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How To ‘Borrow’ Members From Rival Online Communities

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

Because stealing isn’t very nice.

Competitors have done the hard work for you. They’ve educated members about
the tools and benefits of joining online communities. Targeting competitors is a
speedy way to grow your community.

Here’s a few tips and tricks:

  • Write About Rival Communities. If you talk about a major
    event, key members or debates taking place at rival communities – people will
    want to know what you’re saying. Ask them or their expert opinions.
  • Start A Cause/Attack A Common Enemy. Find something you and
    your rivals believe in, and lead the charge. A common enemy helps too. Become
    the unifying tip of the sword.
  • Be A Big Participator. Spend a lot of time participating in
    the sites of rival communities. You’ll make lots of friends, stay close to the
    issue that matter and be the hub of the eco-system.
  • Or Send Your Members To Participate, Often. Send your
    members to participate in relevant issues. They carry the debates and more
    members back with them.
  • Interview The Founder. You interview them, they promote it
    on their community, it builds a relationship and sends traffic your way.
  • Message Conversation Starters. Who starts the most debated
    conversations? Why not message them and see if they will start the same on your
    community too? Add another perspective.
  • Challenge Them To A Competition. Competitions work.
  • Headhunt Big Influencers. People love being headhunted.
    Make the big influencers as rival communities an offer they can’t refuse. Maybe
    as head forum moderator? Chief Columnist?
  • Focus On One Important Issue. Pick an important topical
    issue on one community, and develop content, debates and actions around it.
  • Form Alliances.  Not quite as successful as enemies, but
    having alliances with communities in similar fields can work. It has to be
    related but not directly head-to-head. Cover the same issues from time to time.
  • Secure Exclusives. Like being in the publishing industry,
    secure exclusives that your competition can’t match. It helps if your client can
    offer something. Maybe a sneak preview of new products or live chats with the CEO?
  • Special Offers To Certain Members. Anyone joins this week
    from [rival community] will be sent a free, relevant, ebook, or gain special
    bonus points. One week only.
  • Votes/Polls. Rank the top ten communities for your
  • Sub-Groups Of Members. Start a sub-group in your community
    for members from your rival community. [Rival community] expats group. Put a big
    influencer in charge.

Don’t be surprised if your competitors start copying your ideas. You just
have to work harder.

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