I can’t take credit for the above title or topic of this post, it is inspired by a recent article I read on FeverBee.com - Identifying and Articulating The Benefit Of The Community.
I’ve been a community builder and manager for a very long time and I have worked on and with many different kinds of communities and unfortunately many of these communities do not stand the test of time. It is easy to set up a community and get lot’s of followers, but how do you retain these members and keep them engaged? This is the question we all want to answer. Believe it or not it is easier answer than you think, it just takes time and patience, which most communities owners unfortunately don’t have.
I say this in all due respect to the brands I have worked with over the years, however so many brands fall into the same trap - we want a million members by the end of the year! Brands are so focused on the BIG number they forget about the value of each one of those members.
I get it, numbers are important to a brands reputation and perception, plus it goes a long way in a board meeting, but is this really how you want to build your community?
The problem is that most brands design communities around a topic of interest. For example, our customers like urban clothes, so let’s build a community around that interest and set up a marketing campaign to get people to join and talk about clothes. This will initially get you lots of signups. However, there is no real added value for joining. This kind of community is passive and does not engage members or ignite any kind or real participation.
Result: you end up with lurkers and high drop off.
Is it not better to build a community that get’s your members to actively participate?
A few points from FeverBee that I think all community builders/managers/owners should live by;
The challenge is to articulate a benefit that both a) aligns with these motivations and b) places the recipient in a participating mindset. This means you will be targeting less people, but you get the ones that participate.
Build your community around the proposition that you, the member, will benefit from joining and participating.
This process takes time, and you need to nurture your community. Listen to your community. Align and re-align your content strategy based on member feedback.
You own this community, so you should know your members better than anyone! If not, do the work to find out: ask questions, poll and survey, address your members fears and concerns, most importantly let the community shape the community!
Recently I re-watched Robots with my son, what a great movie!
For those who have not seen it-
Even in a world populated entirely by mechanical beings Rodney Copperbottom is considered a genius inventor. Rodney dreams of two things, making the world a better place and meeting his idol, the master inventor Bigweld. On his journey he encounters Cappy, a beautiful executive ‘bot with whom Rodney is instantly smitten, the nefarious corporate tyrant Ratchet who locks horns with Rodney, and a group of misfit ‘bots known as the Rusties, led by Fender and Piper Pinwheeler.
Bigweld, the master inventor, is like the start-up guy who succeeded and that everyone wants to be, his tagline in the movie is “Find a need, fill a need”. This is marketing 101, but does it hold true?
I’ve been thinking about how so many start-ups fail from a common mistake, trying to create a need. They develop their ideas on an internal view of what they need. It’s a simple trap and a deadly mistake.
Many modern marketeers (I think you can call them that) believe that this is just a bunch of BS and just because marketing advice is repeated often … doesn’t make it true.
However, I think its alright to find a need and fill it. You can learn a lot from the process of trying to find a need. Filling a need is not just filling the gaps but to provide a solution, a lasting one.
That being said, there is a camp that believes the WANT of a consumer is much greater than the need. The need can invite commodity pricing and eventually lower the overall value of your business.
People will pay a premium price for what they want, just look at the Apple Store.
Should we be looking to find a want? Develop a market and lead a movement?
Let’s discuss this further at ThinkUpMtl :)