Chapter 6. Step Two: Recruit Community Members (With a New Toolbox and Your Own Marketing Skills)

Does this sound familiar? “We tried a podcast . . . a microsite . . . a webinar, but nobody came. It was a waste of time and money.” It’s a complaint I often hear when I talk to executives about marketing to the social web.

Even when you observe what people are saying online about your brand and company, even when you map the various communities you want to attract, you can’t just create an online presence and put out a sign saying: “Here we are.” The “build it and they will come” strategy might have worked in the Internet 1.0 world of 1994, when websites were still novelties (and unfortunately, some companies haven’t abandoned this outdated strategy). But those days are gone forever.

Maybe it’s a human impulse to believe that what’s mine is better than what’s yours, and companies fall into that trap just as individuals do. They believe that if they make a website exciting, lively, colorful, and feature-rich, it will be better than other sites and attract attention. Your site may, in fact, be better, but so what? What’s in it for the customer? The customer needs a real reason to show up. And that’s where recruitment comes in.

Recruit as if Your Business Depends on It

Recruiting for the social web is serious business. Why? Because once people have been recruited to one or more communities, they tend to become impervious to traditional media. In fact, according to compete.com, an online research ...

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