Creating Community Ambassadors
Because of the client work that I do around the Fierce Loyalty model, I get to see the inside workings of many different kinds of communities. It’s actually one of the best parts of my work because I see over and over again that, no matter how different the organizations are that are creating and fostering communities, the very basic elements of Fierce Loyalty remain constant.
My vantage point also allows me see the common challenges my clients experience in the community building process. Two of the biggest are bringing in new community members and increasing interaction among those who are already there.
Today I’m going to share one of my favorite solutions for these challenges – creating community ambassadors.
Many communities I work on already have informal ambassadors. These are the people who make the newcomers feel comfortable by showing them the ropes and introducing them to other members. Their enthusiasm is apparent, they know everyone and they make the community an easy, fun place to be.
These informal ambassadors are a fantastic asset to any community. The only challenge is, you have no control over whether they materialize and even less control over what they do should they appear. Rather than relying on chance, I help my clients design and establish a formal Community Ambassador program, complete with a job description, a recruitment and training process and tangible benefits. The result is a core group of designated community members who take new people by the hand and make sure their first experiences in the community are overwhelmingly successful. When potential new members see this, it is much easier for them to say “Yes!” to joining your community.
What are some specific things a Community Ambassador can do? Here are seven ideas to get you started.
Co-host a new member meeting or virtual chat along with a staff member.
Include new members in the community discussions he or she is already participating in.
Guide the new member to conversation that are the most relevant.
Invite potential new members to visit the community.
Introduce new members to other people in the community and stay around to help facilitate conversation.
Answer questions that new members have.
Stay on the lookout for new members at live events (especially those who don’t know anyone and are standing by themselves) and draw them into the group.
What do you think of the idea of Community Ambassadors? Would they be helpful for your community? If you already have ambassadors, what are some of the things they do to make your community better?