So you’ve set up the software, built the initial content, and invited your associates to join the community. Now, you’re on tenterhooks waiting for the interactions to start. Does this have a familiar ring to it? Do you remember planning parties, inviting all your friends, decorating the apartment, laying out the snacks and drinks, and waiting for the doorbell to sound?
The Community Manager as party host
As digital engagement expert Venkataraman Ramachandran put it in this excellent article on community, you as the community manager are the party host. It’s up to you to set out the resources, to bring people into the group, to break the ice, and make the crucial introductions.
Building intrinsic motivation
You’re building on the intrinsic motivation that gets people involved in communities. Intrinsic motivation can be long-lasting and self-sustaining, and this is exactly what you want in your fledgling community. However, it’s a slow process, and as community manager you need to foster steady development of interest and show an interest in your members. Of course there is a work element to the community. This is, after all, why you established it in the first place: to achieve your business goals. However, you need to recognise that you’re dealing with independent associates, not employees who will use the community for work and clock off at the end of the day. Am associate chooses to align themselves with your brand or your cause, often dedicating their spare time to volunteering. Surely you owe it to them to bring a more light-hearted and social tone to this community?
Get the party started
So on Hallowe’en, when the world is dressing up in its frightening finery and the party is on, think about how to get the party started in your community. In most time zones, you still have a few hours to ask people to share their plans and their stories, upload their cosplay successes for all to see, and start to see your community as a party they want to attend. Get those pumpkins carved! It’s time to get the party started.