First Steps to Building a Powerfully Engaged Community
You know that having a powerfully engaged community can help your organization flourish and thrive. But where to begin?
Planning pays off when you’re creating a powerfully engaged community. Get started with these 3 steps for building a solid foundation:
Conduct an Internal Audit
It takes a village to build a powerfully engaged community. Identify the people in your organization who will be receptive to this growth initiative and excited to help it move forward.
- Identify an owner: As a first step, identify the one person in your organization who will nurture and support this initiative. Who is the person in your organization that can take on this responsibility?
- Enlist executive enthusiasts: Bigwig approval determines the ultimate success or failure of a community building initiative. Not only do they have power over the purse strings, their participation in the community often improves external stakeholder engagement. Which executives in your organization do you think would be most receptive to this community building initiative?
- Identify and cultivate internal advocates: Through immersion workshops and community brown-bags, educate your internal stakeholders on why this change is necessary and positive. Then, empower participants to advocate for the cause.
Begin Development on a Community-Centric Business Strategy
You want your powerfully engaged community to have a measurable and positive impact on business goals and objectives. To do that you need a strategy to guide the way. A good business strategy is simply a formalized set of decisions: what you’re going to do, why one decision is better than another, where to start, how to gauge success, when to go back to the drawing board…
- Imagine: Imagine you suddenly and magically had a large powerfully engaged community rallied around your organization. This community is made up 100% of your ideal audience members. They’re engaged with your organization, they’re empowered to take action on your behalf, and your message resonates with them deeply.
- What actions would you like to see this community take to help your organization meet its business goals? What issues would community members care about?
- List 3 reasons you think people join and participate in your community. What’s the incentive for them to actively engage?
- What is your community’s unique value proposition?
- Tools: In a perfect world, what kind of tools would you use to build, manage, and nurture your community? Would the community be primarily online, in-person, or a mixture of the two?
- Reverse Engineering: If you haven’t already, do a little reverse engineering of competitors’ communities. Or any community you think is particularly strong or interesting:
- What tools do they use?
- How active is the community?
- Do they do anything you think is particularly effective or innovative?
- Do they do anything you think is counter-productive or outdated?
Establish an External Listening Program
A powerfully engaged community is made up of excited, vibrant people who have rallied together around your organization because it helps them fulfill some unmet need. In order to build the most effective community, you’ve got to be able to answer the basic, ‘who, what, when, where and why’ questions about your ideal community members. You can get a pretty good idea of your ideal community members by listening in on the conversations they have about the problem you solve.
Here are some ideas for getting started.
- Social Media: Conduct a content analysis of your and your direct competitors’ social media presences.
- Support Forums: Take a gander at your and your competitors’ support forums.
- Product Reviews: If your industry supports product reviews, look at those for your own products and those of your competitors.
- Book Reviews: Go to Amazon and read the reviews of books that are relevant to your industry.
Remember, you’re not necessarily trying to build a better product by looking at these reviews and forums. You’re taking a broader view:
- How existing clients conceptualize the problem and particular solutions to the problem.
- How they talk and think about different products, and the organizations that provide those products.
Put One Foot In Front of the Other…
You’re on your way, my friend! If you can do these three things, you’ll be able blow your competition out of the water.
Want some help? Need some additional guidance? Contact Me for next steps and to set up a free consultation.