More than a dozen people I’ve interviewed for the new book mentioned having to protect their community from requests from marketing.
At the same time they want marketing to better support the work they’re doing.
Can you see the problem? If you act like a guardian of your community against your company, you can’t expect much support. But if you look to find ways the company offer things your members want, you start to build useful relationships.
If you want marketing on your side, find how you can support their goals.
The easiest is turning members into advocates. There is plenty that members can do to support marketing goals here:
- Leave positive reviews of your product/services on relevant sites.
- Help recruit/advertise jobs.
- Write testimonials or participate in case studies.
- Drive referrals.
- Create and share content about you (photos on instagram, blog posts, etc…).
- Share news and promotions.
Anything that helps plead the case of your organization to outsiders is advocacy.
But you shouldn’t ask all your members to do one of these. Different objectives work better for different members.
Your objectives might ask your top members to do the most time-consuming tasks, your regulars to take a simple action, and lurkers to do anything that will only take a few clicks.
A real-world example from a friend of a video game series I helped out:
Community Strategy Statement
Goal: Drive huge online buzz for each new release of the game during launch month.
1) Get top members (top 100 participants in the past 6 months) to learn how to create short, slick, videos to share on YouTube, Twitch, and other video channels.
2) Get top members (top 100 participants in the past 6 months) to create popular videos featuring the game upon release.
3) Get regular members (avg. 3 to 10 posts per month) to post positive reviews of the game upon release.
4) Get lurkers/low-activity participants to share promotions on social media.
Each objective naturally led into an emotional strategy.
Top members were perfectly willing to learn how to create short videos when we made it exclusive and hired one of the world’s top short video creators for videos to train them.
Regular members were happy to leave positive reviews simply by being asked nicely and thanked graciously. We sensed they wanted to give back to the game.
Lurkers and low-activity members received points for each promotional item they shared on their social channels which could be exchange for in-game currency.
The key lesson is none of this would have been possible if we had continued to act like guardians and shut down any intrusion into the community. Instead we helped marketing achieve their goals and more importantly perhaps, helped our members get more from the community in return.
Don’t act like a gatekeeper, get involved and figure out solutions.
Remember our Strategic Community Management course begins on October 9th. If you want to stop chasing engagement metrics and start driving valuable results, I hope you will join us: