If you want support online, you might want to take the advice of Meghan Murphy, Senior Manager of Community at Twilio.org. Murphy, who spoke at the most recent San Francisco Online Community Meetup, offered advice about building community among developers that can be easily applied to any other types of online communities. So whether you’re looking to grow your social media audience, find funders, or acquire online supporters who will take action offline – keep the following in mind:
- Learn to speak to your audience: Be authentic to begin building loyalty and support. It may be tempting to market an idea of yourself and your organization but once others see through the facade, trust will be broken and you’ll lose support. Be a problem solver and understand that others come to your organization because they are looking for something. Building a community won’t be without it’s growing pains. To that end, know your trolls and understand that direct critique can come from a good place and can be useful for making your services better.
- Build: Creating a community requires finding members. Think outside the marketing box and find members by going where your members are. Trust your community members’ ability and intentions to contribute and give them the tools to succeed. Don’t block your community’s impulse to provide their own contributions so restrain your natural inclination to exercise complete control of all aspects of your community.
- Nurture: Focus on your member and understand why they might have chosen your community. Remember that loyalty goes both ways and don’t take your supporters for granted. Acknowledge them by listening and letting them know you’re listening by letting them know how you’re incorporating their feedback.
- Grow: If you’d like to scale your community, start by building heroes. Empower your community members to do great things and create champions by publicly recognizing them. Empowering and creating champions creates brand ambassadors for your organization.