Don’t develop a strategy without interacting with your audience. You can should go beyond surveys here. Surveys can yield very useful insights about which audience to target or what tactics might work, but it fails to answer a key question.
How do members feel about the behavior you want them to perform?
Speak to your audience and find out how they feel about the behavior today. This stretches beyond asking them what they do and what they think. It means speaking to members who are performing the behavior and understanding how this behavior makes them feel.
We so rarely consider what we want members to feel about the community and their contributions to it. When we do, we default to positive-sounding emotions (e.g. we want members to feel excited and happy). But what do these emotions mean and are they the best emotions to use?
What Does It Mean To Be Happy?
Imagine a member tells you creating great content makes them ‘happy’. You need to probe beyond this. What does happy mean?
Does it mean they feel respected and valued? Does it mean they feel creative and inspired? You need to identify the very specific emotions you want to amplify. This will take work to interview people about their current attitudes towards the behavior.
The first step is to set up as many interviews as you can with people performing this behavior today (aside, simply setting up interviews helps you build useful relationships that will help later on). You need to push very deep at this level to identify the exact emotions they feel. You need to get really specific answers, otherwise your entire strategy might be based upon the wrong emotion.
For example, if you want people to join the community, ask others how it felt to join the community. If you want people to perform a specific behavior, ask those that perform the behavior how it feels. This works better in a direct call/interview setting than it does via surveys.
Data Should Surprise You
The data here should surprise you. We often find the emotion we thought was driving the behavior is not the one most cited. If your data does not surprise you, you might be biasing the data towards what you expected (or hoped) to find.