Rob Cottingham always provides me with food for thought with his cartoons and blog posts, and this one was no different.
When I began blogging, using Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Empire Avenue, the telephone, I always told myself, and others, that the quality of your community is far more important than the size of your community. While truthful, genuinely felt, and said in all sincerity, I do have something I have to share with you.
First though…. Get the kids and the teenagers out of the room….
Alright, get Michael Scott (Steve Carrell from the Office) out of the room too, I see him in the doorway.
Alright, here goes…. Size matters. Size does matter. No snickering in the back of the audience. If we are both able to engage 2 to 3% of our audience to meet our goals, who is going to have the best chance of achieving the goals? Well, simply put, the one with larger audience. While no one would question the wisdom of Seth Godin as he discusses the need for a quality community you must always look to increase overall community size and the overall size of the quality core that makes up your community. Here are a few thoughts on how I approach this challenge.
- Identify the channels that best enable you to meet your goals and that fit within your strategy. Starting with Twitter was a natural for me, an active audience from which to learn,share opinions, and grow. While I have recently established communities on LinkedIn (a group), Facebook (a fan page), and Empire Avenue I started with the channels that best fit my needs.
- Identify the people you want to make part of your community. I have been able to hand-pick many members of my community. In taking the time to set up a relationship, first by listening, second by respectful engagement, you can often build up that quality core base that is critical for your community.
- Provide value. My first goal is to always add value to the community that I am with. No ulterior motives, simply add value. How can you add value to your community?
- Provide great content.
- Make introductions. Enable members of your community to meet other members so that they can benefit from those connections.
- Never seek to be the central part of your community. A community is only as strong as its weakest points, it’s most distant parts. As with a typical organization you should be seeking out the leaders, the influencers, and work with them on the core mission. Let them help you spread the word.
- Keep checking how you are doing against your goals.
- Keep checking in with people in the community. Are you meeting their needs, are they receiving value in return for being a part of your community?
- Be patient. It takes time to grow a strong community.
- Be humble. Remember, you are not the center of the universe.
- Be honest. Made a mistake, own up to it.
While the list could go on and on just remember to have fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re probably doing something wrong.