Takeaways from a dialogue between community experts
Communities are a foundational part of life, but why does it seem like creating an effective one is daunting? ActionSprout's Founder, Shawn Kemp, and Countable's own CEO, Bart Myers, met to tackle the question. For new community managers or veterans alike, here are their top five takeaways. If you want to watch the full conversation you can see it here.
1. Success comes by mapping to underlying behaviour
At the end of every click, there is a hand, attached to a person, clicking. This human element at the end of every interaction must always be kept in mind. Humans are social and our sociality developed for important reasons.
Let's zoom out for a moment. When civilization first formed communities developed as a means of survival. Amongst other benefits, they were a source of social proof. In a community, for example, you could watch someone else eat berries and learn they were the safe ones. Today the idea remains, but less so with berries, but before buying an expensive product we may look up reviews to ensure it's a worthwhile purchase. Social proof.
Brands use digital community platforms to develop social proof around themselves and their products and services. The element of trust (and FOMO) a community provides is fundamental to how trust has been developed for millennia—stronger than the trust we expect to create through social media campaigns.
2. Don't just ask, give
Marketing today has lost the aspect of involving the community. To hit short-term targets, the savvy marketer has become hyper-focused on extracting as much money as possible from the transactional experience. But the transaction isn't the full image. If you're solely asking customers to interact, create, and buy, you're not selling your brand. The solution? Gift giving.
Gifting is admittedly new for many organizations, but it's part of mapping to human nature. To create a lasting brand-to-customer relationship the brand also needs to provide the customer with something of value.
Businesses, in fact, have more customer-valued resources than they realize. Kemp suggested sharing info. With a secure community platform, a company can share exclusive news, updates, even reports.
3. Communities are the sum of their conversations
Community is newly being recognized as the conversation between people-to-people and people-to-organization. The analogy of hosting a party illustrates how communities are conversations. Kemp explained, "If you have a party and nobody is talking, it's not really a party. If you have a party and everyone's talking, but you're not talking, it's not your party." Actively joining conversations is how you- as a business- accelerate your community.
Kemp continued on to explain that persuasion only happens through conversation. The best conversations for a business are the ones they curate and steer, ones that involve multiple people instead of a single back and forth. Amplify organic and positive interactions by joining in.
Finally, don't forget the power of your readers. Even though they don't interact directly, they are ‘where’ the social proof is realized and persuasion takes place.
4. Everyone Has the Ability to Moderate
One of the most difficult aspects of managing a community is moderating and calibrating sensitivity for those participating. Always inquiring, are they arguing or debating? The former is detrimental, the latter community gold. How to manage the on-the-line cases?
Kemp advised caution with terminating conversations you're uncertain about. Shutting down good debates will kill a community as members will find other places to discuss. Instead, actively foster good conversations through curation and validation. Your community will stay clean and your brand will be strengthened.
Eventually, active community members will become your best moderators. It sounds like magic, but people develop a stake in their communities. Kemp recalled a time in which he witnessed a user attempt to derail a debate between local officials of opposing political parties. Even though the platform was for the Democratic congressperson's campaign, the Republican official was equally eager to get the troll out so the conversation could continue.
Your community's members dislike disruption as much as you do. You'll save moderation time and develop trust when you listen to their opinions.
5. Perfect your Organization's Voice
It's important that customer-to-organization conversations don't feel like talking to a wall. A brand voice gives customers an authentic and empathetic personality to associate with all of your company's communications.
A community platform is a great place to develop this voice with your strongest users. As you share news, respond to comments, and join conversations you'll learn what tone your customers respond to. Hone it.
Catalyze Brand Outcomes with the Power of Many
Communities appear daunting, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Communities are powerful assets for businesses seeking to drive brand advocacy, persuasion, and retention. Consider your community from the human perspective and you're on your way to developing one capable of outcomes you may not think possible. With Countable, implementing a branded community is a fully-serviced process.
Countable's white-label engagement platform integrates social media sharing, so converting users from legacy sites to your own is a breeze. The platform is an enterprise-grade solution through which you can actualize the value of your brand's audience. Book a 30-minute demo with us today to discuss your community goals.
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