Getting To Know You – Build Your Community Online and Off
Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you, EVERYBODY! Getting to like you, Getting to ... um ... de-de-da-da *ahem* Soooo…we don’t actually know the lyrics. But feel free to open the video on YouTube and let this jaunty musical number accompany this piece as we explore the best way to build your community. Come Together For your membership site to thrive it’s important to keep your members happy, and generating a positive community spirit can go a long way. While regularly updated content is a must, it’s not the only way to give members bang for their buck. We spoke to a couple of existing SubHub customers for advice on how to build your community effectively. Getting Personal Mark Guthrie is chairman of the Worthing Art Trail and he believes that organising regular meet-ups for subscribers works wonders. When asked the key to keeping members happy, he says: “We run an annual large-scale art exhibition, where every member exhibits/performs their art. We get to know them through the site and email, but mostly through smaller monthly meetings. Plus, there’s a launch party before our big summer event.” Staging real-world activities is a great way of consolidating community spirit fostered online. And don’t think you need to organize a Glastonbury-sized mega festival, sometimes the simplest meet-ups can be the most effective. And remember, even Glasto started small. Make sure it’s easy to get involved in and fun. Mark also adds: “Lots of good, constructive communication is crucial. Always ask for feedback and suggestions from your members. Oh, and be bright and fun to keep them engaged!” Guitar Very Much Stephen Mann runs tutorial website Guitarmann.com. Upon launching three years ago, he set an ambitious goal to respond to every email within 24 hours. He states: “This goes a long way in establishing trust and satisfaction with members. I’m there to help them learn and help them stay excited about learning guitar. It’s my passion, so I love helping people. I’ve found that communicating back to someone does more than answer their question; it shows them that I really care.” Excellent customer service is a surefire way to help retain memberships. Regularly communication is another. The Guitarmann echoes Worthing’s Mark here - highlighting the importance of listening to and acting upon what your community says. “As you listen to feedback, you’ll get to know your subscribers better and what types of content they want.” Feedback can be something as simple as regular emails but it’s worth exploring social media, chat rooms or even live seminars. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think what you’d want. Then do it. As Stephen explains: “I provide a comments section underneath each video post and easy access to contact info. This lets people have immediate feedback. You can also do this through forums and social media. Couple this with great, regular content and, in the words of the Guitarmann himself: “you’ll be on your way to a happy online community!” Great advice, indeed. I wonder if he could turn it into a song?