Last week, a fortuitous tweet came from a fellow community manager who told me that my phrase “community badassery” was a new favorite. (Thanks, Lisa!) I call my community- and customer-centric role models Community Badasses. I’m really impressed when people do things that would seem scary or uncertain to others.
Up until now, I’ve never taken the time to define what I truly, deeply, passionately mean when I say “Community Badassery”. Now it’s taking solid shape in my head and pushing me forward in new ways.
Here’s my broad definition:
Community Badassery (n): When a community manager or team stops being reactive and initiates a creative, daring action in order to empower their community to connect and flourish in new ways. Outcome may be uncertain. Not for the faint of heart.
Community Badassery is when you stop doing the “everyday basics” and start taking things creatively to the next level. I refer to this as “next-level community management”. The “everyday basics” I’m referring to are the reactive things. They include answering emails, replying to tweets, answering question after question.
It is not easy to put these thing on hold and, sadly, most organizations won’t empower you to rise above these reactive gestures. But if you do work for such an organization and you go about this the right way*, it’s the kind of thing that can catapult your brand from “the Airbnb of closets” to “a highly profitable tight-knit community that pays for our product because it enables them to share space, meet great people, make a profit, and be eco-friendly.” I’d rather be a part of the latter.
And here are some badass examples to fuel you in your quest to be more badass:
- Starting a pancake breakfast series to introduce and refer new members to the community. I heard this was done at The Hub – Bay Area.
- Starting a secret community to talk off-the-record.
- Buying potential customers (or not even customers, but people who care about what you care about) coffee or burritos with no ulterior motives other than just to listen.
- Giving your community all the power to create events with your brand.
- Asking questions that really matter to people in your community, whether or not they have anything directly to do with your product (tons of examples here).
- Believing in next-level organizational structure and empowering your community beyond a customer service channel.
*Of course, I’m still trying to articulate “the right way”: Many whole future blog posts could be written on delegating to others, doing away with email altogether, forgiving yourself, creating your own tight-knit group of community managers to come crying to and to celebrate with, and making a case for a larger community team.