Who can be a Community Evangelist?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a great mentor, Jeremiah Owyang, who really set a good foundation for me both my career and with community marketing. Although I’ve been out of the Community Marketing circle for a while, it’s still on my mind. Yet, since Community Marketing is such a dynamic place to be in, I begin to wonder who can be a Community Evangelist?

Jeremiah posted some interesting thoughts on the rules of a Community Manager, but here’s my additions (without looking or paraphrasing his thoughts)…

A Community Evangelist should have all of these plus more:

1. Must have Community experience: The Evangelist must understand how to use tools that will interest customers and one must have some experience using them.

2. Must understand the customer: Customers are tricky because they are so diverse. Yet, they all have one thing in common, and the Evangelist must recognize this commonality.

3. Must find a way to indirectly invite the customer in: Let’s face it, all Corporate-driven activities are reaching out to somehow gain a sales lead and/or profit. But, Community Marketing is something different. Instead, a Corporate Evangelist must use community tools to actively engage the customer with other customers, prospects, and experts…as well as indirectly say “Come on over, we have something for you.”

4. Seamless integrate Community Tools with current Corporate offerings: It seems easy, but how do you provide a seamless integration, from a user experience perspective, from one tool to the other and with the corporate website? Or should you? This is a question that most Evangelists should consider before launching a corporate blog and/or forum.

5. Must be the customer: This is an important one. The job of the Evangelist is to provide a voice for the customer, better yet provide a link between the customer and the company. So, this requires one to be very sensitive of customer needs, but also aware of what Corporate goals are too.

6. Must be the company: Also, another important attribute, but it’s true. Again, the Evangelist is the central link between the customer and the company, so he/she must communicate the overall corporate message/goals to the customer. Yet, it cannot sound like a sales pitch, instead it should be very informal.

It seems easy, but it still takes some experience and a lot of intuition. A Community Evangelist needs to have an agenda, but be willing to alter it for the sake of the customer. I would like to congrat Mario Sundar for his new endeavor at LinkedIn, but also send him some “Good luck” wishes. He’s in for quite a journey, but I know he will bring a lot of experience to the company, but better yet, he understands the customer because he is one! He’s already one step ahead…I’m positive that I missed a few things…please let me know what you have to add?

UPDATE: Jeremiah has just added me to his post on: “Understanding the Community/Evangelist Role, and profiles of a few of my Favorite Folks

But, now I have a question for all of you…We all know what Community Marketing, a Community Evangelist, and what a Community Manager is, but whats the next generation? How do you go above and beyond the call of duty to satisfy customers? Is it podcasts, is it video, or is there something else, something bigger and better out there?

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  • http://mariosundar.wordpress.com/ Mario Sundar

    Hi Christopher,

    Great post! As for your question on satisfying customers, I don’t think it’s about podcasts or video but rather just listening to customers’ feedback and figuring out the best way to address it.

    Definitely more difficult than it sounds.

    BTW, I love the new look for your blog. Very professional. Nice.

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  • http://www.digiscrapinfo.com/forum/ Connie Bensen

    I linked over here from Jeremiah’s blog…

    I find #4 very interesting because that is a big question. How much does one share with the community of the connection? Initially is there a level of discretion to be maintained? Should the web presence be a separate entity, connected or merged?

    It’s a very interesting phenomenon. We’re in the process of transitioning now – and I think it’s going successfully.

    I like your statements – must be the customer, must be the company

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  • http://jameskeylim.com jameskeylim

    Great list Christopher. Just attended the Online Community Unconference 2007 and some of your thoughts are right on.

  • http://ebizz.wordpress.com/ Christopher Anthony Salazar

    Thanks James. I’d definitely like to hear what you have to add from the Unconference. Unfortunately, I could not attend…but I’m going to do my best to attend future events!

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