The third class at IMU was taught by a social media giant, Chris Brogan, his blog is ranked 2nd in AdAge’s Power 150 list. This man has a lot of valuable thoughts as I’ve read a lot of what he has said around various areas of the internet. After discussing social media and building community, here’s my homework:

Assignment #3: Create a step-by-step plan for how you could develop a community around your company on a social networking site of your choice.

Chris laid out the basic steps to doing this in his class so this will involve some regurgitation of his words.

  1. Listening – This is the first step, it’s not about me, it’s about them. I suggest reading Chris’ steps to Growing Bigger Ears in 10 Minutes. I need to figure out what others are saying about me, my brand, and determine what it is that they want. If I had the money to spend, I’d invest in Scout Labs which is a tremendous “listening/analyzing” tool for social media.
  2. But where? – I very much doubt there will be any community revolving around me that was created by other people. I don’t have my own company or anything, yet. However, if I did and there was some form of third-party community I would most certainly join. Additionally, I would create my own community (an off-shoot of my main website) to invite them to; I would want to have the control necessary for proper ROI measurements and the ability to implement new community features.
  3. Equip, don’t sell – One of the biggest points I took from this class was this phrase. I’ve understood for a while that you don’t want to just come out selling your stuff, but what’s the best thing to do instead? Provide value to your community members, equip them with something that will be beneficial to them. Example: Provide free resources that help lead them or their company to greater success. (HubSpot). If the community revolved around advertising how could I provide value to them? I could offer them a platform in which their work may receive more views than on their own website, an expert corner where industry experts are encouraged to chime in with tips and advice, or even get them a discounted version of Advertising Age somehow.
  4. Celebrate them – Recognition, recognition, recognition! Everyone loves to be recognized! Although I’m sure there are few exceptions. Regardless, I would be sure that my community provides opportunities for members to be noticed and show off their accomplishments. Let’s say it was an advertising community that had a section for members to upload their own work – I would hold monthly contests where everyone can vote for their favorite ads in specific categories and the winners receive some sort of badge to show off (along with free goodies that are paid for by advertisers). ¬†Even a simple ranking system in the forums where members receive an additional star for X amount of posts is something people enjoy.

Yes there are more steps to the entire process, but these are the most important to me and what I thought was the most valuable information taken from the class. Thanks Chris!

Next class: Successful Business Uses for Facebook and LinkedIn