Community shouldn’t just be a functional exchange of value. Community should be fun. It should be human. Have heart. That’s why I always look for opportunities to delight community members where I can.
I’ve always been a believer in doing the unscalable.
Those little personal touches that can mean so much.
Let me share a quick example of member outreach that I did this past week.
Like most communities, we have a core group of members who really show up and bring extra value.
They’re helpful, active, positive. The community is a better place for having them in it.
So I knew I wanted to send them a note of appreciation.
Here’s how I did it:
I identified our most helpful members
To be honest, I could have listed these people easily, but I had a cursory look through our community, to help me come up with a shortlist of names.
The resulting list of 14 members were folk who I knew really went the extra mile in the community. I love these people! If you’re running a community, you likely have a core group you feel the same about.
I filmed a personal Loom video
I love Loom . Seriously, one of my favourite community tools ever!
If you’re not familiar, you can record a video (including screen-captures), and when you’re done recording, it automatically copies the URL for the saved video to your clipboard. No uploading. No waiting. Just a shareable video URL you can get in seconds. It’s been such a game-changer, as I often respond to community posts with a helpful video – it’s quicker than typing and feels more personal.
Anyway, I filmed a personal thank you video for each of the 14 members. I specifically called out things I loved about their time in the community, to avoid the messages feeling generic.
If a member was a great contributor on live events, I called it out. If they prompted great discussions in the forum, I mentioned it.
Here’s an example of one of the videos:
I sent the videos via personal message
Then I just took a few minutes to send each video to the respective member, with a simple message ‘Hey (name)! I just wanted to send this note of appreciation: (video link)’.
Now, what’s the point of this?
Well firstly, it’s just the right thing to do. You should always appreciate your best members.
However, my hope and prediction is that it’ll encourage these members to continue their positive behaviour in the community.
Maybe it’ll make them feel appreciated and valued.
Maybe it’ll help me stand out as a community leader who bothers to do these unscalable things, where most others don’t.
Perhaps the message will prompt a conversation that leads to them getting more value/help.
And the entire exercise took me a grand total of 16 minutes!
If you have just 15-30 minutes spare this month, I encourage you to try this approach – send a personal video to your most active, helpful community members. Try to delight community members wherever you can. You won’t regret it.
Update: Early responses so far
I always love the response when I do these personal gestures. This kind of human connection is what matters most in community!
Here’s Kristina’s response:
“Thanks Tom, that’s very kind! I really appreciate this community and the work you do putting it on — it’s given me a place to nerd out a bit and help others when I can, which I enjoy doing. And it’s of course been hugely valuable in setting up and running my own community, so thanks back at you! P.S. Nice lighting setup!”
Several other members also let me know how much they appreciated the note.
I also immediately noticed some of them being more active and helpful in the community that day!
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