Why do you need one? Build trust, which helps build brand recognition, loyalty and affinity Obtain a deeper understanding of your audience’s needs and wants Create personal, one-to-one relationships with potential customers People want and expect it
Your opportunity Build relationships and trust with your target audience They can be your best allies, sharing your information with others who trust them Social media allows them to pass that along to hundreds more people
Goals What do you hope to accomplish? (Think concrete, tangible and quantifiable) How will you measure results against your goals? What benchmarks will define success? Be prepared for these to evolve and change.
A few things that matter … Number/percentage of members who participate regularly How many discussions are started by members Amount of growth that is member- driven Quality of ideas and feedback the community generates
… and not so much Number of members Page views Ad clicks
Have a purpose What matters to the people you’re trying to reach? Find it, don’t force it Build your community around something your target audience cares about
Why people join communities For entertainment or enjoyment To connect with others To fix something To improve themselvesHow can you satisfy one of these desires?
A business-centric approach Restrains communities to benefit your business Puts your interests ahead of your audience’s interests Kills participation and growth If you’re only interested in moving product, an online community won’t work for you.
Complete this sentence: “People will join and participate in my community because ______.” (The more specific, the better)
Identify your community manager(s) If no one is responsible for management, then no one is responsible for a lack of management. Besides, someone has to take on all this work.
Your community manager is: The party host An active and high-profile community member Community advocate Brand evangelist The “voice” of your brand
He or she should be: Friendly Smart Patient Creative Proactive Funny Articulate An excellent writer Knowledgeable about your brand
Research and discover Audience Relevant topics and issues Influencers Technologies and platforms Interests Motivations Personalities
Tools Google Alerts Twitter Search TweetBeep Socialmention Google+ Technorati LinkedIn Answers and Groups WeFollow Google Keywords and Insights
Where is your audience? Social media Blogs Forums Video Photos Review sitesFind them. Follow them. Listen to them.
Listen carefully What topics generate the most discussion? Use this information to shape your messaging strategy
Why listening matters They may be interested in your company, product or industry (your target audience) Helps define and refine your target audience They may not be who you expected
Influencers Recognizable Greater than average reach or impact through word of mouth Their opinions matter to others Engaged in conversations with hundreds or thousands of people
Why do you need influencers? When they talk, people listen They may talk about – or to – you More people will be aware of you More people will join your community
Celebrity not required Industry bloggers Trade publications Local personalities
Identifying influencers Where do you find information that’s relevant to your industry or niche? These are some of your influencers They’re talking to your influencers. They’re talking about your influencers.
Your messaging toolbox Key words Key messages Protocol Engaging Responding Escalating
What is good content? Speaks to audience’s interests Is community driven Fills a need Sparks discussion Establishes you as an expert in your field Positions you as a valuable resource Tells a story
What’s a good content strategy? Focus on the goals of your audience and your company Find a unique angle Don’t try to be everything to everyone Drive traffic to other pages and channels Mix it up Less about you, more about your audience
Ask yourself: What value does this bring to my community? Why would my community members care? What kind of conversation could this generate?
Seed initial content No one wants to be first We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves People don’t come back to an empty party twice
Pre-launch checklist Goals and metrics to measure Purpose Manager Target audience Influencers Relevant topics and issues Messaging strategy/voice Set up social media and other necessary accounts Seed initial content
Launch “Officially” activate channels Reach out to and interact with your target audience and influencers Invite them to join your community
Remember: A polite, effective invitation doesn’t include a sales pitch
Engagement matters Promote community and attract new members Attract people with shared interests Foster honest conversation
Wallflowers need not apply Ask open-ended, thought-provoking questions Conduct polls Offer incentives Join in others’ conversations Become a trusted friend
Responding and interacting Communication is a two-way street People want to know they matter Immediacy is key: respond quickly to complaints, endorsements or any kind of mentions. A response, especially a fast response, will build or strengthen trust
When responding… Be positive Be transparent Be honest Be timely Be helpful When in doubt, revert to real life
Negative feedback Balance between moderating (reactive) and managing (proactive) Often the best course of action is no action Know when (if ever) to delete a post ALWAYS save a screenshot before deleting a post Never get defensive
The hardest word to say If you make a mistake, own up to it Swallow your pride Be helpful Make it right
Trial and error Who your audience is What content resonates with your audience When and how often to share and interact Where your audience hangs out Response time Escalation (as necessary)
Change happens Tools, services and networks are constantly evolving, which means your community will evolve too Expect and be prepared for change, especially community-driven change If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to ask the community what they’d like to see
If you remember nothing else … Be respectful Be genuine Be helpful Step outside your comfort zone Don’t fear funny Take risks (within reason) Give up control Be human
talking about yourselfany preconceived notionswith the changes.