Community managers have a responsibility to act as advocate for both the community and brand.
Sometimes we have to be very fierce in our defense of the community in a way that many people don’t understand. I realize we all do this job differently, but I think we’ll also all agree that making the members of our communities jump through a bunch of hoops or do a whole lot of work on our behalf,while getting little or nothing in return, will cause them to question why they follow us in the first place.
Community management is give and take. However, if we’re not careful we can take too much. Here are a few questions to ask before embarking upon any community campaign.
1. How will this benefit our community?
Let’s not pretend every campaign we put forth isn’t to mainly benefit the brand. Usually all roads lead to sales and the people who make up our communities aren’t naive. They know that while we’re putting forth a human effort on Facebook and Twitter, we mainly want them to buy what we’re selling. Still, that doesn’t mean the sale has to be so obvious. Moreover, it doesn’t mean we have to push for the sale at all. Before asking your community to do anything for you, work out what’s in it for them. Asking them to advocate on your behalf or buy your product isn’t enough. Will they save money? Will they receive eternal glory? Will they be left with a sense of accomplishment? Will they learn something? Make it clear in your campaigns that you’re not just out to take from your community. You want to give them something in return.
2. How will our community react?
Campaigns aren’t always well received. Sometimes email campaigns are spammy, or a well intentioned campaign can offend. It’s our jobs as community advocates to know the people we’re pitching to and anticipate their responses. Don’t be afraid to go on record if you feel something won’t work. As the person who is out on the field you know best what your community will take issue with. You should also know them well enough to determine what types of campaigns they’re likely to participate in and where they’ll pass.
3. Can our community afford this?
Though the goal is to make money, the last thing you want to do is price your product for someone else. If your community is made up low income or middle class members, you may want to think twice before introducing an expensive, high end product to them. If anything you would want to look into a tiered approach so different incomes can find the product or service best suiting their needs. It’s ok to only appeal to a certain demographic, but if that’s the case don’t expect them to buy something completely out of their realm.
4. What is the worst-case scenario?
Every situation has a worst case scenario, whether you want or expect that to happen or not. Even though you’re hoping for the best, it’s always good to have a contingency plan in case there’s backlash, a lack of response, or other negativity. Don’t ignore a negative or potentially negative situation – it’s these times that your community wants to hear from you the most.
5.How much work will my community have to do?
Your community wants to support you or else they wouldn’t be following you on Facebook or Twitter. However, if you’re constantly asking them to jump through hoops for you, eventually they’re going to stop feeling the love. Having them fill out multiple forms, do your promotions for you, and constant upselling get old. If your community feels good about you, they’ll buy, but they may not react well to the hard sell or having to go to work for you.
How do you prepare for a community campaign?