Image courtesy of Blog-Blond

Reaching out to influencers is a crucial and worthwhile step in building a community, as we testified in our last post Courting brand & product power users: It’s not a one night stand. Before approaching a power user to join your group though, be clear on the ask. How are you hoping to benefit from this relationship? Be equally clear about what you’re willing to give back in exchange. The set of services, skills and knowledge up for exchange between both parties is what I like to call social currency.

Here are some sweet deals you can offer power users for joining your internal community:

  • Their own login to your blog so they can contribute posts (entrusting your users with this type of ownership and exclusive access is a really powerful catalyst in having them feel like part of your brand)
  • Consistent promotion of their blog, website and social media channels across your channels.
  • Exclusive access to major press releases.
  • Invitations to beta test new features and provide feedback.
  • Letters of media accreditation to access events.
  • Potential to receive tangible rewards for their efforts like prizes, T-shirts, swag, tickets to events – or if you want to keep it digital – badges of recognition for their site.
Setting expectations: Crafting community guidelines
For good measure, craft some simple, friendly community guidelines and make sure to share it with new power users. Guidelines should clearly outline power users’ roles and behaviour expectations as well as the consequences of breaching any of the terms. Some important items to call attention to:
  • Draw the line: giving power users a sense of ownership is a great thing, but clarify the parameters when it comes to how they interact with others on behalf of the brand.
  • Emphasize the funnel: Make sure to outline who they should contact should someone approach them about a business or media opportunity.
  • Outline expectations for peer-to-peer conduct: When you have invited a few power users to form an elite internal community, some peer-to-peer interaction is inevitable (in fact, in our next post we’ll discuss managing the community within the community). This being the case, standard guidelines for conduct are appropriate. How do you expect your power users to communicate with you as well as their peers? What happens if someone crosses the line? Be clear about these expectations early.
  • Formatting your community guidelines: At a loss for what to say? Take a look at Flickr and Instagram‘s community guidelines for great examples of how to lay down the law in an approachable way.
What are some of your must-haves when crafting community guidelines? What incentives do you offer your community power users? We’d love to hear your ideas.