By Laura Petrolino
Today I’m going to talk about community building, but in order to do so I need to tell you about my cat, George.
You might know a bit about him from his interview here a couple of months ago when he discussed content creation.
Long story short—like most cats—he thinks he is the king of everything and can be a real jerk. He also is incredibly entitled. I always thought entitled cats were the creation of their owners, but no…my cat was simply born entitled.
Unlike normal cats who can stay home alone (and actually enjoy staying home alone) when their owners travel—or perhaps with the daily visit of a cat sitter, my cat needs to go to “cat camp.”
He cannot stay by himself for more than two nights. After that he becomes very destructive and basically says “screw you #^#%%” (but not so politely), and starts knocking things off counters and bookcases and peeing where he should not (which means places other than his kitty litter box).
So long story short, I have to take him to cat camp pretty much whenever I travel. He goes to a fantastic place in a suburb outside Portland named Falmouth Happy Cats.
I love it, he loves it…he doesn’t pee in my house. It’s a win/win/win.
This last trip (which I shall forever refer to as “Escape from Peoria”) I dropped him off and the awesome owner (who really deserves an award for having the patience to not only deal with my entitled cat, but many, many others) told me she was now community building on Facebook and asked me to like the page. And then she gave me this post-it note as a reminder.
Who Is Your Audience?
Lately I’ve been hammering the point home in my posts that voice, content, social media community development (geez, I HAVE been talking about this a lot…I need to step down from my community-building soap box and find a new one to preach from for a while), any strategies or tactics you employ are only good if they are effective for the community you are trying to target.
Without knowing her community or the “personality” her business has, a marketer coming in might scoff at a post-it note Facebook invite.
I mean there are a TON of ways to invite people to your Facebook page that are much more efficient and direct, but none of those ways are superior if they don’t matter to your community (or if they won’t use the “savvy” method to take the desired action).
Remember QR Codes?
Huh? Remember those?
Remember when every marketer thought QR codes were so cool they put them on everything? And I mean EVERYTHING.
I remember being on a hike and going to the posted trail map to see it was not a map at all, but a QR code which got you to an interactive map. Super cool idea….in theory. “Theory” being proved useless when you CAN’T GET ANY INTERNET CONNECTION IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WOODS.
QR code: Fail
Not as obvious of a fail were (and are) the organizations who include them when their target consumer has NO IDEA what they are.
Just because it’s cool…just because it’s new and shiny….doesn’t mean it’s effective.
And don’t get me wrong, QR codes can be super effective, but only if your audience knows what they are and knows how to use them. Otherwise they are crap.
Likewise, a simple post-in note can also be super effective, but only if…..
Successful Community Building: Find Your Post-it Note
You must first find what works for your audience.
Community building and communication strategy development requires you to look at the data you have available, do some small scale market research, and observe, observe, observe.
Who is your target consumer?
Where do they get information?
How technologically savvy are they?
When will you be top-of-mind (and thus when will they be more apt to take your desired action).
Let’s go back to my happy cat post-it note and the typical buyer actions:
- I drop my cat off and am told about the Facebook group.
- I’m handed a reminder post-it note.
- I’m told pictures of my cat will be posted on said Facebook group page.
- I look Falmouth Happy Cats up on my phone and like the page BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE MY CAT.
It’s as simple as that. Desired action completed.
Community building doesn’t always have to be technically advanced. It doesn’t always have to use the top innovation or trending social bling. It really just has to work to motivation your audience to take the desired action.
And sometimes that can be as simple as a post-it note.