3-Minute WOM Lesson: The rules of thumb of online engagement

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Somewhere online, people are talking about you. It’s happening in blog posts, in community forums, and on Twitter and Facebook. And all of these talkers would love to hear from you — so go ahead, jump in. Just remember these fundamentals when doing it:

1. Never sell
2. Follow the rules
3. Say who you are

1. Never sell

Before you say this rule is “so 2007,” think about how many well-meaning marketers still go into communities with a sales mindset every day. Remember the basics: Be helpful, add to the conversation, and never, ever act salesy. Blowing this basic is the fastest way to turn a positive conversation into a negative one.

2. Follow the rules

Every community is different, and you’ll have much more success if you take the time to familiarize yourself with the house rules before jumping in. How do people typically communicate? How do others introduce themselves? Is it acceptable to bring up your company and if so, when? Remember you’re a guest when commenting in someone else’s forum or on their blog and knowing the rules helps get you welcomed back.

3. Say who you are

Always disclose who you are and who you work for whenever talking about your company or your industry. We recommend these 10 Magic Words: “I work for [company name] and this is my personal opinion.” Done right, disclosure isn’t something that gets in the way, it’s something that adds credibility and builds trust.

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