I was glancing over the book Trust Agents again this week, and I came across this passage that really resonates with me.
From page 95: The Power of Taking First Action:
“Humans understand how favors work. Doing and trading favors is woven into the fabric of our culture. When people are the recipients of a favor, it’s in their nature to want to pay it back.
Doing nice things does make people feel good, but there’s neurology behind it too. We want to pay people back because it is in the nature of a community to do so; it keeps communities strong and protected against the outside world.”
This sentiment couldn’t be more true and is one of my secret weapons when it comes to building community. Taking first action and earning goodwill is one of the best ways of creating the relationships that develop into a loyal and active userbase.
Here are some suggested ways you can take first action with your community members:
- Send an email noting an accomplishment (a year of membership, 100th post etc.)
- Comment on a members personal blog
- Bookmark and review a members content on stumbleupon & delicious
- Public appreciation (helpful employees at company meeting, Follow Friday on Twitter, User Interview in newsletter)
- Provide a linkedin recommendation to a client or coworker that has helped your community succeed
- Send an old fashion hand written note to a member
- Give a gift to the 100th,1000th, or 10,000th user
- Privately ask one of your active users for their opinion on a pending decision
- Send a quick private message when you see users making a strong contributions
- Send a personal welcome message to a new user and (using their profile info) connect them with another community member who has relevant expertise and/or interests
- And many more… (would love to hear some of your additional suggestions in the comments)
If you’d like to learn more about this and other community engagment techniques - Please join me on 9/15 as I present the online seminar Strengthening Online Communities Through Improved User Engagement.