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Top 10 tips for starting a Treehouse Club (Also applicable to initiating social media communication)

PR Manager

Our interactive Creative Lead Robert Fransgaard shares his tips in this month's CiB Communicators mag.

1) Club manifesto: 1. Rule the world, 2. Play Pokemon...
Define your purpose and goals. What do you want to get out of this? Create a content plan and define who on your team is responsible for delivering what.

2) No adults, big brothers or hamsters allowed.
Define and limit your core audience. It will make the communication feel less generic and as such more relevant and even personal to the individual user.

3) Find a good tree at least as tall as Aunt Jenny.
Knowing your audience will help you determine where they live online and define the right channels to use. However, do not limit yourself to a single channel. Make use of other channels where appropriate. The community is your users and not the technology.

4) You need: 1 hammer, 24 planks of wood, 2,000,087 nails and 1 chocolate bar (ask mum).
There's an online tool or application for 94% of the things you want to do. Save time and money by finding these online instead of developing them from scratch.

5) Use dad's computer to print lots and lots of posters.
To create awareness always join conversations both in your own community but also wherever your audience is talking and where your product/services are being discussed. Promote your community through your traditional communication channels as well. And be your own most active user.

6) No swearing and no lying. If you do, you'll be keelhauled!
Mean it! Be honest, be personal, be friendly, be professional, and be courteous, especially in the face of criticism. Do not shy away from bad comments about your offerings. Instead use it as an opportunity to inform and be helpful.

7) Help old ladies across the road.
Avoid selling and instead aim to provide genuinely relevant and helpful content. Do not be afraid of posting links to sites not owned by you. It will still reflect on you as being the helpful brand even if the link is to content out of your control... maybe even more so.

8) Mum says we must all play nicely.
If your social communication encourages user generated content, make sure you have a few clear and unbendable rules and enforce these consistently and swiftly. It is also a good idea to create a suite of softer guidelines to help steer the tone of the conversation.

9) Collect brownie points to earn a shiny Treehouse medal.
Keep an eye on your users. Some will inevitably stand out as valuable contributors. Encourage these users and give them the star treatment. They are key to spreading your message as they will feel a sense of ownership.

10) Every Wednesday we play "Pass the parcel".
Deliver unique and relevant quality content that is entertaining, helpful and encourages two-way conversation. Content is King but as social media is all about conversation it is also important what the users do with the content so make sure there are easy-to-use sharing facilities available.

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