is all the fear about public records that are created because of social media. Have you come across this and how have you addressed it?

  94. Anthony_Rodriguez says:

    This is spot on. Thanks for the advice. I’ll really be able to use this as I get started in the social media world for my government agency. I think one of the hurdles to this community building as a government professional is all the fear about public records that are created because of social media. Have you come across this and how have you addressed it?

  95. NancyD68 says:

    @ginidietrich I can’t swallow without pain. I need chicken soup. Tea is not working.

  96. Anthony_Rodriguez says:

    This is spot on. Thanks for the advice. I’ll really be able to use this as I get started in the social media world for my government agency. I think one of the hurdles to this community building as a government professional is all the fear about public records that are created because of social media. Have you come across this and how have you addressed it?

  97. @ginidietrich et al: Here’s the rub as I see it – and it’s the white elephant that too many bloggers/online advocates are uncomfortable in addressing: while an engaged community is the ultimate goal, online communities too often become insular ‘circlejerks’ (to use a somewhat racy piece of Reddit vernacular) with high barriers of entry. The contributions of new members trying to inject themselves in the community are often overlooked – or worse, the blog’s comments becomes nothing more than idle chit chat and snark. If that’s the goal, then so be it. But I would much rather see a community genuinely interested in being provocative and insightful with a focused topic on hand.

  98. DannyBrown says:

    @ginidietrich See, that’s crazy to hear – you must have mistaken me for someone who thinks it’s all about the numbers. 😉

    Glad you did, though, be a pretty boring place without you!

  99. Shonali says:

    @Al Smith Yea! My work is done. @NancyD68 @faybiz

  100. DannyBrown says:

    @ginidietrich@AlinaKelly I have two words for you – Hub and Spot 😉

    http://hot100.hubspot.com/

  101. Shonali says:

    @NancyD68 LOL. @ginidietrich Darlin’, it’s one of my favorite David Bowie songs. And just to be clear, I’m not saying you’re anything like his “Jean Genie” – you’re that much of a fave of mine. @Al Smith @faybiz

  102. ginidietrich says:

    @SocialMediaDDS HAHAH! how does that make us pure genius??

  103. ginidietrich says:

    @SocialMediaDDS HAHAH! how does that make us pure genius??

  104. ginidietrich says:

    @DannyBrown No, I didn’t think you thought that at all. I just saw how you interacted with people and it was intimidating to me. I’ve never thought you were conceited or unapproachable. Just wicked smart and I didn’t want to say anything dumb. Turns out the dumb things are the most fun. #poop

  105. ginidietrich says:

    @DannyBrown No, I didn’t think you thought that at all. I just saw how you interacted with people and it was intimidating to me. I’ve never thought you were conceited or unapproachable. Just wicked smart and I didn’t want to say anything dumb. Turns out the dumb things are the most fun. #poop

  106. AlinaKelly says:

    @ginidietrich@DannyBrown And herein lies the power of social media: the ability to find experts and see if they’re people you might potentially work with. Have you ever admired someone’s public persona only to meet them and be disappointed? Or worse, started working with them and found that it just doesn’t…well…work? Ugh.

    Web copy often reads like a brochure and great copy writing can make almost anyone sound appealing. While there are many who claim to be “experts,” twitter and blogs create an opportunity to see people in action and start to get to know what they’re about. I can totally relate to the whole intimidation thing but getting over it is critical to creating relationships – the risk you need to take.

    And like any good relationship (business or personal), a good online community seems to be made up of people you respect, from whom you can learn and with whom you can “click” (pardon the pun). For me, that includes a sense of humour (spelled with a second “u” because I am Canadian).

    a.

    p.s. I have “liked” both your comments, at the risk of banishment.

  107. ginidietrich says:

    @Shonali Hold please. I’m looking up the song now.

  108. jgombita says:

    @jasonkonopinski I saw it and I heart it. But I don’t comment on “gated community” blogs, so give you props on Twitter, instead. Kudos.

  109. jgombita says:

    @jasonkonopinski I saw it and I heart it. But I don’t comment on “gated community” blogs, so give you props on Twitter, instead. Kudos.

  110. ginidietrich says:

    @Shonali Yeah…I’ve never heard that song. But the woman in the video has killer abs. Mr. D would take my pop culture card away right now. Oh wait. Never mind. He never gave it back.

  111. ginidietrich says:

    @Shonali Yeah…I’ve never heard that song. But the woman in the video has killer abs. Mr. D would take my pop culture card away right now. Oh wait. Never mind. He never gave it back.

  112. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68 You need some Chloriseptic.

  113. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68 You need some Chloriseptic.

  114. ginidietrich says:

    @DannyBrown I think that’s only one word.

  115. jasonkonopinski says:

    @jgombita Well, thanks!

  116. ginidietrich says:

    @jasonkonopinski I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m talking about here…and what you’ll see in the Spin Sucks community, which is my lens. I’ve never overlooked the comments of ANY member and never will. That’s what I’m talking about here.

  117. jgombita says:

    @jasonkonopinski you’re welcome. (Checked what commenting platform you used first, before tweeting.)

  118. @ginidietrich Yup, you’re quite good at that and deserve the accolades there. If we’re speaking about online communities as a whole, I’d say we’re somewhat in the minority.

    Relative to Livefyre and similar commenting services, I see them as lowering the barrier of entry overall because it enables a comment to be directed at several people at once and amplifies the reach of the comment into other social spaces. All good for traffic and reputation. 🙂

  119. ginidietrich says:

    @jasonkonopinski I. Agree.

  120. NancyD68 says:

    @ginidietrich@Shonali I KNEW you wouldn’t know that song!

  121. ginidietrich says:

    @Anthony_Rodriguez That’s a tough one because it’s hard to overcome the feeling of loss of control. Are there any examples you can point to where government professionals comment on things on the web outside of work? For instance, sports blogs?

  122. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68@Shonali I grew up in a household where TV and radio were not allowed. So what I know about 80s and 90s pop culture, I’ve learned from Mr. D.

  123. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68@Shonali I grew up in a household where TV and radio were not allowed. So what I know about 80s and 90s pop culture, I’ve learned from Mr. D.

  124. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68@Shonali I grew up in a household where TV and radio were not allowed. So what I know about 80s and 90s pop culture, I’ve learned from Mr. D.

  125. @ginidietrich And this is why we get along so swimmingly! I appreciate that you don’t shy away from controversy and provocative topics (as long as you’ve something worthwhile to contribute).

    My occasional frustration with the ‘big players’ in the social space is that they get too myopic when discussing emerging media or otherwise look at everything through rose-colored glasses. I want to be challenged and called to the carpet with my positions – and I demand that of those with whom I’m connected to across various platforms. We talk about ‘transparency’ and being ‘genuine’ all the time – but it’s not practiced nearly enough for my taste.

  126. BCultureMedia says:

    My company is starting out a blog and everything you said here is going to be something I revert back to on the regular to make sure we accomplish everything we want to through our blog. Thank you thank you thank you for this post. Thank you! (in case you didn’t get it the first 3 times I said it!)

  127. EmmaofCEM says:

    @ginidietrich Oh, it’s pretty easy to do when you’re as big a kitchen klutz as I.

    I cooked it for the right amount of time, and the noodles were still crunchy. I was as baffled as you are.

  128. DannyBrown says:

    @AlinaKelly@ginidietrich Dammit, I wish there was a double like option for the use of the letter “U” – ALL spelling should be this way!!! 🙂

    And yes, Alina, I’ve met a few people offline who I’ve respected the heck out of online, only to find they’re complete asses who know less than my 16 month old son.

    Poopheads, as Gini would probably call them.

  129. DannyBrown says:

    @ginidietrich Depends where you’re from. In Chicago, I’m guessing it’s three words.

  130. lisarobbinyoung says:

    @MamaBritt Thanks sunshine! Hope you’re having a fantastic day.

  131. ginidietrich says:

    @BCultureMedia LOL! You’re welcome, you’re welcome, you’re welcome!

  132. ginidietrich says:

    @BCultureMedia LOL! You’re welcome, you’re welcome, you’re welcome!

  133. ginidietrich says:

    @jasonkonopinski That was the topic of discussion with hackmanj and @DannyBrown on a podcast a couple of weeks ago. I think it’s much better to be challenged and to open your thinking. I believe strongly in attacking ideas (not people) to do just that.

  134. ginidietrich says:

    @EmmaofCEM That’s hilarious!

  135. MSchechter says:

    Think this will be one in what I can only imagine will be a string of “Damn You Dietrich” comments… While I’m certainly not man enough to admit when I am wrong, I am at least smart enough to know when I have to change. A while back I decided not to use superfluous pictures and ask obvious questions. While I stand by the first, I have to admit that the second is keeping me from getting visitors to comment (that or just the fact that the content sucks, but for now let’s assume it is the lack of questions). Think I need to start weaving them in, but try to do a better job coming up with the questions to avoid feeling like I am patronizing the reader (something you do very well, btw. Asking good questions, not patronizing the reader…).

  136. SocialMediaDDS says:

    @ginidietrich //Genius because the answer is so obvious and yet so many don’t get it….You are the Secret Sa… (cont) http://t.co/y4OVTv8

  137. SocialMediaDDS says:

    @ginidietrich //Genius because the answer is so obvious and yet so many don’t get it….You are the Secret Sa… (cont) http://t.co/y4OVTv8

  138. ginidietrich says:

    @MSchechter I only patronize you. When clients begin blogging, we encourage the question asking. But you notice I don’t ask questions much anymore. I tend to present a strong opinion now and let people have their say. Your content definitely is not bad. I have to think about why you’re not getting comments. I’ll be back.

  139. NancyD68 says:

    @MSchechter I think i can help. I am not a great genius, but I almost always end posts with a question. Most people want to give their point of view, if you give them the opportunity to do it.

  140. MSchechter says:

    @ginidietrich That is exactly the tact I’ve tried to take, but you probably already had your readers commenting before you stripped that out. You rock as always and I live to be patronized by you 🙂

  141. ginidietrich says:

    @NancyD68@MSchechter What Nancy suggests is exactly what we have clients do.

  142. MSchechter says:

    @NancyD68 I know and I know it works, I just always feel like I am asking the most obvious question in the world. It might just be my “voice” but it always feels tacked on rather than baked in. Just might need to get better at how I ask.

  143. AlinaKelly says:

    @DannyBrown@ginidietrich As they say – poop happens. But twitter & blogs are a great tool to help cull the poop from the secret sauce.

  144. NancyD68 says:

    @ginidietrich@Shonali I grew up with my brother playing drums in rock bands. I needed to know music to survive. You and Dennis both know very little pop culture. This is hilarious. Maybe I can talk to Mr. D about that stuff when I finally come visit

  145. MSchechter says:

    @DannyBrown@ginidietrich We didn’t mistake you for one, we recognized that you are one 🙂

    Strangely enough, I’ve never been intimidated by you… then again, I’m probably not smart enough to know that I should have been…

  146. MSchechter says:

    @ginidietrich Besides, part of it is probably just patience. I’m still only blogging at this frequency for a few months now and I sucked at it long enough to scare people away. Stupid patience…

  147. NancyD68 says:

    @MSchechter Listen to me, go look at my blog. Look at how I ask questions. Go now and I will wait. Really I mean it. No one that reads my blog has ever said they feel I ask an obvious question.

  148. MSchechter says:

    @NancyD68 God, I hope you don’t think that is what I am saying. I was talking about how it felt in my voice. And yes, they read very naturally in yours.

  149. MSchechter says:

    @NancyD68 God, I hope you don’t think that is what I am saying. I was talking about how it felt in my voice. And yes, they read very naturally in yours.

  150. @ginidietrichhackmanj@DannyBrown I remember that podcast well – I was participating in the chat. 😉

  151. ginidietrich says:

    @SocialMediaDDS Ha! It’s just relationships, you know?

  152. ginidietrich says:

    @LiveUrLove Except there are arguments in the comments. Interesting.

  153. Erin F. says:

    @jasonkonopinski@ginidietrichhackmanj@DannyBrown I, unfortunately, couldn’t listen to the live podcast. I did listen to it later that day, though. It was good stuff.

  154. LiveUrLove says:

    @ginidietrich I will read the comments again, but if I say it is great, it is, what do they know ROFLMAO :)))))

  155. ginidietrich says:

    @LiveUrLove I AGREE

  156. Erin F. says:

    @MSchechter I have the same attitude toward questions. I’m working on improving the call to action bit on my blog, too, but it’s hard. For some reason, it’s easier to implement the call to action on posts I author for other people. I don’t know what causes that particular phenomenon.

  157. DannyBrown says:

    @jasonkonopinski@ginidietrichhackmanj Hey, I got your surname right, if I recall? 🙂

  158. TheJackB says:

    People remember how you make them feel so stroking them isn’t a bad way to go about it. There is something to be said for commenting on other blogs for the sole purpose of helping the score keepers feel like they are being treated fairly.

    Every now and then I receive a comment or email from someone who complains that they visit my blog but I never visit theirs.

    If you blog about blogging it is a guarantee that other bloggers will comment on your posts.

  159. DannyBrown says:

    @TheJackB Mind you, if you get someone that doesn’t know how to stroke, the feeling is anything but good. 😉

  160. @DannyBrown Indeed, you pronounced it perfectly. Not bad for a Scot. 😉 @ginidietrich hackmanj

  161. NancyD68 says:

    @DannyBrown@TheJackB There are some bloggers who don’t even acknowledge commenters. That drives me up a wall. Everyone wants to feel special and nothing does that like a good stroke.

  162. TheJackB says:

    @DannyBrown Aye, I have been the unfortunate recipient once or twice.

  163. MSchechter says:

    @Erin F. It is so much easier on other people’s sites… probably because we know the bio is coming at the end and the question wont be the last impression they are left with…

  164. Anthony_Rodriguez says:

    @ginidietrich Especially when you work with a bunch of lawyers. The worst-case scenario approach is very tiresome to hear when the agency, imo, is a perfect candidate to get its message out most effectively through social media.

    Of course it goes way beyond what people say. How do you demonstrate the worth of doing something like social media when you don’t have an actual product to sell. Education/knowledge is the product in most instances. Can you really effectively measure a constituencies increased knowledge based on what the agency gives out?

  165. Anthony_Rodriguez says:

    @ginidietrich Especially when you work with a bunch of lawyers. The worst-case scenario approach is very tiresome to hear when the agency, imo, is a perfect candidate to get its message out most effectively through social media.

    Of course it goes way beyond what people say. How do you demonstrate the worth of doing something like social media when you don’t have an actual product to sell. Education/knowledge is the product in most instances. Can you really effectively measure a constituencies increased knowledge based on what the agency gives out?

  166. Jk Allen says:

    @ginidietrich I’m with you Gini. Your message was clear. And you have one of the most electrifying communities out there, so I think what you’ve shared is golden. Best to you.

  167. Erin F. says:

    @MSchechter Maybe so. I’m going to blame my academic writing background, though. Questions? In an academic paper? I think not.

    These days, if the question flows naturally within my writing, I include it. If it doesn’t fit, I don’t. I refuse to sacrifice good writing for the sake of asking a question. I’m such a writing snob…

  168. AlinaKelly says:

    @Anthony_Rodriguez@ginidietrich Anthony – I managed a social media for a government client for several years. The main purpose was information sharing. I hear you about the need for lawyers’ (and often layers of) approval. It’s tough. But I agree with you that social media is an ideal medium through which to educate/share knowledge.

    What are you being asked to measure exactly? How was the constituencies’ knowledge being measured before? What were the other tools used to share information/increase knowledge?

    The thing is, people are accessing information in many different ways and unless your constituents all live under rocks, I’m guessing they’re accessing social networks to some extent already.You can always measure increases in traffic (followers, likes etc), but really, for my client, social media was simply one more tool to reach our audiences and remain relevant. Hope that helps.

  169. DannyBrown says:

    @jasonkonopinski@ginidietrichhackmanj I felt I had to rescue Gini’s attempts… 😉

  170. AlinaKelly says:

    @Anthony_Rodriguez@ginidietrich

    Anthony – I managed social media for a government client for several years. The main purpose was information sharing. I hear you about the need for lawyers’ (and often layers of) approval. It’s tough. But I agree with you that social media is an ideal medium through which to educate/share knowledge.

    What are you being asked to measure exactly? How was the constituencies’ knowledge being measured before? What were the other tools used to share information/increase knowledge?

    The thing is, people are accessing information in many different ways and unless your constituents all live under rocks, I’m guessing they’re accessing social networks to some extent already.You can always measure increases in traffic (followers, likes etc), but really, for my client, social media was simply one more tool to reach our audiences and remain relevant. Hope that helps.

  171. DannyBrown says:

    @NancyD68@TheJackB The “best” ones are those who say they’re the most active commenter on their blog. Uh… no, you’re not. 😉

  172. I love this post. Okay, so I love most of your posts. But this one is genius because it is SO simple and yet, apparently, so elusive. Just as there is no secret to the secret sauce recipe ( for heaven’s sake…it’s mayonnaise, ketchup and pickle relish…secret…pffffft) there is no secret to building a community…it IS all about stroking egos. We are, after all, an egotistical being and we work best when we are told how awesome we are. The real secret is in HOW you stroke the ego. And you, my friend, are a genius at knowing just how to get your community all feeling that warm fuzzy @ginidietrich love. You are sincere, conversational and humorous. You make it your job to “know” enough about your community members to keep it personal. You keep your community engaged on the various social media platforms so that the conversations are ongoing and, well, pretty much everywhere. It’s like we are all on the old telephone “party lines” (yes, go ahead, razz me…I just about GAVE away my age 😉 ) In my dental practice I have always (and I mean always) written down something important and personal about each of my patients in my records so that at each visit, I can “wow” them with remembering that their third cousin on their Mother’s side once removed had an appendectomy 12 years ago. But you know what? THEY LOVED THAT I REMEMBERED. and that love turned into loyalty to me and my practice. I really do know the difference between disingenuous ego stroking and genuine ego stroking that stems from gratitude and THAT is what should be strived for. After all, I am SO TOTALLY filled with gratitude when someone comments on my blog or FB page or Twitter that, when I show my appreciation and make them feel good about themselves, I am being very sincere. Most of us are in the customer service business in one way or another and, when I was a 15 year old working at McDonalds (you deserve a break today…and yes…McDonalds DID exist when I was 15) my first boss taught me that the customer is ALWAYS right…and you know what? HE was right!

  173. I love this post. Okay, so I love most of your posts. But this one is genius because it is SO simple and yet, apparently, so elusive. Just as there is no secret to the secret sauce recipe ( for heaven’s sake…it’s mayonnaise, ketchup and pickle relish…secret…pffffft) there is no secret to building a community…it IS all about stroking egos. We are, after all, an egotistical being and we work best when we are told how awesome we are. The real secret is in HOW you stroke the ego. And you, my friend, are a genius at knowing just how to get your community all feeling that warm fuzzy @ginidietrich love. You are sincere, conversational and humorous. You make it your job to “know” enough about your community members to keep it personal. You keep your community engaged on the various social media platforms so that the conversations are ongoing and, well, pretty much everywhere. It’s like we are all on the old telephone “party lines” (yes, go ahead, razz me…I just about GAVE away my age 😉 ) In my dental practice I have always (and I mean always) written down something important and personal about each of my patients in my records so that at each visit, I can “wow” them with remembering that their third cousin on their Mother’s side once removed had an appendectomy 12 years ago. But you know what? THEY LOVED THAT I REMEMBERED. and that love turned into loyalty to me and my practice. I really do know the difference between disingenuous ego stroking and genuine ego stroking that stems from gratitude and THAT is what should be strived for. After all, I am SO TOTALLY filled with gratitude when someone comments on my blog or FB page or Twitter that, when I show my appreciation and make them feel good about themselves, I am being very sincere. Most of us are in the customer service business in one way or another and, when I was a 15 year old working at McDonalds (you deserve a break today…and yes…McDonalds DID exist when I was 15) my first boss taught me that the customer is ALWAYS right…and you know what? HE was right!

  174. NancyD68 says:

    @DannyBrown@TheJackB Hmmm…I wonder who you could possibly be talking about Danny…..

  175. DannyBrown says:

    @NancyD68@TheJackB Beats me… 😉

  176. Erin F. says:

    @SocialMediaDDS@ginidietrich McDonald’s also existed when I was fifteen (heehee), and one of my first “real” jobs was at one. Unfortunately, my McDonald’s experience taught me more about what not to do when it came to treating people right. I emerged relatively unscathed from the experience, though, and earned some wonderful tales to boot.

  177. HowieSPM says:

    I still say it’s Heinz 57!

  178. Erin F. says:

    @HowieSPM It’s all about the marketing. 🙂

  179. Erin F. says:

    @HowieSPM It’s all about the marketing. 🙂

  180. Erin F. says:

    @HowieSPM It’s all about the marketing. 🙂

  181. Anthony_Rodriguez says:

    ,@AlinaKelly Thanks Alina. I am actually right in

    the beginning of this process so I am just anticipating these concerns, rather than them actually being expressed at this point. If it’s OK, I’d like to ask you about this more once I get more into it.

  182. delwilliams says:

    @ginidietrich It’s really not a “secret” what’s in the sauce. It’s mayo, ketchup, relish, etc. (Just teasing you Gini)

  183. HowieSPM says:

    @DannyBrown@NancyD68@TheJackB I come for the @livefyre points myself. I’m closing in on Danny If I over take him by next march I win a Caribbean cruise. So any Blogger, Brand, Relative, Co-Worker etc who strokes my ego with @livefyre points even if they do not like my comments…I completely support that traffic driving community building strategy.

    Most of the blogs I choose to read have certain characteristics: I feel they rank in their segment for smarts and content, they are accessible, and they are genuine, and tactful/gracious even with dissenting opinions. I seriously am amazed at the volume of responses to comments wondering how they can find the time. And if just responding to me directly because the medium allows this with the intent to stroke my ego with some attention I am fine with that to a degree…if you are too fake I would spot it really fast. They you would have to go all Mashable and block me. LOL

  184. AlinaKelly says:

    @Anthony_Rodriguez Please do. Happy to help if I can.

  185. TheJackB says:

    @NancyD68@DannyBrown You are absolutely right. People who don’t acknowledge your comment are making a big mistake. It is similar to ignoring someone who walks into your home.

  186. TheJackB says:

    @HowieSPM@DannyBrown@NancyD68@livefyre Have no fear Howie, they pay me real cash to give your points- or is that pointers. Where is my damn coffee.

  187. hackmanj says:

    @DannyBrown@jasonkonopinski@ginidietrich My pronunciation was the worst. Sorry Jason 🙂

  188. ginidietrich says:

    @TheJackB You seriously have that happen? I’ve had a few people say things like, “I thought you didn’t like me” or “I thought you didn’t like my writing.” Nope. Turns out, I get overly busy, too and blog commenting is usually the first thing to go.

  189. ginidietrich says:

    @MSchechter Yes, I definitely stripped away the questions after I felt like I’d reached a level that I no longer needed to do that. But…maybe it’s not a bad idea to try again. I’ll do it and let’s see what happens.

  190. ginidietrich says:

    @MSchechter Yes, I definitely stripped away the questions after I felt like I’d reached a level that I no longer needed to do that. But…maybe it’s not a bad idea to try again. I’ll do it and let’s see what happens.

  191. ginidietrich says:

    @HowieSPM Ketchup!

  192. ginidietrich says:

    @HowieSPM Ketchup!

  193. ginidietrich says:

    @SocialMediaDDS You know what? They DO love that you remember. That’s all I’m talking about here – pay attention, listen, make note and bring it up in conversation. That’s the secret sauce.

    But I disagree with one thing. The customer is not always right. Our clients are wrong. A lot. But they like that we’re not afraid to tell them so and why.

  194. @ginidietrich@SocialMediaDDS You are right…I get that…in reality the customer is, in fact, not always right. But part of the secret of the secret sauce is getting the customer to see things your way so, in the end, the perception is that they are right. There might be slight differences in our industries…first and foremost I am respectful of every one of my patients, I have generated sincere loyalty, I always listen to them, and then I present options. And I listen again. And if I hear the patient heading for the least favorable option, I create more value for the best option. I don’t ever tell the patient that they are wrong. When I see that they are heading in the wrong direction, I gently take their proverbial hand and help them to see what I am seeing and then…they are right!! 😉 And happy!!

  195. @ginidietrich ooooo….re-reading…I did NOT mean to imply that in your industry that you are not respectful of your clients….I KNOW that you are…I apologize for how that came out…

  196. ginidietrich says:

    @SocialMediaDDS Oh I didn’t take it that way at all! I do it the same way you do, though I’d certainly like to tell some of them they’re wrong sometimes. 🙂

    Totally separate note: I had a client ask me today if I’m on Twitter. When I said yes, he asked me how many followers I have. When I told him, he gasped. I said, “I’m kind of a big deal. You didn’t know that?”

  197. ginidietrich says:

    @SocialMediaDDS Oh I didn’t take it that way at all! I do it the same way you do, though I’d certainly like to tell some of them they’re wrong sometimes. 🙂

    Totally separate note: I had a client ask me today if I’m on Twitter. When I said yes, he asked me how many followers I have. When I told him, he gasped. I said, “I’m kind of a big deal. You didn’t know that?”

  198. ginidietrich says:

    @delwilliams HAHAHA! And it’s sooo good.

  199. @ginidietrich Ha ha …if he has any doubt at all, you should have referred him to this blog….You are more than “kind of” a big deal 😉

  200. @ginidietrich Ha ha …if he has any doubt at all, you should have referred him to this blog….You are more than “kind of” a big deal 😉

  201. @ginidietrich Ha ha …if he has any doubt at all, you should have referred him to this blog….You are more than “kind of” a big deal 😉

  202. NancyD68 says:

    @ginidietrich@TheJackB that happened to you Jack? Really? And I thought I had low-self-esteem…

  203. TheJackB says:

    @ginidietrich There are a lot of scorekeepers out there who spend far too much time trying to keep track who did what, where and when. Childish antics if you ask me, but…

  204. 3HatsComm says:

    @ginidietrich@HowieSPM@Erin F. Thought it was the shoes.

  205. Erin F. says:

    @ginidietrich@SocialMediaDDS Those are some of the words I was trying to find in order to leave a legitimate comment instead of piggybacking off other people’s comments. The words and I are having words today, I’m afraid.

  206. lauraclick says:

    What is that thing my mom always said? People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. (though this probably needs to be attributed to someone).

    Anyway, that point definitely applies here. You’re the queen of community, Gini. Though, there are plenty of others – markwschaefer , @DannyBrown and thesaleslion are all great examples. I’ve actually become friends with people “IRL” that I met through Mark’s blog. Pretty crazy, yet, incredibly awesome. It’s amazing what happens when you build a community. And, you’re a living example of that.

    The only problem is, like you mention in other comments, when you run out of time. Like you, commenting on blogs is the first thing to go when I get super busy. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work!

    Great post!

  207. Erin F. says:

    @3HatsComm@ginidietrich@HowieSPM Well, if we’re leaving McDonald’s, of course it’s the shoes.

  208. 3HatsComm says:

    IIRC I was one of your first regular commenters years ago, it’s been quite a ride. What matters most are the goals, not just for the blog but what the blog does to help meet the business goals (and the last piece of my own marketing puzzle). I don’t know my stats/metrics but know I’ve had an increase in readers (clicks), RTs, some comments and that’s because of one thing: engagement. I think it’s more than the value or wit I try to offer, more than anything else. Be it a comment – sometimes stroking nary an ego – or a clever RT, or a linkback discussing a post, being engaged with others has helped develop a nice community. The pros have outweighed the cons, haven’t had a single felon approach me for biz. FWIW, I second-guess myself on the pun but am leaving it in there. 🙂

  209. delwilliams says:

    @ginidietrich What? ketchup? Uh, nope

  210. delwilliams says:

    @ginidietrich What? ketchup? Uh, nope

  211. @Erin F.@ginidietrich ha ha…I like that…your words and you are having words…boy is THAT the story of my life 😉 Just remember @Erin F. , your piggybacking today will be someone else’s piggybacking off of YOUR comment tomorrow. 😉

  212. NasimKaregar says:

    Yes, you might get traction but are they people in the industry (other bloggers) or are you getting a wider audience?

  213. NasimKaregar says:

    Yes, you might get traction but are they people in the industry (other bloggers) or are you getting a wider audience?

  214. TheJackB says:

    @NancyD68@ginidietrich I have had so many weird notes- I attract that kind of stuff.

  215. DannyBrown says:

    @Erin F.@3HatsComm@ginidietrich@HowieSPM If it’s anything, it’s HP Fruity

  216. DannyBrown says:

    @HowieSPM@NancyD68@TheJackB@livefyre I only liked this comment because you mentioned Mashable and fake in the same sentence. 🙂

  217. DannyBrown says:

    @HowieSPM@NancyD68@TheJackB@livefyre Actually, Howie, I removed the option for points on my blog and our For Bloggers By Bloggers blog, as I didn’t want commenters put off by some regulars with super high scores. For me, every commenter is worth a “Like”, even the dissenters, so having out-of-whack points seemed off-putting. 🙂

  218. HowieSPM says:

    @ginidietrich@NancyD68@MSchechter also using a ton of alliteration and lots of exclamations like OMG! HOLY COW! Freaking AYE! interspersed will get you more comments for sure. Most of them being ‘You Dork’. But it is definitely quantity over quality in my book. It is why I think Skid Row is the best band ever.

  219. HowieSPM says:

    @DannyBrown@NancyD68@TheJackB@livefyre well @jennalanger said she wants back the Livefyre Sticky Note Gift Pack. Only customers who push the points aspect get them. It will be replaced by a box of wheat thins and a cheese in a can.

  220. Erin F. says:

    @DannyBrown That’s a good point. I may have to revisit the Livefyre settings for my blog.

  221. Erin F. says:

    @SocialMediaDDS@ginidietrich I thought I should say something witty if I couldn’t say anything original. 🙂

  222. Erin F. says:

    @SocialMediaDDS@ginidietrich I thought I should say something witty if I couldn’t say anything original. 🙂

  223. Erin F. says:

    @DannyBrown@3HatsComm@ginidietrich@HowieSPM I suppose that is a possibility.

  224. Erin F. says:

    @NasimKaregar I think the growth of an audience has a direct correlation to building a community. Every person who is a part of that community – no matter how new he or she is to it – has a circle of influence. As that person shares content with the people in that circle, those people visit the original source, thereby widening the source’s audience. Those are my initial thoughts; I may have to mull your question some more.

  225. AlinaKelly says:

    @ginidietrich Uh, respectfully, your goal would be what – to do better than almost 200 comments in 12 hours? How will you know if it’s the content or the questions that drive the comments? How will you know if it’s the ketchup, the shoes or the HP Fruity?

  226. MSchechter says:

    I’ll certainly keep you posted on my end as well. What I’d really be curious to know (not that I’d suggest doing it) is how many comments you’d get if you phoned it in. Not all the time, just once. Just to see if people are paying attention 🙂

  227. MSchechter says:

    @HowieSPM@ginidietrich@NancyD68 I’ve tried every three letter combination, even the ones that don’t mean anything…

  228. MSchechter says:

    @HowieSPM@ginidietrich@NancyD68 I’ve tried every three letter combination, even the ones that don’t mean anything…

  229. MSchechter says:

    @HowieSPM@ginidietrich@NancyD68 I’ve tried every three letter combination, even the ones that don’t mean anything…

  230. MSchechter says:

    @Erin F. Yay snobbery!

  231. MSchechter says:

    @Erin F. Yay snobbery!

  232. MSchechter says:

    @Erin F. Yay snobbery!

  233. jennalanger says:

    “But it’s not the end all, be all. It’s only a tool. It’s in how you use it that makes community building successful.” <--- Golden. I feel like we just had this conversation in person when we were sitting in your office. Wait a second...I met you by commenting on this blog, interacting with you and your community, and creating real relationships where we actually meet in person and enjoyed each other's company! That's surely thanks to livefyre and the Interwebs, right? 😉 The Internet gives us the ability to connect far and wide. But it's not about the tools. It's how you use them.

  234. jennalanger says:

    @HowieSPM@DannyBrown@NancyD68@TheJackB@livefyre Can you guys tell @jkretch that I need less work, I’m way behind on my Livefyre points and I need to catch up! 🙂

  235. jkretch says:

    @jennalanger @HowieSPM @DannyBrown @NancyD68 @TheJackB Danny let me know when you’re done with that cloning device of yours so we can have two Jenna’s. One simply isn’t enough anymore!

  236. Thanks Gini! I was just figuring this out (same as you 10 months into my blog) when you posted! Saw it with Twitter. I wasn’t really following back. Ok, was a little but was not really working on or in the blog the past 6-8 weeks. So now that I am back on track I said what the heck, I am going to follow back for awhile and see if I like the other person’s tweets. It is working. As is responding to community comments on posts. I have connected with some great people by STROKING EGOS!

    Ok, ok, ok, I will have to switch to livefyre before that guest posting becomes available… @jennalanger any videos on how to sign up I can insert for my readers?… I am serious most of the comments (aside from johnfalchetto et. al) come from those who are not on the blogosphere and I still think will refrain from commenting but I could be wrong. Will give it a try!

    cheers,Rajka

  237. @ExpatDoctorMom Hi Rajka, signing up is easy, you are prompted by LF and then enter your name and email. No different than WP normal commenting or Disqus.@jennalanger

  238. timsoulo says:

    237 comments?!?!?!? This is truly impressive!!! at the moment I’m using Facebook comments at my blog (http://bloggerjet.com), but something makes me want to change them to Livefyre 🙂 I will study the difference and write a post about it 🙂

  239. Thanks John. Still thinking about those who don’t like to sign up for anything… @John Falchetto @jennalanger

  240. @ExpatDoctorMom Then they probably won’t email you either and are they really your clients?@jennalanger

  241. @ExpatDoctorMom Then they probably won’t email you either and are they really your clients?@jennalanger

  242. ginidietrich says:

    @3HatsComm LOL!! I’m glad you left it in because it left me scratching my head. You have to look at your stats. That’s what partially motivates me. I can tell you what kind of conversion we have on everything we do … and what kind of conversion we expect when Spin Sucks Pro comes back out of private beta. It drives everything.

  243. ginidietrich says:

    @NasimKaregar They’re both. For instance, I spoke to a group on Tuesday and half of them already read the blog. I’d say a quarter of the other half do now, too. And they’re our target customers. Sure, we have other bloggers on here, which I love, and not all of them are our customers. But I’d venture to guess 80 percent of our readers are our prospects.

  244. ginidietrich says:

    @NasimKaregar They’re both. For instance, I spoke to a group on Tuesday and half of them already read the blog. I’d say a quarter of the other half do now, too. And they’re our target customers. Sure, we have other bloggers on here, which I love, and not all of them are our customers. But I’d venture to guess 80 percent of our readers are our prospects.

  245. ginidietrich says:

    @jennalanger It’s FOR SURE about how you use the tools so you can meet awesome people. And meeting you is definitely due to Livefyre, which I’m very, very grateful for.

  246. ginidietrich says:

    @jennalanger It’s FOR SURE about how you use the tools so you can meet awesome people. And meeting you is definitely due to Livefyre, which I’m very, very grateful for.

  247. Shonali says:

    @NancyD68 You were talking to @ginidietrich and not me, right? :p Confession – I wasn’t much of a Bowie fan until I got married. My husband is a HUGE fan – we have an almost wall-length poster of “The Man Who Fell To Earth” (when it was released in France) at home – framed and all. When I went to my first Bowie concert, I screamed like a little girl and J couldn’t stop laughing at me. I mean, the dude is HAWT.

  248. Shonali says:

    @NancyD68 You were talking to @ginidietrich and not me, right? :p Confession – I wasn’t much of a Bowie fan until I got married. My husband is a HUGE fan – we have an almost wall-length poster of “The Man Who Fell To Earth” (when it was released in France) at home – framed and all. When I went to my first Bowie concert, I screamed like a little girl and J couldn’t stop laughing at me. I mean, the dude is HAWT.

  249. ginidietrich says:

    @John Falchetto@ExpatDoctorMom@jennalanger Jenna and I just talked about this the other day. I don’t want people on here who won’t sign up. Sure, they can create a fake account, but at least they’re creating an account. My feeling is that if they’re allowed to guest post, we’ll have a lot more trolls. And THAT is not in our plan.

  250. ginidietrich says:

    @John Falchetto@ExpatDoctorMom@jennalanger Jenna and I just talked about this the other day. I don’t want people on here who won’t sign up. Sure, they can create a fake account, but at least they’re creating an account. My feeling is that if they’re allowed to guest post, we’ll have a lot more trolls. And THAT is not in our plan.

  251. ginidietrich says:

    @timsoulo The only thing I don’t like about Facebook comments is you don’t own them. I’ve tried all of the platforms and keep coming back to Livefyre. I’d love to hear what you think.

  252. landscapeforms says:

    Excellent article. Having just launched a corporate blog these are important reminders of how to build and foster community. Thanks!

  253. ckrohn1 says:

    @DrDNickelson Thanks for the RT! Have a great day.

  254. 3HatsComm says:

    @ginidietrich Thanks to you I get the PostRank emails and I’ve put the GA in the WP dashboard. I do look at the stats, just not daily or as much as I should.

  255. jennalanger says:

    @ginidietrich@timsoulo Hey Tim, let us know if you have any questions about Livefyre, we’re happy to provide any info for your post.

  256. jennalanger says:

    @ginidietrich@John Falchetto@ExpatDoctorMom While I agree with Gini here, we will be adding the guest commenting function soon. As far as videos go, we don’t have any at the moment but we can make some to share soon!

  257. BlkMenUSA says:

    @jasonyormark Hey Jason, love the site…do you follow back?http://t.co/RSl4jdf

  258. […] The Secret Sauce of Online Community Building – I was half-tempted to include Gini Dietrich’s funny piece about Shark Week, but decided to include this instead. Anyway, if you want to build a community around your blog, you’ve got to read this post. Gini is the queen of community and her posts gives you the recipe for her success. It’s so simple, but something that a lot of people miss. […]

  259. timsoulo says:

    @jennalanger wow! cool! 🙂 you can be sure I’ll ask you a few questions for my post as soon as I do a switch 🙂

  260. Ambolino says:

    Trying to build community as we speak! Thanks for the great article, some really hit the nail on the head for me. Like the article on a day in the life of the COO and Creating an editorial calendar, genius!! I had stared my editorial calendar but this took it to a whole new level.

    Thanks to @John Falchetto for introducing me to your blog and to you! Have a wonderful weekend!

  261. […] Dietrich recently argued that blog commenting is part of the secret sauce of online community building and greatly increased traffic to her blog over time. Commenting on other blogs, especially those […]

  262. KieraPedley says:

    You know, this is one of the simplest strategies, but probably the one that rings true the most. You’d do the same in any offline business – you’d network, connect with influencers, gain their trust, stroke their egos. You’d give your customers a reason to buy, and ask for the sale!You’d also ask them to come back!Nice article, some great insights!

  263. janwong says:

    I don’t know about you but I feel that many out there are trying to build their own community simply because they know it works – but they don’t know how. Little do they know that it is the simplest strategy that counts. A vision, a goal and a call-to-action. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  264. Reson8_NZ says:

    I really liked the advice – simple, straightforward and obviously very effective. The striking thing about this post is the clear evidence of community that you find when reading through the comments. I cant help but think that this is greatly facilitated by having livefyre commenting. I’m going to ditch Disqus 🙂

  265. Ambolino says:

    I’m with ya! Going to ditch Disqus and put in livefyre.

  266. Gini, I could not agree more! I blogged for 6 months before I started commenting and sharing on the blogs of others. The pageviews on my own blog skyrocketed. Giving is always the greatest strategy. As I’ve evolved, I’ve realized that I get more pleasure commenting on others’ blogs and talking about the great work others have down than I do expressing my own opinions on my blog. My posts are mostly about others and the recognition goes along way. People simply don’t care about you until you’ve demonstrated that you care about them. Why should they?

  267. […] The Secret Sauce of Online Community Building (spinsucks.com) […]

  268. […] build those communities and extend the reach of our voices, we should look to work with one another – not just during the […]

  269. […] addition, it is a great way to demonstrate your expertise, build your community, and to start developing the trust that is so important to a successful client-advisor […]

  270. […] don’t spring up overnight. One of the reasons I like the Spin Sucks community is because Gini is honest about what it has taken to build it. She’ll tell you that it didn’t happen […]

  271. […] When it comes to choosing your bookmarking sites, it’s worth being careful about it. The best site for you depends on the industry you are trying to reach. Do some due diligence and choose the one that is most relevant for your goals. As in anything you do, there is no gain without pain; using social bookmarking sites requires a certain amount of commitment. Invest the time to interact with other users and provide quality and relevant information; just like you do on your blog and your social networks. […]

  272. […] build those communities and extend the reach of our voices, we should look to work with one another – not just during the […]

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