The words “Digital Body Language” are so intriguing to me! I can’t take credit for them. I recently received an invitation to a webinar that will feature Steve Woods, author of the new book, Digital Body Language: Deciphering Customer Intentions in an Online World. He’s using the terms in terms of marketing concepts, but they brought something else to mind for me.
Community builders are masters at reading digital body language. And it applies to both offline & online interactions. Listening & learning are key concepts. Communicating is important too, but ultimately you need to know the needs of your community first before you can decide how to best respond.
At a workshop long ago I recall the statistic that the largest percentage of our communication is nonverbal. It was like 60 percent or higher. Online we lose all of that. That makes our jobs online all that much more challenging. What levels of increased perception does one need to accurately gauge what those around you want/need?
Here are some tips for overcoming this challenge:
- For trolls in your community, engage them in short conversations. Find out what their real intentions are.
- In the case of recruiting advocates, communicate specific engagement efforts so that they can decide without the influence of their peers. Not everyone will want to engage at a higher level.
- Note trends in your community and how your customer segment(s) interact. Ask them directly what their needs are. Provide polls and offer voting options.
- As you build relationships with team members in your company identify early on what people’s preferences are for communication. It varies greatly from phone, IM, email, etc. Now we’ve added Twitter to the mix and some in my network prefer Facebook messages.
- And the same goes for building your network. Connecting with influencers is easy. Don’t be shy about it. But do pay attention to how they prefer to communicate. My best suggestion is keep it brief & to the point.
- Consider the accepted etiquette for the various forms of communication. I was recently helping someone get started on Skype. For me, I ask permission of the person before Skyping them. That is based on my own reality. I have headphones, so my computer doesn’t make noise when someone is calling me. Hence I won’t realize I missed a call. And also, I could be on another call (whether voip, landline or cell phone).
Maybe it’s because I work remotely that I’m very aware of how important these are. All of you participate in social networking to some extent so share your tips for maximizing communicating online.
(photo courtesy of Kris Kros on flickr)