Finding early advocates for your community 

By Tobias Bignell on 22 Dec 2022

Finding advocates early can really help to speed up a community’s activity & output, but how do you do that when you’re just starting out?

I look to other places – to sell the community idea to people who are already engaged. Here are some sources of potential members that have worked for me and the teams I work with:

App & product review pages

If a person has taken time to post a review (especially a positive one), they may also be likely to engage within your community..This is especially true if they are contacted about the community project and its purpose before it launches. Make them feel special and reiterate that any such invite is based on the effort they have already made – they’ve earned the opportunity to be involved. 

TrustPilot

Similar to the above. However, reviews on this platform tend to be longer and with greater detail. These customers can also be contacted by an admin. Talk to these members, thank them and encourage them to share more with you via the community if they so wish. 

Don’t forget about the negative reviews though – it’s a great chance to acknowledge an issue (when the feedback is constructive), but also a chance for you to invite a passionate person to your community. In my experience, offering upset members a further chance to have a voice can greatly help the relationship they have with your organisation. 

Social media platforms

A great place to create community awareness is with active members of your social channels. Send a DM to each one and brief them on what you aim to do with the community and why they are an important part of that launch; “You’ve always been fantastic here, I’d really appreciate your help over there for this specific reason.”

People who complete feedback forms

Many organisations have a feedback form or portal. Much like with TrustPilot, contact the passionate reviewers and give them a chance to be an early-adopter based on the effort they have already made. 

Event attendees

Have you hosted any physical events, attended conferences or even hosted online meetups recently? Were there any passionate members there? If they had the passion to attend an event you ran, they will likely want to be an early-adopter in your community too. Side note – online meetups can be a great way to brief early-adopters quickly and to answer any questions they have. 

High-frequency product/service users

Finally, you can (and should) connect with the top users and consumers of your products/services. These people will be passionate about giving feedback, knowledgeable enough to help others and have an active interest in your roadmap. I’ve done this with teams in the past and we’ve been pretty blunt about it; “ You’re one of our top users, so it seemed silly not to invite you in first…”

These are just a few things you can try out and many can be done after you launch,  however,I would always recommend that potential advocates be connected with before launch if possible. It gives them an exclusive experience and ensures you create a really close connection to each one beforehand – giving your new community a lovely foundation to start with.

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