Community Strategy Insights

The latest insights on community strategy, technology, and value by FeverBee’s founder, Richard Millington

Are You Sweating Hard Enough?

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

Consider this problem from Kevin Hillstrom (read from the bottom up).


The friend solicits the minimal effort for her audience to get the least amount of engagement possible (a glance).

This doesn’t change your behaviour.

You’re not going to see the comedian and buy more lemonade.

You’re probably not going to recommend it to others.

This is just show business…and far too many of us are in show business.

Working In Show Business

Show business is about entertainment. It’s about distracting people and capturing their attention as a story plays out. It’s about doing something new and unique.

Show business is fun and sexy. I can see the appeal.

If you’re coming up with witty tweets, responding to criticism in funny ways, or asking people to tell you what they think about topical issues…you’re working in show business.

There are just three problems with being in show business.

  1. The opportunities for short-term entertainment are infinite and the number of people you can reach are finite.
  2. The competition is ferocious. For every celebrity there are a thousand who didn’t make it.
  3. Even if you succeed once (or twice) you still don’t have a long-term impact. Think about the Ice Bucket Challenge, Red Bull Stratos and the Greatest Job In The World.

Show business is designed to attract the lowest level of contributions for the shortest amount of time. It doesn’t change the behavior of the audience you need to change.

The Engagement-Value Gap (EV-GAP)

There’s a big, big, gap between the things show business metrics and real results. You don’t get results like more advocacy, loyalty, mutual support, collaboration, knowledge sharing by being more entertaining.

You get these results by doing deep engagement work.

At some tragic moment, we saw great engagement efforts were driving a lot of clicks, likes, shares and views.

So we began to optimise our efforts to attract as many clicks, likes, shares, and views as possible.

We optimise this by asking for less and being as entertaining as possible.

The problem of course was these visible engagement metrics were the side effect of achieving the real result.

Think of it like going to the gym.

You notice healthy people at the gym sweat a lot when they exercise.

Inspired by this information, you research how to sweat as much as possible. You turn up the heat, wear more layers, and eat more spicy foods.

Now you can sweat more than ever without even going to the gym…not that it helps you get much fitter.

This is what we’ve done here. We’ve optimised for the side-effect metrics instead of the result we began with in the first place.

The Engagement CAR

Think of a time when you were really engaged in something.

Think about something that changed your behavior, hooked you for a long time, and got you to participate a lot.

You’re probably not thinking about a Buzzfeed article right now.

In fact, I bet you’re thinking of something that:

  • Made you feel stronger, smarter, and quicker.
  • Lets you pursue a passion, be yourself, or explore deeply held values.
  • Creates a stronger sense of social connection and belonging.

How To Drive The CAR

In self-determination theory, this is known as competence, autonomy, or relatedness (CAR).

The key to getting people more engaged is put them on a path that increases their perceived sense of competence, autonomy, and relatedness to one another.

Everything you do to engage people should align with one or more of these.

This is the opposite of visible engagement. Visible engagement is about changing the articles to get more shares, valuable engagement is about making people want to share more articles.

Long Term

The CAR process induces mental, long-term, change. It’s the difference between sharing an article a brand published because it was funny and recommending that brand to others because they help you get better in your field.

Sometimes you can just focus on one.

FitBit tracks your increasing competence.

Health communities let you express yourself freely.

Facebook makes you better connected and increases your sense of belonging. All three are deeply engaging in different ways. All three demand long-term engagement, change behavior, and solicit valuable contributions (not just easy contributions).

If you want to fill the gap between the clicks and valuable engagement, you need to put the audience on one of these 3 paths.

Advanced Engagement Methods

In 4 days, we’re going to begin accepting a group of you to Advanced Engagement Methods.

This is designed solely for those of you working in:

  • Community Management.
  • Social Media.
  • Knowledge Management
  • Internal Collaboration.
  • Association Management.
  • Innovation

We’re going to teach those of you with a lot of engagement experience the methods to increase activity, achieve your big wins from engagement, and participate in a more influential and persuasive way.

We’ve spent the last 18 months creating this course. We’ve gone through over 1000 peer-reviewed journal articles. We’ve examined and deconstructed the success of dozens of engagement efforts. We’ve now interviewed 22+ experts. 

Not For Beginners

This isn’t a course for newcomers. If you don’t know how to get a community running, develop community strategy, or manage a community at a high level, you can learn these skills here.

Advanced Engagement Methods breaks down the deep psychology of engagement into practical building blocks you can use to assemble your future engagement systems.

You’re going to learn new methods of persuading members, approaching your efforts in a methodical, professional, way, and get the results you wanted in the first place.

The course begins on Feb 29, 2016. You can sign up from next week.

More info below:

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