8 Ways to Show Your Community Love

photo credit: flatworldsedge via photopin cc
photo credit: flatworldsedge via photopin cc

As we flip the calendar for the first time in 2013, we start to see the hearts and flowers that accompany February. Whether you are a romantic or a cynic, you can’t avoid the barrage of candy hearts and Valentine’s being thrown at you. This intro is no exception. There is a lot of love talk about there for the next few weeks, but like a day old Walmart rose, the love often fades quickly. But it can’t when you are a community manager.

When you manage a community, large or small, you need to remember to show that community love no matter what date it is on the calendar. Here are 8  ideas to help you aim your Cupid’s Bow.

1. Swag

Who doesn’t love free stuff? T-shirts are always a fan favorite. They can also act as way to turn your community members into brand ambassadors. Ask the people who you give the shirts to, to send in a photo wearing the shirt and create a collection. Having your logo across the chest of all your fans is a great way to get introduced to others. Stickers are another great item to send out to your fans, you’ll see them decorating people’s computers and offices quickly.

Having an event? Create a set of temporary tattoos for your attendees to wear. Showcase the people and have them show off their new ink.

No budget for give-a-ways? Try something free and downloadable. Create a poster, infographic or something fun that your members can print out and use. Hootsuite has an Owly mask that you can print and decorate yourself and they keep a Tumblr page of submitted pics.

2. Get to know them

Take the time to get to know various members of your community, really know them. It would be a Herculean effort to attempt this with a very large audience but you can break it down. Look at the people who communicate with your brand the most. Is there someone who comments, retweets and favorites your Tweets? Do you have a person who is always the first in line to contribute to a conversation on Facebook?

Starting with that group, find out what each one also likes to post about and share. Find a common interest and bring that into your conversations. Do those people have blogs? Go in and comment and contribute to their community. *Remember, even if you are speaking as the CM, you are representing your brand. Keep in voice.*

3. Create Special Content

Make something just for your fans. Bank up some great content and present it to your fans and let them know it is just for them. Put that content into an e-book or a whitepaper. Host a weekly or monthly webinar covering various topics that are important to the members of your community or explaining step-by-step ‘how to’s’.

4. Host an event

Are the members of your community located close? Invite them to an office open house or have a happy hour in your location. Hosting demonstrations or speaking events are also great ways to meet the members of your community and help them out.

5. Deals/Advance notice

Offer your community a special sale or coupon for your product or a service (holiday special, new fan deal or a ‘happy birthday’ offer). Do you own a business that holds sales? Give your social media community an extra day to shop or a better coupon.

6. Ask/Listen to them

People like to know that their opinions matter and they are being listened to. If you are thinking about making a change or adding something new – see what they have to say. Crowdsource your fan base, they can be your most loyal advocates and will appreciate being asked to get involved.

What is it your fans are saying to you online? Are there things people want to see you add to your menu? Do you have a lot of questions about how to do something? Look into what people have to say and not only address it online, actually take the ideas into consideration. Social Media can be considered a giant suggestion box from your online community, see what you can do.

7. Promote them

One of the most important things about social media is to not be “all about me”. The members of your community are a great place to look into curating content. Use great information that they put out. Share blog posts, retweet them, and spread the social media love.

Also promote them individually. Feature a Facebook fan of the week, have a member of the month regularly on your blog, do a Follow Friday mention of people on Twitter. Give other members of the community reasons to get to know one another.

8. Thank Them

This one is one of the most easy to do and so very often forgotten. A simple ‘thank you’ in appreciation goes a long way. Take it one step further and post thank you notes to people (a great visual you can share across all social channels.). Go even further and send them a personal video greeting to thank people. Use your imagination, be unique, show your personality. Just show your thanks.

Whatever you do – just show them that you care.

Those are a few ideas to help you treat your community to twelve months of Valentine’s Day. How do you show your community members love?

Carrie Keenan
Carrie Keenan is a Social Media Community Manager and blogger out of Appleton, WI. I work with both B2B and B2C clients, but I prefer to call them all P2P. I am actively involved in the Wisconsin Irish community as the social media chair for Oshkosh Irish Fest. I’m a proud geek and book nerd, lover of big words, rhyme & alliteration.

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