One of my top MVPs is changing roles to a leadership position and was asking about how to enable community. Specifically if he could focus on three areas to enable community what would they be….

Must admit I hadn’t really thought of my role in those terms and thought it would interesting to create a post on the topic.

Before a would-be community person prioritizes their tactics they should figure out what type of community person they are: somebody that creates advocacy directly or somebody that creates advocacy through the action of others. I realize I am artificially making these black and white categories which don’t really exist in reality.

Creating Advocacy Directly i.e. the Rockstar.

Microsoft has several of these amazing people: Brian Harry, Scott Hanselman, Scott Gutherie, Zain Naboulsi etc. These folks are incredibly smart and create an amazing amount of goodwill and have armies of advocates that would love to help our company due to all the times these people have been helped them out by these rockstars. Their traction is a direct proportion to the amount of help they supply people.

Creating Advocacy through Social Networking i.e the Matchmaker

Microsoft also has several people truly gifted in this space- but their names have much less brand equity. People like Jennifer Ritzinger; Eileen Fisher, Frank Arrigo (I am a student of Frank Arrigo) and the just retired Alan Griver. Our traction is measured by the actions of our ‘army’.

Once this has been established the tactics are quite a bit clearer (note I didn’t say easier<g>).

1. As a rockstar you should pick the topics and communication medium you excel at -remember your traction is a product of HOW MUCH YOU PRODUCE and how helpful it is i.e. write 10 books, produce a video a week, write a blog post a day etc etc

2. As a matchmaker your efforts will always involve finding the right people and the right levers for those people. As I type this blog post I am in a room full of Scrum.ORG trainers…So finding these passionate people was easy and all I had to do to enable them was supply a meeting location. Let’s call this a “B” for a matchmaker….An “A” would be to have them create a video each or have them offer a free lecture in the evening to the local developers (something they all would be happy to do for me). In Australia my efforts involved finding people to create local user groups and supply them with monthly presenters….This was so successful we were getting interaction with ~5% of the Developers in Australia (web marketing campaigns typically only hope for 2% click through) at much lower price point and much much higher fidelity communication.

Will this this help my MVP – I hope so!