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Effectively Managing Online Communities With Heart & Soul

By Maria Twigge

Heart of Daisies Representative of Community

Market research is in the midst of it. What started as buzz words is now part of our daily lives - from online research to communities, panels, data mining and social media. I've noticed more and more infographics, tweets, blog posts and 'tips & tricks' sections that look at how we can engage participants, how we communicate, how we create fans or even so-called superpromoters; and even how we can do so without investing much time and/or thinking.

Is the Advice Wrong?

Don't get me wrong. I value social media and online research for the strong tools they have given us to do better research and to do research differently, be creative and do the best research we can - in the interest of good market research overall, our clients, as well as consumers and participants.

And yes, engaging and communicating with our participants is important and shouldn't be underestimated. But where have we left the heart and soul in doing so? Following instructions, advice and percentages on 1-page infographics and blog posts is not what our profession is about.

Developing Strong Community Engagement

True engagement and communication can only develop and grow if you put your heart and soul into it. If you are a community manager and responsible for your members to participate and feel engaged and valued then it is simply not good enough to be typing a quick question off the cuff. You need to truly engage, think, observe, feel and act accordingly.

Yes, one needs to communicate instead of publish. Listening and understanding is a big part of communication. And by just delivering content to different channels one can't listen... Not even the best tip in the world will do the trick if, in the end, you don't care enough to invest the time, thought and heart. Engagement and activity need honest and true communication and dedication. It's what we owe to our participants and ourselves as market researchers.

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Maria Twigge

Maria Twigge- Research Director

Personal Bio: Maria has worked with FlexMR for over 7 years, applying psychological patterns to online research. She has previously delivered insights for ITV, John Lewis and more.
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