Building an online community can be incredibly frustrating. Getting people on board with your community is a difficult task, especially when there are no other members. However tedious the process of acquiring members may be, it is well worth it in the end. As Dino Dogan points out in his article, “How To Build a Community of Fanatics,” community members will actually start doing your job for you… for free!
You’re Not a Robot
One huge thing to remember when dealing with the online world: you’re not a robot, and neither are the other members.
“No one wants to interact with a brand, a logo, a picture of your dog, a cartoon, or worse,” Dogan said.
People want to interact with other people. By doing two basic things, you can convince that you do not have robotic arms:
- Use a picture of yourself (a close-up of your face)
- Use your real name.
By adhering to these two simple rules, it will have a subconscious effect on others. It shows that you stand behind your words and actions; you’re not hiding behind a screen name and a puppy dog. You’re Zachary Prutzman, and you have something to say.
… Seriously, Though. You’re Not a Robot.
I don’t think I’ve stressed the whole not-a-robot thing enough. So I’m going to talk about it some more.
When starting a community, you need to reach members on a personal level.
Step 1: Pick up the phone and call a community member. Ask them about themselves and their experience with the company.
Step 2: Invite them to a private Facebook group for your customers.
Step 3: Introduce them to the group and help them get involved in the discussion.
This sounds difficult, I know. But building a community will pay off in the future (keep reading – you’ll understand soon enough). You don’t have to call all your community’s members. Start with one, then the next, then the next. Making a personal connection shows that you value their opinions.
It’s Pay Day
Finally, you’ve escaped the talk of robotics. It’s a relief. But not nearly as big a relief as building a successful community… cause now you can sit back and relax. Have a beer (I recommend having multiple beers, but to each his own).
***Quick side note: The rest of this article is only true if you have built a community of “fanatics.” Members must be active and willing to participate. If you have not reached this point, you need to read some more things on “How to Not Be a Robot.” Sorry.***
So, how will these “fanatics” make your job easier? Well, Dogan points out a variety of reasons:
- Engaged members are the ones that will market for you while you sleep (… robots don’t need sleep. Maybe I should be a robot.).
- They will field technical questions from other members.
- They will fulfill your help-desk tickets.
- They will recruit others to do the same.
- They will do it all for free!
One thing that Dogan stresses is that members must be enthusiastic about your community… and this enthusiasm cannot be bought with money.
… but you could buy a robot. Just saying.