How to put your fans to work

When I was in highschool I was a fan of a small, indie band.  At one point I heard they were coming through town to do a show. However, just buying a ticket to the show wasn’t good enough for me, I wanted to figure out a way to actually meet them. After forgoing a few ideas that would end in restraining orders, I decided to shoot their manager an email with an offer to volunteer. I’d help them unpack the truck, collect tickets, whatever they needed. I figured if I was hanging out for a couple hours before the show I would get a chance to meet the band. My idea worked. My offer to help was accepted and as a result, I got to chat with the lead singer for a few minutes and met the rest of the members. It was pretty exciting.

Fans are looking for ways to get involved

I was looking for pretty much any way I could help out the band. All they had to do was provide me with directions and I was ready to hop to it. This is how people act when they are part of a tribe. They want to get involved and help. Are you giving your tribe ways that they can do that?

“What’s in it for me” still applies

The only reason I volunteered was so I could meet the band. Sure, I was a fan and wanted to help out, but I was still mainly interested in what I got out of it.

When you are inviting your tribe members to get involved, always put yourself in their shoes and ask “What’s in it for me?”.

It should be easy to volunteer

For me to volunteer I had to track down the band manager’s email address and then send a message hoping it would end up in the right place. As a result, I was the only volunteer to show up and the band ended up doing a lot of the work themselves. If it had been a lot easier to get involved, a lot more people would have shown up.

How can you get your fans involved?

  1. Give people jobs to do. In the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, they discuss the idea of scripting the critical moves. Make it very clear how people can get involved and it will increase the amount of people that take you up on the offer.
  2. Make sure there’s a “reward” for getting involved. In a lot of cases, this could merely be special access to you. Maybe some emails back and forth, special webinar, etc. However there are also inherent rewards that go along with other actions. Just make sure you answer the “What’s in it for me?” question.
  3. Make it easy to get involved. It should be easy to find out how to get involved and sign up. The instructions should be clear and prominently displayed. If you leave basic questions unanswered, you’ll lose people.  Make the path short and easy to follow.

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