Building is hard work. Building a house is hard work, building a “do-it-yourself” table from IKEA is hard work, even though they tell you it won’t be, and building a community from the ground up is hard work for a community manager. So once you have invested time and energy, and the structure of your community is built, you must use your newfound leadership position wisely.
In chapter five of Buzzing Communities, Richard Millington explains how to harness the influence of your community. As well, he exposes the powers of persuasion and divides them into three categories.
- Content Creation
A big part of contributing to your community is putting out relevant, timely content. You can send news articles out through email, or create a Google+ page like we do for #CMGRClass. I think it is important to note that every community is different and you must find what makes your community unique, and figure out what makes your audience tick.
Overall, one strategy to encourage engagement and bridge the gap between the community manager and the community is highlighting. “You can highlight trends or opportunities within the community and shine the spotlight on members whose actions merit reward” (77). When you highlight your community it allows the individual members to feel special and gives them an opportunity to be heard. It also encourages them to visit the community every day because members love when content is about themselves.
On campus, one of the organization I am involved in has the motto Live With Purpose. This phrase can be adjusted ever so slightly to fit community management and evolve into Write With Purpose. What this phrase means is to use the insights learned about your community to share information and create content users want to read. Don’t just put content out for the sake of sharing. If you share meaningful content, your users will appreciate it and reciprocate with quality content of their own.
- Administrative Rights
You are probably the admin on all your community’s social network sites, and most if not all community wide emails come from you. Therefore, it is your job to remove people and posts that are not appropriate, or you feel do not positively contribute to the community as a whole. Now, this is a large burden to bear, but it is a necessary one. Communities can easily get off track, or be filled with negativity if somebody is not there to monitor it all. Who would want to consistently visit a community only adds negativity to their life? You must set a standard for how community members will behave, and lead by example. Millington specifically says that, “The biggest influence upon a member’s behavior is the behavior of other members” (80). The community manager can also grant rights to other members that they deem appropriate.
- Access to the Company
As both a part of the community, as well as a part of the company from which the community stems, you’ve essentially “Got the Power.” You’ve always got the inside scoop on breaking news, as well as everything going on inside of the organization. You are the liaison between the company and the community, and the expert on whatever topic your community was built upon.
You also must be passionate about your community. You should be passionate about the topic of your community, but also passionate about talking to people. You should want to help your community members connect, as well as make sure they have a positive experience with your brand. Being passionate about something ensures that you will preform to the best of your abilities.
What do you think about Millington’s categories of persuasion? Do you have anything to add to them? Leave your comments down below!