This is Day 24 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Mike Matchett’s post yesterday on a Heifer International community that was built on loyalty in Nepal was so incredibly moving. I was honored just to read it. We’re shifting gears today with the illustrious Liz Strauss who is giving us 12 practical, do-them-now ways to connect with a fiercely loyal community. And yes, I said do them now.
12 Ways to Connect With a Community of Fiercely Loyal Fans
By: Liz Strauss| @LizStrauss
Ever been to a great restaurant or hotel where the mood is right; the service is grand; and every perfectly suits you? When you look around don’t you start thinking about when you’ll be back even before you’ve gone? That club or restaurant has made decisions that show they know who you are and that they share your values. How do they connect with you so well that you recognize them immediately? What makes you want to come back and bring your friends?
The businesses we love offer us an immediate sense of connection. Whether our dearest quest is about is about having fun, learning, meeting new people, getting work done, or making millions, people and places that understand our quest win our loyalty. They value us and our quest. They attract and introduce us to others who share the same loyalty. They are a community. We become fiercely loyal fans.
How do we build a community that inspires loyalty like that?
A community of fiercely loyal fans isn’t built. It offers space for a community to create itself. Loyalty like that comes by allowing people to bring who are and participate. Here are 12 ways to connect with a community of fiercely loyal fans.
- Be a person (or people) who likes people. People work with, talk with, and relate to other people not a business.
- Articulate a clear and passionate vision worth investing in. Live your commitment. Get your hands dirty.
- Seek out people who would love what you’re doing. Find them where they are already gathering and talking. Join THEIR conversations. Get to know them.
- Be a beginner, but keep the vision. Learn from everyone who’s been anywhere near where you’re going. Learn to sort wrong from unexpected or different. Ideas that jar you could be the best ones.
- Invite everyone who “gets” the vision to help build this new thing. Look for ways to include their skills and their passions.
- Keep participation efficient and easy. Curb the urge to add cool things that get in the way of conversation and sharing.
- Let trust sort things. Model the standards of behavior. Keep rules to a minimum.
- Be visible authenticity. Lean toward full disclosure, but avoid over-exposure. Most of us look better with our clothes on.
- Protect everyone’s investment. Forgive mistakes. Ignore little missteps. Eradicate what is destructive. Know the difference by holding thing up to trust, values, and the community vision.
- Stop doing what isn’t working. Be lethal about keeping things easy, efficient, and meaningful.
- Promote your members … and honor your competition! Secure communities need both to thrive and get new ideas.
- Encourage mutation. Let the environment change to meet the changing needs of the people it serves.
- Celebrate contagion. Make it heroic to share what’s going on!
- Be grateful and always about the people. The community wouldn’t be a community without them.
Those are the basics of building a fiercely loyal community. It’s a lot like opening your mind and inviting people to be a part of what you’re thinking. Put your quest out there and make room for folks who want to share it. Be a fan of the folks you meet and align your quest with theirs.
How will you create a community of fiercely loyal fans?
Liz Strauss of lizstrauss.com is a brand strategist and community builder for corporations, small business, and service professionals. She is founder of SOBCon, a social business workshop that grew out of her website Successful-Blog.com.
P.P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here: http://www.escaping-mediocrity.com/entrepreneur-expedition-live-retreat/