How Do You Create a Community Around Your Company? Part Two
Last week we touched on the importance and key elements of developing community around your company. Today, it’s all about the how.
For the foundation of our outline, we’re using the key elements of community presented by psychologists Chavis and McMillian introduced in Part One. These points include membership, influence, integration and fulfillment, and shared emotional connection.
- Build A Space – Obviously, before anything else, you need to establish a setting in which your community will take place. This could simply be a Facebook page, or it could be a more involved blog or portal on your website. The key is to make it easily navigable and inviting.
- Set Up A Mission Statement – What is the purpose of your community? What are you hoping to achieve? How will you go about it? Really spend some time here defining your community’s mission, as this will be the driving force in any forward movement. After you’ve crafted your statement, post it in a visible area. This will keep everyone on the same page. (Note: Don’t make this a generic boilerplate that can be applied to any other community. Make this personal. People will notice if it’s not and be turned off.)
- Offer A Symbol of Belonging – Blue jerseys immediately draw definitive lines between team members and non-team members, unifying even the most unlikely individuals for a common goal. What can you offer your members? Whether it’s a tangible item, like a ball cap or sticker, or a badge someone can post on his blog, find a way to help members recognize themselves as part of your community.
- Find Ways to Influence Your Community – Simply creating a community for a specific goal will not influence your members.You need to put passion behind your mission. Get excited. Share quality content. Create activities that engage and make calls to action.
- Offer Members Influence – Individuals want to know their input matters, especially with respect to a community in which they’re involved. Find ways for your members to influence the group. Ask their advice, ideas, and stories. Give them a space to share. Then let them know you appreciate their participation and value their input—not through lip service, but actual incorporation of their suggestions. Of course, you don’t have to take all of them, but by adopting bits and pieces, your members will feel like you’re listening. And when they feel heard, they’ll be even that more engaged. (You’ll notice this comes up a lot.)
Integration and Fulfillment
Reward—it’s what will keep your members coming back. Luckily, this is pretty easy. Here are a few ways to keep your community happy.
- Give Them What They Want – Find out why your members stick around and make sure they get more of it. Do they love the informative content that makes their life easier? Are your hilarious meme’s the best part of their day? Do they connect with a particular personality or writer? Guaranteed, if you ask, they’d be happy to tell you.
- Peddle Gifts – Everyone loves Santa for a reason—presents make us feel special. Thank your members often with coupons, discounts, freebies, and contests.
- Acknowledge Individuals – Sometimes all it takes to make someone feel valued is to simply recognize him or her. Take time to acknowledge specific individuals, either in private or publically. For example, responding to blog posts is a surefire way to ensure that person comments again.
Shared Emotional Connection
The most important element of your community is invoking a shared emotional connection within your members. If you’ve followed the previous steps, keeping in mind the needs and desires of your members, and done so with passion and transparent motive, this should be a natural result.
Building a community doesn’t have to be an overly complicated process. Nor does it have to be a rigid creation stuck in the foundation of its origins. In fact, over time, a community will adapt and stretch with the thoughts and actions of its members. This is when you know you’ve done it right.
Until next time,
Image source: www.nigeriaphysio.org