The social media team at Cirque du Soleil did a great bit of community building leading up to the BlogWorld & New Media Expo. They reached out to delegates and invited them to see them to see Viva ELVIS, their newest show in Las Vegas. As a theatre lover, I was delighted to respond and had a chance to see the show for free.
Viva ELVIS is a marvelous experience from the ushers sparkly grey leather jackets to the “get up and dance” curtain call at the end. As I’d expect from Cirque, the sets were gorgeous, the performances were amazing and the effects kept delivering new surprises. Although, I was a little wigged out by the fake Elvis hair (pun intended).
Smaller businesses can also use this technique to reach out to a community even without the resources of a large scale organization like Cirque du Soleil. A local event, conference or other activity that brings people to your area is the perfect time to extend an invitation. Offer a complimentary coffee, a free sample or a no-charge experience related to your brand and see who responds. Build relationships with those that do respond. Don’t expect promotion and remember some people will have negative things to say. Communicate graciously with everyone and you’ll be well on your way to building your community.