Building Online Community 1, 2, 3
Building Online Community 1, 2, three shares how easy it is to morph your online marketing from US and THEM to WE in three easy steps:
- Ask For Help
- Fail In Public
Ask For Help
You would think asking for help is hard to do based on how rare we do it. Asking for help is EASY and SIMPLE. Asking for help needs context, support and a perception of safety. Here are a few tips to create a great ask:
- Intimate About Us Page
- Touch the Universal
- Be Vulnerable
- Include Others
Ask for Help – About Us Pages
Your About Us page is the most relevant page on yours or any website. Your journey formed you, created values, developed a philosophy (of life), and instilled a sense of right and wrong. About Us pages must share those details. Readers, potential customers, and partners want to stare inside your brand, company or personal crucible to know if you, your brand or company is worth a grant of our most valuable non-renewable asset – our time.
Ask for Help – Tap The Universal
Craft a story with enough details recognition sparks. “I know that,” and “I’ve felt that” is the experience your story needs. A collective experience is a good place to find universal values. If your company stumbled, fell and faltered share that experience complete with the humbleness that resulted and your audience will relate, care and have empathy.
All businesses, brands, and enterprise start with love. Someone liked some idea enough to use their most valuable non-renewable asset (time) to create the journey we (you and your readers and customers) now. Great About Us pages such as REI.com, Patagonia, and YellowLeafHammocks.com.
Your customers want to JOIN YOU, so give them universal reasons to do so.
Ask for Help – Be Vulnerable
No one wins all the time. We are made by failure, loss, and struggle. Sharing what made you, your company and brand even if quirky, stupid or annoying are a Critical Success Factor when selling anything online. Your story is uniquely yours and probably only boring to YOU.
When we do something every day for a long time, we often forget the spak, passion, and art of why we began doing it in the first place. Never lose your spark, passion, and art. Sharing love and art require being vulnerable. Your ideas, products and communication may be rejected. No one may care, buy, comment or join.
That’s okay. KEEP AT IT and keep sharing your struggle and asking for help. In 2010 I decided to ride a bicycle across America to raise money and awareness for just how close we are to curing cancer. I bet on the kindness of strangers and was never disappointed.
Ask for Help – Include Others
If you think you are the Marlboro Man out there on a huge billboard by yourself, you are mistaken. No one does ANYTHING alone anymore. The sooner you crush the powerful but apocryphal myth of the line genius the closer you are to developing a team.
A great team is a key to success in today’s crazy, furious and demanding world. Develop an Ambassador Program with published “how to play” rules and an ASK (for help). You need an army of Sherpas to help climb today’s marketing Everest. Don’t let an increase in the number of people reaching the summit fool you – climbing Everest is HARD and can kill you, your brand and company quick.
You, your brand and company are always smarter, more in touch with the zeitgeist and powerful together than alone always and forever.
If your content isn’t a game, one easily played on smartphones, it must become so soon. Smartphones and ubiquitous mobile connection are changing the world in a million ways. Relationship rules. Things happening NOW our friends are already playing is any company, brand or marketer’s best hope for cutting through the web’s growing concrete clutter.
We love playing games. Games are immediate, happening NOW (usually and in some form), and a universal way to create community and connection. We don’t have to speak the same language to play many games. We don’t even have to like each other to love playing, competing and winning.
Gamification, the application of game theory to online communication and marketing, is too complex to explore fully here, but we encourage you to discover the engaging benefits of content gamification. Everything once exciting becomes routine and boring UNLESS the underlying game continues to evolve, inspire and include.
Fail In Public
Failure hurts. We won’t quote the usual, “Failure makes you better,” bromides. Those cliches are true, but online failure is different because it happens in public with no corner to hide in, no escape route available, and no way to duck the punch.
Online failure must be understood, analyzed and moved on almost in real time. TIME is online failure’s true enemy. Time makes a small thing unattended a huge thing. Since online community building and marketing failure is inevitable changing how we think about it is crucial.
Here are our favorite tips for making failure pivot into a helpful thing.
- Don’t feel shame or guilt (you don’t have that kind of TIME online)
- Do feel thankful, generous and kind
- Don’t feel, be or act out of anger (ever)
When someone slaps you, your company or brand online and often on your site (and they will) you MUST walk your talk. Find something being yelled at helped you see and be thankful for your wider more clear vision. After my divorce, I read a great book about Radical Forgiveness.
Online marketing requires a Zen master’s patience, empathy, and understanding with the world and with yourself. You must forgive, learn and queue up to ask for help all over again. By failing in public you share a univesal truth and condition – we all fail and anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something you don’t need to buy…ever.