Get in the Community Game: 13 Key Components You Need, Part 2

Last blog, we took you through the first 4 key components to creating a great community to recruit, nurture and convert your customers – all with a game day twist.

Let’s move on down the field with the next 5:

5. Home Crowd

If you could illustrate a marketer’s dream of a loyal customer, you’d get something similar to a home crowd sporting their teams’ favorite colors and chanting the fight song in unison. Imagine your customers wearing your logo around town, seeking out other customers and engaging in conversation about your products and services. A fan’s love of the game and their team creates this instant bond with their fellow fans, providing easy opportunities to create conversation based on like-interests.

Create those same opportunities digitally with forums and comment functionalities. Enable users to discuss the content you provide, offer their opinions and offer thoughts on others’ opinions. Don’t just let it happen without you – join in! This provides you with the opportunity to talk directly to your leads and to learn what most excites them. And then listen. Host polls to gather user insights and create word clouds and conduct analyses to identify key trends in conversation and let that information guide your content marketing strategy. Best of all, by getting your users to deliver their own stories, you’re getting more content at no cost that you can plug back into your content marketing strategies.

6. Game

The main attraction—the game itself—is what ultimately draws people to the stadium. Make sure you have a core group of content to keep your community fresh and all of your users entertained. What this looks like is up to you and your brand mission, but articles and videos are a great place to start. Here are some content types for you to consider:

  • Proprietary Content: Conduct a search within your own organization to identify any un-utilized content that would be a good fit. Then, meet with coworkers to determine if it’s plausible for employees, particularly executive-level, to create content on an ongoing basis. This will be your most expensive and staff-intensive content source, but will provide you the most credibility.
  • Ghostwritten Content: Content providers come in all shapes and sizes – from dedicated copywriters to one-off contractors. With a strong brief and clear brand guidelines, you can ensure you have inexpensive new content on an ongoing basis. Best of all, no one is the wiser that this wasn’t your own company’s proprietary content.
  • Syndicated Content: Many online publications allow you to feature a feed or license their content for a fee. This content often expires after a year or the contract expiration date, but can be a less expensive way to obtain high-quality content. Often, you cannot alter any materials and are required to feature the third-party’s branding, reducing your flexibility.

Sourcing your content with a mix of the above enables you to feature a strong core roster, while still keeping the site fresh with your team on the bench – all at a reasonable cost.

7. All Star Player

Every team needs an all star player – if not to rack up points, then to get the fans out to the games and sell merchandise. Every community needs one as well – something to get users excited, keep users on-site and give them a reason to come back. We have a sophisticated word for a feature like this: Sticky. Stick content means that it’s highly engaging, well-liked by users and has a large amount of return visits – often directly to the URL where it’s featured. These are often tools, widgets or even games. We’ve found that many of our sticky features have the following:

  • Fun: No one likes all work and no play. Make reading and engaging fun with a playful twist.
  • Variation: Getting the same outcome every time won’t get someone to come back. Make sure there’s a new (even slightly) experience each time.
  • Outcome: It should be very clear to the user “what’s in it for me.”

Finding the right sticky attraction starts with a creative brainstorming session, an assessment of resources, testing and possibly an initial up-front development cost, but it will have a high pay-off.

8. Mascot

Whether it’s the Phillie Phanatic, the Denver Nugget’s Rocky, or University of Maryland’s Testudo, a great mascot can go a long way. They can make people laugh, get them up out of their seats and dancing or start a stadium-wide wave. Just one person in a costume can tug on heartstrings and get people engaged. Create your own mascot by instituting a simple, easy-to-use widget or tool that generates a personalized user experience for your members through dynamic content. We’ve found that tools like this can help increase average site engagement by over 5 times.

Quizzes are a great place to start. Create a few simple questions with a logical algorithm and provide users with an outcome that tells them about themselves or their company. But don’t stop there – use that information to insert information about your company and recommend content that is related to their results. As long as your recommendations are relevant, this personalized experience will create an instant connection between you and your user. Remember, your community is also meant to gather prospect data, and any tool like this is a great opportunity to learn more about your leads on a user and aggregate level.

9. Crowd Camera

The Kiss Cam, Dance Competitions, Fan of the Game – a simple 3-second feature on the big screen can make a fan’s day. This personalization can create a memorable experience and a loyal fan. Recreate this digitally by creating recognition opportunities for your loyal community members that will earn them a little fame and a bit of pride, and you a high-value engager. The pay-off doesn’t stop there. This type of recognition, while experienced first-hand by the featured user, has a secondhand effect on your other members as they also see evidence of your brand’s goodwill and recognition policies. Maybe they will even increase their involvement to strive for the same recognition. Who doesn’t like a little friendly competition?

Examples of member recognition could be: articles written about contest winners, members of the week, promoted video submissions and highlighting frequent posters. Recognized users will want to share with friends and family – so make sure you enable them to do so with easy and personalized social sharing mechanisms.

We’re hitting the home stretch. Leave any questions below and we’ll touch on them in the final components of the series.

Want to learn more about online community strategies. Download the Ultimate Guide to the New Buyer’s Journey Whitepaper!