Community management is great, and I love solid community strategies, but sometimes you just want to hear the specifics of what people did. The nuts and bolts, the nitty-gritty details.
So in the spirit of learning something valuable, here's how we kick-started our initial community of community managers. It ain’t perfect, but it’s something, and I hope these specific tactics and details will help you get started with early conversations, new ways to connect members with each other, and how to actually go from zero to one. Here, my goal is to share ideas for initiatives that can help you with your day-to-day management of your community.
Start by building relationships: The Golden Rule
Don’t get too busy talking to a member. Rather talk with a member.
In the early days, there is a chance that you would get super excited, and excessively start promoting your community. Sometimes, this translates into bombarding your community members with messages that don’t resonate with them. Avoid doing this. If you do this, it means that you do not genuinely care about your community members. Even we learned this the hard way.
Once someone has joined your community, the question becomes how to keep that person engaged. Focusing exclusively on acquiring new members prevents you from attracting existing members. Therefore, keeping the conversation flowing with existing members is essential. And when it comes to community relationships, keep in mind that it’s always about your members.
In an ideal world, not only are the brands engaging with the customer but the customers are also engaging with each other, thus creating the sense of community we all desire. And this what our ultimate goal should be, right from the start.
We recently wrote an in-depth article about understanding your members and why it’s important to build relationships with your members while you’re building a community from the scratch. You might want to check it out!
Seeding conversation doesn’t mean shamelessly promoting your community efforts and expecting people to share your content. Rather, it means focusing on the topics of interest to your members and finding ways to integrate your own community into that conversation. This takes knowing what people are talking about and being in touch with these discussions. Often, the trick here is to nudge members into sharing your content, without actually instructing them to do so.
Listen to your members and do basic engagement
Not only were we getting our community off the ground, but we were also trying to listen to our members as much as possible. And we didn’t have much to show either, except for a handful of engaged early adopters.
So, we decided to indulge in basic engagement by posting relevant content and replying to interesting posts. Your community won’t get you very far if your content isn’t relevant to your members. Imagine you’re running a small chocolate brand. You may have a group of superfans who absolutely love your brand and would love to be affiliated with it. They post pictures eating your chocolates, for example, and regularly reply to your tweets. In many ways, they think of the brand almost as a friend. By not engaging with them, you’re missing numerous opportunities to build those relationships and to inspire people to spend more on your brand.
We truly believe that word of mouth is one of the best marketing tools out there. It worked us pretty well. When a community advocate in the digital space gives a genuine and authentic review of your community/product, that review serves as a type of word-of-mouth sharing that can help significantly grow your community.
Reward your community members
If I’ve learned one thing from my experience of building community, it’s that people love a good deal or an opportunity to win something. These promotions provide a great way to create engagement and keep members excited about what you’re doing.
The idea here shouldn’t always be to pick someone at random in your community. A better idea is to track down the members who really have helped your community grow—the early adopters, the brand ambassadors, and the influencers—and seek to reward them for their contributions. These are your most invested members, and neglecting them represents a missed opportunity. As a group, these are the people who are most likely to let you know when something goes right, and when it goes wrong - offering incredible value to your community. You can engage with these people to show appreciation.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do when it comes to handling the daily execution of a community! But with the right processes in place and a strong foundation on which to build, the day-to-day community management efforts can become increasingly seamless over time. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to optimize your processes, and the day-to-day community efforts will begin to fluidly integrate into your larger plan.
How does your day-to-day management in a community look like? Add your thoughts in the comment section. Or reply to this email. We’d love to hear from you. If you liked what you read, please share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter - wherever you love to spend most of your time spreading knowledge!