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.