🤝 Getting Buy-in for Your Community Is Not a One-time Thing
By Oana Filip
You've spent hours putting together community strategy documents and making presentations – and it worked! You got the nod from C-suite for your community initiatives. Now you can get on and devote all your time and energy to building and nurturing your community, right?
Well, not exactly...
Community building is a marathon, not a sprint. And getting buy-in across the board is the fuel that will keep you going. As such, it's so important to make sure you invest resources in getting it from the right people and maintaining it in the long haul.
Many community pros start — and stop — with winning and maintaining support from company exec and C-suite. That matters of course, but so does buy-in from the rest of your teammates.
From developers to marketers, operations to customer support, all of these folks will have a nuanced perspective on what community is all about. While some may agree that it could be the lynchpin in helping you achieve your business goals, others may see it as a cash cow that eats way too many resources. With a bit of luck, many will be curious to find out your vision and see if they can contribute.
When I kicked off Upstairs Community by Pixelgrade in mid-2020, I was the only one passionate and excited about its potential. That's not surprising — I've been nurturing communities within the creative industries since 2011, and seen the profound effect that they can have on an organization.
But I did not expect to get so much pushback from my teammates.
The founders had some questions too, but they were pretty casual. They immediately understood that what I was trying to build was aligned with our company's mission — to support people who want to make an impact in their communities. Over the years, we had dozens of conversations about the fact that we want to keep building a company that exceeds its financial interests. We want to give back, help others thrive, and lead by example.
But in the early days, there was much eyebrow-raising in the wider company, from fellow marketers to my developer colleagues. Why should we build a community? How would it help us increase our revenues? Is it for customers, at least? Why are we so exclusive? What do we plan to accomplish, after all?
Even though my position may be uncommon in this landscape — most community builders struggle with C-suite buy-in more than their peers — this does not mean the latter should be seen as an easy win. Being the first ambassador of your community is a must if you want to convince people that it will pay off.
Here are the tactics I've found success with when it comes to getting buy-in for community from the entire organization.