Discovering the Voice of Your Community

Posted on 09 September 2010

One of the questions recently asked of me was to define what the “voice” of one of our new communities should be.  I was asked…

“Should we be funny and irreverent?”

“Should we be quiet and informative?”

It's easy to spot a faker.

This immediately struck me as odd because I’ve never considered creating a distinct personality for my communities.  In fact, I’ve often hesitated to ascribe any personality to my communities…because site personality evolves depending on the member base.  I’m of the mind that anything faked will be spotted quickly.  One of the necessary ingredients for a successful community is building a trust with the people you serve, so faking a personality is deadly.   If you’re TRYING to create a funny and irreverent persona you’re not likely to succeed unless you’ve got a writing staff.  I’m guessing most of you don’t have such resources.

So…be yourself and let your members be themselves.

You don't need a voice...just be sincere!

Always allow  communities to set the tone.

If you’re good at nurturing AND you listen, you’ll find that the community will reveal it’s own voice.  For instance, the feel on Tabblo is very photo-centric…which makes sense because of the content of the site.  Crowding the site with my vision of what the site’s personality should be would only take away from what the USERS want the site to be…and we all know the end-user is king, right?

If you’ve given your community a safe space to create and share, you’ve done all you can until they’re ready to define the community voice, which they will.  Trying to figure out what demographic audience to market to is tough unless you’re targeting a specific group like seniors, teens, gamers, or the like…even then you’re guessing and could be far off the mark.  Why risk upsetting process by inserting your ego…corporate or otherwise?

Having the patience needed to discover the voice of your community is tough…especially for suits that like to strategize months in advance.  Patience is an important trait for CM’s to have and a vital part of the community nurturing process!

Have you ever been asked to affect a certain mood, personality or flavor to your community?  Do you play to a demographic or does your community have it’s own unique personality?  How have you affected the “voice” of your community?

Thanks!

-Eric


3 responses to Discovering the Voice of Your Community

  • I’M GOING FOR ‘FUNNY AND IRREVERENT’ …ya know the ‘faker’ or the REAL…i.e Hunter S. Why? (BECAUSE THEY’VE ALWAYS WORKED FOR ME ERIC!” lol) p.s since one can only make SO many ICE CRYSTAL ABSTRACT tabs, you won’t be seeing the Canon ‘fodder’ much til Spring

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