Earlier this week I had an interesting conversation with a client that I want to share. Our talk focused on the issue: Can you make community advocates or are they born? My client argued that she knew who in her organization was the most professionally and emotionally invested—and that she could handpick the people who would be the most engaged with a high degree of accuracy.
Her theory is that those professionals who are most engaged before an organization has a community, will also be the most engaged afterwards. And, while ComBlu does have the best and smartest clients, I have to disagree. I’ve worked with communities where the initial advocates were handpicked versus self-selected. In these cases the advocates are happy to be chosen, and they do attend all the training sessions and create their profiles. But when it came to the kind of ongoing engagement that keeps a community robust and alive, many of those folks were absent. Why? Because the kind of ongoing community involvement that is natural to some was not natural to them. But, are my experiences the exception or the rule?
Like many topics within community strategy and management this raises a number of great questions for discussion:
· Is it engagement if you have to call or email and remind the person to be involved?
· Is someone an advocate if they only act when there is a tangible reward like a t-shirt or giveaway?
· By a series of ongoing engagement tactics, can you take someone who is not active and lead them into a higher and more involved online role?
If I knew the answers to all of these I’d write a book and not this blog. But, until that happens I’d love to hear from you. Share what you think and what you’ve seen. Let’s get a great debate going, one that we can all learn from. Engagement is a constantly changing discipline, so take this chance to contribute to our collective knowledge. Comment here or shoot me a note at: email@example.com.
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