Three Powerful Statements To Use In Your Online Community

By Rob Fawkes on 15 Sep 2015

This is a post from the Standing on Giants archive by Hazel Fletcher. Visit our blog page for our latest posts.

“As Community Managers, we are human. We talk to people. We are interested in each other, we share opinions and we listen. But most importantly, we understand each other. As Community Manager , you should move beyond informing and let customers feel part of the communication strategy” 

The Human Touch of Community Managers by Marian Riquelme

A statement is defined by “An overall impression or mood intended to be communicated, especially by means other than words” and the statement you make to your customers is important. You’re running an Online Community which none of your members are forced to stay on and you can increase your churn by not paying attention to what your actions are saying to your members. John Locke said, “I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.” Your statement is what you do. What you chose to spend your time on communicates what is important to you, no matter what you say – which provides a level of difficulty when you’re having an online relationship! Below are three powerful statements and tips on how to genuinely communicate them.

“We Value Your Presence” In the Online Community

In today’s busy world, where the term ‘Flaky Friends’ brings up over 30,000 hits in YouTube, we are feeling more like those around us don’t value spending time with us. This is communicated when you don’t spend time with your members, without posting anything, you can accidentally alienate your community.

Use tips from ‘The powerful benefits of welcoming users to your online community’ by Gabriela Passan and start making people feel valued from the get go by giving a personalised hello. Continue this personalisation throughout their member journey by making sure to invite them to discussions, events and threads you think they’d have an impact in. Everyone likes to be approached for their opinion when they know you came to them specifically.

Looking at the Big Picture your actions can shout ‘we value your presence’ by integrating your community into your digital strategy, proving you want them there for the long run, and that they are important to your business goals.

A third way to say this is by understanding and respecting a member on a bad day. Everyone has those days where we feel agitated and that can manifest as lashing out. Show your member you’re thinking long-term about your relationship together – “think how that person can contribute to the well-being of the community maybe if he or she feels understood and is less upset. Maybe that person is just going through a tough time and he or she had a momentary reaction that can be cured.” (Is Banning the Best Approach?). By not jumping to removing them or telling them off, you are saying you value their presence.

“You Are Making A Difference” In The Online Community

If you go to Google and type in ‘How can I make a’ – the fourth result is a Disney theme tune from Mulan. The third is about finding out how to create a Will, and the second is about making a lot of money. The top result is ‘How can I make a difference’. Over Disney, stability and money – people care about making a difference. Ironically, knowing you’ve made a difference is difficult unless people tell you you’ve made a difference.

Pro-actively give private and public recognition, “This is an amazing way to show how much you appreciate all the effort they put regarding your brand” [1] As you get to know your members, show your appreciation in a way that means something to them. Their favourite chocolate bars, write a poem, record a thank you video. This is actually where Pinterest rocks, there’s plenty of ideas there to give you inspiration.

Address Member concerns and let them know when their feedback has changed something. “This may sound very obvious, but addressing the variety of concerns you see can potentially see on a community can be easily overlooked in your busy workday.” [2] In my current Development role, we post frequent ‘Release Notes’ of what the Company is working on, however these are not meant to be an announcement, it’s a feedback thread allowing members to change what we’re delivering as we’re developing it.user feedback

“You Will Be Remembered” In The Online Community

This is not to say you want to get rid of your members, but instead, it’s them knowing that if they were to stop going to your Community for whatever reason, they’d be remembered for their contribution. As you go through life, you meet new people, get new coworkers and in a community will say Hi to a lot of new members that don’t know what you’ve done in the past. This can get draining if you feel like your past successes end up being forgotten – there’s a reason we build statues to honour remarkable people from history.

A simple way you can do this is by having a ‘Wall of Fame’ or similar in a thread on page in your Community. Something that will stay and document those members where your members did something amazing for the Company. If you really want to amp this up, turn the information into an infographic that goes on your walls at work.

On that wall should go whenever you’ve implemented a Member Idea. If you aren’t already crowdsourcing your Innovation, read this great article on ‘Reasons to Love Ideas Management’. An Ideas Platform empowers your members to change the lives of 100,000s of people that use and will come to join your Company – that is an epic purpose that can’t be ignored and is highly addictive to take part in.

Maybe a simple one, but the best way to remember people is through making brilliant memories. You can do this through bonding with your Community, “Remember birthdays, note interests and plan small delightful surprises the same as you would for any friend or special someone. Start a joint playlist, play games together, share your latest cooking win (/disaster), or post that link of those Official Licensed Chewbacca Fur Crocs you just found online so you can all laugh, choke or buy them…”

Hold an annual Community Member Awards to get people thinking about good deeds, events and great contributions over the year to remember and highlight. There’s a number of ways you can pull this off – tune into the Standing on Giants Blog for future tips on how to do that.

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