Alumni In 5: Corporate Alumni Engagement Starts With Saying Hello
A quick 5 minutes on some guiding thoughts you might find helpful as you think about how to launch and drive engagement and value in your community. What is critical, is that your former employees are not going to bond with, engage in a conversation with or become vested in a relationship with your organizations logo and a user called “X Alumni Program” – every community needs a person, or group of people who are in the community, profile photos, known, active and at the very least serve as a tour guide / welcoming committee. Remember Alumni Engagement is any touch point a former employee has with your organization, not just website visits or logins.
One of the really big topics that needs to be addressed to be discussed anything about your community or your community engagement strategy is what it means to actually develop a relationship with these people. So we’re not talking about a consumer led, or social community or run club, a camera club, a hiking club, we’re talking specifically about an alumni community, which is the opportunity for an organization to maintain that relationship with former employees. And as part of that, it’s really important to remember there are three things. The first is it’s going to be incredibly difficult to ask your alumni when they join, to develop even more affinity or a relationship with your brand logo. And therefore, it’s a critical component of your program to have someone or some people or an office, whatever that might be, as individuals who can be part of that journey, actually named people. And that leads to number two, which is something that organizations is always really difficult, because it’s new territory, unchartered territory, which is when someone joins, it’s really important that a human reaches out and it can be automated, and says, Hello, thanks for joining. Let me know if you need anything. And the reason this is so important, is because best case scenario, you’re going to get some responses. Thanks, appreciate it. Be also going to get questions how do i Where do I, what is i. And so as you get those questions in and as you start seeing coming in, you’re going to continue to iterate your Hi, welcome to the community email. And within a few months, it’s going to be this robust, really helpful email based on exactly what your users are looking for, as opposed to assumptions you’re making in the office on behalf of your alumni. So really important to have someone as the face or a team as a face, not just a brand logo. The second is the importance of saying hello, and welcome, and how might we help you. And I think both of those go really hand in hand. And that leads to number three, which is after you launch your community, everything is about feedback, understanding what is it that motivates alumni to join to not join? I’m almost more interested in the people that have no interest in joining your community. Why what is it that was of no interest to you? What value would we have to deliver to make you want to come? But at the same time, the people that do join? Was it a good experience? Was it simple? Was it easy? Was there anything stupid that we missed? Has it delivered value? How might it deliver value, you cannot have these conversations with a community. If you haven’t started with number two, saying hello. And starting a relationship. It’s exactly the same if you’re part of a run club at the bottom of your street, you wouldn’t turn up, not say hello to anyone. And then three months later, send a text to the whole group, ask them to do something, it just doesn’t work that way. So it works the same online as it does in real life, you have to take steps to create a relationship to create trust. And the benefit of doing that is that they will have a more vested interest in responding opening or reading your messaging your calls to action or whatever they might be. So number one really important that you don’t kind of try and force your community to develop this attachment or relationship with a logo. Second, is making sure there is someone out there who is welcoming members and inviting them and starting that relationship. And number three is that is opening the door for you to be able to find out to learn to iterate. It is so important even before you launch and your strategy and your personas, but we’ll get to that another call. But once your life, everything is about data, what’s working, is it working? How might we make it work better? What should we move or change and so I can’t highlight enough how important it is for companies to recognize that they need to be human. And they need to have a human represent their community. Because people like relationships with people. So that is the big step missing from community engagement, especially within the corporate world is attaching a name and a face and letting that person be in the trenches and be part of the community and be passionate and excited about the community. Thanks for tuning in. I’m James Sinclair, the CEO of alumniEX