A few lessons from this audio program
If your business has a community then it has an army of supporters who will help you grow the company.
I asked Mateo Gutierrez to teach us how to build online communities because he’s had a decade of community building. Currently, he’s the director of social marketing at ThisNext, a social shopping site.
Here’s some of what he taught in our interview. (Download the full interview to hear MUCH more.)
Your influentials are the users who are going out of their way to contact each other. Identify them because they’re the ones who are going to help you grow your community.
Find a way to give your influentials a way to stand out. When he built communities in online games, Mateo gave influentials’ online characters with special outfits. Other ways to do this is to give them titles or special placement on your web site.
Give them power
Your goal is to empower your influencials to cultivate your community. Sites like aSmallWorld give their some users the power to invite new members into their exclusive communities. Other sites give influencials the power to remove or ban members.
Yelp famously rewarded its top users with access to exclusive parties. Other ways to reward influencials is by helping to build their careers or reputations.
People want to see how they rank, Mateo told me. In its early days, MySpace’s users famously recruited people to join the site because they wanted to have a large number of friends. Online message boards often encourage participation, by showing the number of messages each user posted. Find a metric that’s relevant to your community’s members, make it visible, create a leader board and watch as your users work to grow their numbers.
Do you have any other suggestions for growing a community? Tell me by email or in the comments.