Supporting Online Evangelists
In our previous post, Defining Evangelistic Styles, we continued our series with a discussion on various evangelistic styles, and how to recruit the right style for your brand. In this post, we take a look at how to support your brand evangelists to help spread the word.
Supporting Online Evangelists
We’ve talked about the specific ways to support the different evangelism styles. Here are some general ideas for supporting your evangelists. Remember, not all will work with each type of evangelist.
- Give your online supporters tools to identify themselves
- Avatars for Twitter
- Badges for Websites and social network profiles
- Create specialized mailing lists for them to join
- Create a special online forum exclusively for evangelists
- Create fan pages and groups on Facebook and other social networks for them to join
- Enable evangelists to invite others to join
- Offer stickers, T-shirts, fabric badges, other trinkets
- Create contests with prizes
In the end, you’ll need to ask your evangelists how you can best support them. Be sure to devote enough time to their care and feeding. They may be the most important people in your organization.
The Importance of Stories
Here’s a good example of online evangelism and it comes from a non-profit.
I’ve known my friend Les LaMotte for a decade, but we hadn’t talked in about three years. One night, Les opened a chat with me on Facebook and told me his story. I knew that he had been working with a non-profit he founded called Sudan Hope (now no longer operating). He told me the story of how, together with the Sudanese people, they had built a paved road and a boat, and brought wireless Internet to remote villages. He talked about his struggles and successes and told me he was seeking support for a movie on the plight of the Sudanese.
Over the next month or so, I must have told and emailed 15 of my friends about what Les was doing, and included a link to his donations page.
What’s that worth? It took less than half an hour out of Les’ day to multiply his reach 15-fold.
What if your entire organization, and your entire community, was engaged in this type of evangelism, if even for half an hour a week? Think of how you would multiply your marketing and brand development efforts.
Characteristics of a Good Evangelist
No matter the style of the evangelist, you will probably value the following characteristics of a good one.
In his groundbreaking technology evangelism book, Selling the Dream, Kawasaki created the following checklist to determine if you are an evangelist:
- Do you have a desire to make a difference?
- Do you fearlessly believe in a cause?
- Do you work for a cause for the intrinsic satisfaction that it brings?
- Do you give up other things to make a commitment?
- Do you enjoy fighting the mediocre, the mundane and the status quo?
- Do you get accused of being driven, showing chutzpah, or having more guts than brains?
- Does your spouse threaten to leave you?
While we’re not sure items 5-7 will be appropriate for all organizations, the first four certainly are.
For a good overview of online evangelism, read the three-part blog posts entitled, Evangelism beyond boundaries by Tata Communications International’s president, Vinod Kumar.
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