I participate in several discussion groups – Adrian’s Network (a NY based network of business professionals), New York Tech Meetup (17,000 member meetup group of geeks) and a few others.
I recently got an email from Deluxe’s PartnerUp Community that reads:
Over the past few months, we’ve seen a sharp rise in the number of solicitations and self-promotional messages posted on the PartnerUp Community. They’re crowding out the high-quality dialogue with other small business owners and entrepreneurs that have made the PartnerUp Community an invaluable resource for members like you.
Participating in a community is not hard, in fact it’s easy and beneficial. Just like at a real, in person event, LISTEN to the conversation and give appropriate input based on the discussion. Don’t barge in and say “buy from me”. Instead be a resource to those in the community and genuinely help and point the way to resources.
Over time, you’ll be loved and appreciated by the community and they will buy from you.
Give about 80% and “take” as it were 20%. Never sell, always let your brand and discrete signature line in your email message speak for themselves.