Every good community manager has a growing list of tools and strategies used to grow their community. After you find your community members, how do you make the first contact with them? In this My Community Manager Live Hangout highlight, Garret Button explains that being from the south, he wanted to take a very formal process into introducing himself to new members. What he found is that people didn’t respond well when he was being too formal and he found better success with a bit of direct dialogue.
Tim McDonald recommends developing a relationship with the new member and focus your conversations to be about them, and not you or your products and services. Even if you don’t have much time to build the relationship, never hide what your intentions are. On Twitter, you can see who that person is following, and see if you can make a common connection with someone you both know. If you can afford to do so, and you have the resources, always do your homework, research as much as you can about the person, and make the first conversation about them. Never expect anything in return.
Jenn Emerson says that people want to feel that they are in an intimate situation with you. They don’t want to be treated like just one of the 10,000 members – they want to be treated like they are the only one. If you put your marketing hat on, you can think about who the personas are in your community. Some people want to approach you and some want to be approached. Your content should be your handshake. It is an invitation to talk via blog posts, polls, discussion forums, etc. You start with the invitation to talk with people in your community and then fine tune strategy for each type of persona. It’s different for each one, and you’ll find this out by doing some testing. Make sure to document what you are doing, and the results (follower count, mentions, likes, number of comments, etc). You’ll see the pattern begin as you start trying different things.
When you have a large community, it’s sometimes difficult to be communicating one on one with everyone. My recommendation is to document touch points. This could be something as simple as a spreadsheet. I believe you should focus more of your effort on fanatics. These are people that don’t just love your brand, but they are telling everyone about you. These are the people you want to pay closest attention to, and make them your best friends. No matter who you decide to talk to, treat every single person like they’re the only one. If part of your strategy involves “public” messages, consider how you can craft those messages so that everyone takes it personal. Try to stay away from words like “you guys” and “everybody”. I get some of my best responses from simply saying “Hi there”.
So how about you? How do you approach new community members?