Alan Belniak, director of social media at PTC and new co-chair of MassTLC's social media cluster, hosted the social media cluster for a discussion on "Creating a Large Community of the Right Followers" on Thursday, February 10th to discuss building a community of the right followers. Christopher Penn, VP of Strategy and Innovation at Blue Sky Factory, as well as co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee weekly marketing podcast, gave a terrific presentation on how to curate a good network or community of the right followers for your business.
A few key takeaways are below and definitely take a look at Christopher's community building flow chart on how to build and maintain a community. Great stuff!
1. Getting started -- have an initial seed group of people -- find people that are influential in their own right and encourage them to join and participate
2. Everything you know about sales and marketing can be used to create a community -- start with outbound -- good old fashioned email to invite them to the community. Then of course, the social mechanism needs to be built in.
3. Invite people like crazy- email, social sharing. Do something within the social network to feed them, provide them content
4. Valuable content is more difficult to create than you think -- a good rule of thumb, if you didn't learn something, it isn't valuable.
5. Provide some type of exclusivity -- it is tough to resist being in the club. You don't want to share everything. One method is you can see all content but to comment, you have to be a member.
6. Authority -- be the authority in something!
7. Be careful with using a public platform to create your community (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc), they can easily be taken away from you. Transition them if possible to your private community but use incentives (not necessarily monetary) to do so and expect that you are going to lose a good percentage in the transition.
Watch for upcoming social media seminars focused on integrating social media tools to meet your business goals.