“Before, I was terrified on stage. I only play guitar during the acoustic songs. After a while, you can elicit certain responses from the crowd, like Elvis.” –Andy Gibb
I recently attended a concert with my teenage daughter. Now, I am sure for many parents it was the type of concert a typical teenager would drag a parent only to arrive and stand towards the back as if to not make things appear awkward for the teenager.
But for me, this was not one of those shows. Are you kidding me? I was just as excited to see this show as my daughter was to catch this band —a group that categorizes themselves as a “post-punk/ art rock band.” Huh? (By the way, the band was Kaiser Chiefs). It was an amazing show that reminded me why I love bands from the UK so much.
There seems to be similar characteristics between the many bands and artists I have followed over the years. It’s these characteristics that cause my favorite groups to stand out among other bands and artists from around the world. What are these characteristics and what do they have to do with building a community or even this book?
1. Know how to work a crowd.
2. Don’t just sing to me about a place, they take me there.
3. Set high expectations for audience participation.
Know how to work a crowd
Because rock bands seemingly know their crowd and what they want , the musicians know how to work their crowd. How well do you know your crowd? If you are seeking to build a community to reach this crowd, you better know their interests and what they want. There can be nothing more awkward in the viral world than giving a crowd what they don’t want.
That being said, when a band knows what their crowd wants and delivers it masterfully, it is pure magic. Find the heartbeat of your community, tap it, and see how far you can take them.
Don’t just sing to me about a place, they take me there
Any good artist or storyteller understands this. In a recent interview with the iconic singer Bruce Springsteen, one of the statements he made about effective songwriting was to seek to compel others for the things that compel you. If you have ever attended a show by the Boss, you know he doesn’t just sing to you about a place… he takes you to that place in both song and performance.
Are you seeking to identify needs and then to awaken the solutions? If so, with your content development, take me to that place of need. Take me to that place of solution. Articulate the need in a way that is clear and compelling, and then articulate the solution in a way that is clear and empowering. Don’t just settle for sterile content that just recites stuff. Make your content come alive and jump off the screen–this compels action from your community— especially your core community!
High expectations for audience participation
What I loved about the Kaiser Chiefs show with my daughter was the band had high expectations for the audience, and they were not going to settle for anything less. So, why should you? If you know what your community wants and deliver it in a way they want it (by taking them to that place and not just talking to them about that place), then why shouldn’t you have high expectations for them to respond and participate?
And for this show, the crowd responded. Even when the crowd got a little tired, those high expectations came shining through to literally get us off our feet by demanding a response. And you know what? Because they knew us and gave us what we wanted… we loved every second of it and it drove us to new heights with our participation.
Too often, I see communities online just going through the motion on auto-pilot. Sure, maybe they are providing good information, but in my honest opinion… what a waste of time. Why stop there? If the metrics of social media is to share, then why wouldn’t you want to cultivate a community that has high expectations?
You know them, you give them what they want and how they want it, and you take them where they want to go. Are you satisfied with your audience lurking–by only clicking “Like” on a post or simply just reposting or retweeting something as is?
Yes, these are good things. But have higher expectations. When you post something you want your crowd to share, you want your expectations for your audience participation to include not only sharing that post, but maybe also:
- A quote they found interesting from the post.
- A quote from them as to why they are sharing the post.
- An engaging question for their community as why they should read the post.
Cultivate a relationship with your crowd that would cause them to not only participate in your community, but to share the community in an engaging way designed to take your message from being in the moment to expanding to a movement.
1) Do you know your crowd? Describe them.
2) How are you conversational with your crowd?
3) What expectations do you have for your community?
This post is an excerpt from my book Strategistics: How to Architect Your Message for Viral Success. You can purchase a download copy of the book here.
By the way, Kaiser Chiefs are releasing a brand new record this week. Pretty stoked about it. Check it out. #eeew