There's nothing we love more than solutions–top-notch insights from top-of-the-line experts that help solve common marketing problems. Here's this week's expert solution:
EXPERT: Beth Harte, Community Manager, MarketingProfs LLC
PROBLEM: We've built up a really cool online community, but lately, the 'thrill is gone.' How can we get our community members excited and engaged like they once were?
SOLUTION: With some research and a little creativity, there are loads of ways you can keep your online community stimulated and interested, Beth says. She offers five suggestions for us here:
- Become downright precious. Scour your industry, your products or services, even your own expertise, to provide info, resources, ideas, conversation that your community members simply can't find anywhere else. "Time is precious," Beth reminds us. "Make sure what you offer is precious, too, so they'll take the time to stay in touch."
- Get offline. In the Internet Age, Tweet-ups and meet-ups are all the rage. That's because nothing beats a face-to-face encounter. So make sure you get offline occasionally and orchestrate one-to-one face-time with community members, she advises. An added plus: Meeting-up offline enlivens the talk online–and the relationships you'll build in the process will rock!
- Get out of the way. "Let your members decide how they want to use 'their' community," Beth advises. "They might just come up with your best ideas yet."
- Pick their brains. We know that sounds icky, but community members are often experts in their areas, Beth notes. Tap into their expertise! "Let 'em know they're respected for their experience and knowledge," she suggests. "Task them with an industry/product/service challenge, and step back to learn from the ingenious solutions that are suggested." Great stuff.
- Be there. "Don't be a stranger," Beth advises. You'll need to walk that thin line between getting out of the way (see #3) and becoming all too invisible. Here's how to do it: While letting your members mold the conversation, make sure you regularly add your own two-cents-worth in. That way, you'll "make sure you're known as a trusted, active member of the community," Beth concludes, "and you can periodically add new ideas to stir things up and keep folks interested." Problem solved.
Shameless Sales Pitch:
Beth Harte will be moderating Building and Nurturing Your Online Community: An Interactive Q&A with Attendees at the Digital Marketing Mixer in Chicago on October 22.