Building your community before you need it
We’re honored to welcome Jason Dykstra, AKA @JasonDyk, to SocialNorth. Jason’s the guy you call when you’re knee-deep in conflict. He’s a conflict management specialist, husband, father and all around awesome guy I’m honored to call a friend. This is his story…
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In the beginning, twitter was silly…
Whenever I speak about social media and conflict resolution, I’m always asked how I got introduced to digital networking. Most people figure it’s because I’m younger or that I’m interested in technology, but I actually first found out about Twitter when I was having coffee with my Dad. He told me about this newer site called Twitter and said, “You’ll love it!”
Boy, was he wrong. I signed up, sent a couple of tweets, read about what people were eating and wrote it off as useless. That was January of 2009.
About a year later I moved to Waterloo Region and knew nobody. I launched a business and had zero clients, zero contacts in my new region, and quite frankly, was seriously considering moving back to my hometown because I spent so much time driving back and forth. Like most people, I crave connection with other people and I wasn’t finding it in my new home.
I decided to give Twitter a chance. In my work as a conflict management specialist, I get the pleasure of helping people communicate, resolve disputes and build conflict resilient communities. I figured, if Twitter is just a conversation, I’d be a natural and maybe it could help me find friends in my new home.
Turns out, Twitter is more than just a conversation with people. Getting back on Twitter and giving it another chance turned into the best business and personal decision I’ve made.
It didn’t take long for me to find a community of amazing people (both for my business and personal life). I connected with thought-leaders in my field of dispute resolution, started speaking at events around North America and helped organize Canada’s first-ever 140 Conference – all while drastically growing my business.
How did Twitter change my life?
When I tried Twitter the second time, I decided that I needed guidelines to help me use the tool properly. My guidelines helped me find the people I needed (and wanted) to talk to and form deep and lasting relationships.
Be who you are
I could say be “authentic” or “transparent” but those have become buzz words that are quickly losing their meaning. So I’ll offer you this instead: be your broken self. I’m not perfect, I have a lot of flaws. I also have a lot of good qualities. I’m a work in progress. I’m constantly working on becoming a better father, husband, conflict management specialist and coach.
One common mistake that trips people up online is being something they’re not – adopting an online persona. Feel free to do that if you never want to meet any of your new friends (and possible business connections) in real life.
Service with a smile
This is the biggest secret that I can give you. You actually have to give a care. Most people online have overdeveloped bullshit detectors. If you don’t actually care for the people you’re surround yourself with, you’ll find yourself in a corner alone. Serve your community, improve their lives, create meaningful opportunities for them, give them immense value, ask them questions, and get to know them.
Tune into the details
Make sure you put your listening hat on and I don’t mean just watching the twitter stream. I mean actually listening to people. Remember what I said earlier about people tweeting about what they eat? Now you know where to take them for lunch.
Listen to people, ask them good questions and find out what makes them tick.
People do business with those they know, like and trust
All of this leads to one thing. If you want to do business with someone, it’s up to you to be the person they like, know and trust – it’s your responsibility. When a person is looking for someone to help them with problems in their organization, it’s not up to them to build rapport and trust with me, it’s up to me to show them that I am all of these things.
About Jason Dykstra
Jason Dykstra is the guy you call when you’re knee-deep in conflict. He’s a Conflict Management Specialist who is helping people turn conflict situations into creative solutions. He specializes in relational conflicts and works closely with organizations, churches and families using various tools such as mediation, coaching, group facilitation, and training. If you want more information you can conflict with him over at his Blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook.