Here are a few ways to examine what you want from your community’s methodology:
We have put together an example of how to shape the methodology of your community. Douglas Atkin who is now head of the Airbnb Community wrote a book that examined cults and strong brands. His ideas can be applied to communities ensuring a successful and positive environment.
We love you
Make community members feel special, appreciated and loved. Reinforce that with positive encouragement and use positivity to overcome negativity. Focus on increasing the happiness of the individual and making them feel joy at belonging to the community. For example, Airbnb does this by giving a surprise gift basket to members who contribute.
Welcome and encourage new members. Tell them how important it is to have them in the community. Also, try to give members an authentic sense of community and belonging. Use personal emails from community managers and influencers, encourage members to thank and call out others. Only expel as a final resort.
Culting is a contact sport
Create constant and rich contact through content. Encourage members to run activities and participate with personal messages.
We’re in this together
Align your values and activities with your members. When things go wrong or you make mistakes, be humble and transparent. Always look after members and support them when they’re going through difficulty.
This is what we believe
State and restate clear beliefs behind the community. Highlight its purpose and be the voice of the community. Also, encourage members to act.
Create visual symbols, community colours and language. Create a visual/tonal style for content. Give away stickers and merchandise. Make sure that people understand what the community represents.
Commitment is a two-way street
Always be authentic and honest when you communicate (importantly to not lie). Commit to members as they commit to you. Be patient and calm to members who commit time and effort to helping the community.
Go forth and multiply
Encourage and reward those who bring in new members. Get members to spread the word of both the community and brand. But try and ensure that new members of the community fit and are a positive influence
You’re different, we’re different – determine your communities difference from the general population and declare it frequently. Atkins talks about being a “beacon of difference”.
From Vegans with an environmental consciousness to drone pilots, the community is an us and them environment. Brands and the community are the us, other brands and those who don’t believe are the them.