This is the second post in our “Street Team 101” series
In this post, I’ll share with you a couple quick thoughts about how to prepare your team for the job.
You know how there’s that myth that says that like a goldfish will grow to a size in proportion with how big it’s environment is? So if you put a fish in a small bowl it’ll stay small but if you drop it in like a pond it’ll grow big?
…Okay that’s a totally weird and random anecdote and I don’t know if this analogy is going to make much sense but screw it, we’ll do it live.
The thought I have there is the first thing I always felt about running a street team: your team members will do amazing work if they see that the team is being managed and supported with care and love, and they’ll flounder and fall apathetic if the team is managed as an afterthought.
It’s a simple enough concept. In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the Broken Window Theory, probably another analogous situation. The bottom line – you want your new recruits to get the feeling, right off the bat, that the team they’re joining is fun, but organized and here to get. shit. done.
The best way to make this impression on them from the start is by putting in a little bit of effort up front to get the team prepared and onboarded smoothly.
The Welcome Packet
For as long as you’re running a street team, you’re going to be constantly recruiting (and churning) street team members. Of course, you’ll have the die-hards that will stick with you for years and will make up the core of your team. But there will always be new people interested in getting involved with your company and you should always be open to giving them that opportunity.
When these new people join, there’ll always be some things that you’ll want them to know about the team, how it works, and what’s expected of them. The best way to do this is by making a simple Welcome Packet.
It can be simple. Very, very, simple. In fact, “Packet” might even be a little strong: a couple pages outlining the need-to-know info in a PDF or Word Document can suffice. And the best part – it’s the gift that keeps on giving. After you make it once, it can remain relevant (with minor changes as necessary) for years.
What To Include
The reason a packet like this is important is because, again, these people are going to be your front line. They’re going to be your brand advocates, interacting with hundreds of people on your behalf and representing you in the field. You want them to know what their shit, and know it well.
What’s included in a Welcome Pack can vary from team to team, but generally, it’s nice to know this kind of stuff:
– Welcome letter
– History of your company/band/venue
– Description of the role/what’s expected
– Clearly defined objections
– Do’s and Don’ts
– Calendar of Events
– Directory of friendly shops/promotion locations/venues
– Map of promotion locations
You can elaborate (or eliminate) on any of those ideas, but that gives a good gist of the kinds of things that make it easier for a new team member to take part and get excited. Especially if this is a volunteer team, your team members will be more enthusiastic if it’s clear that the team their signing up for has it’s shit together. Ironically, or not, most people thrive in more structured environments and will be relieved to see that they’re investing their time in a team that cares.
Again, you don’t need to write a novel on each topic. Brevity can be strong, and outline format can be fine. Just have something to send them or hand them when they’re first signing up, and it’ll go a long, long way.
These days, you could easily get away with never pulling the team together for in-person gatherings. Email, telephone, text, and online communications can suffice, but if you limit your teams interactions strictly to those impersonal channels, you’ll be missing out on a lot of what makes street teams effective and fun in the first place.
Remember that the whole essence of street teams, what separates them in a world of growing online and digital promotions, is their personal element. These teams engage with other people, they transfer enthusiasm, and they build community – and they do it all in person.
It’s the human element that makes street teams special. So bring your team together in real life to help foster that.
Community is so important that it’ll have it’s own post later in this series, but to kick things off, an introductory orientation meeting is a terrific way to get everything off on the right foot.
An initial meeting can be as simple as a couple pizzas in a living room, some time to mingle, and simply going through the Welcome Packet. You’ll give people the chance to ask any questions they have, and most importantly, the chance to connect with other team members.
Meeting the other team members is important, because in doing so, individuals on your team will become more engaged. They’ll see that they’re part of something bigger, and just like when you work out with a parter, they’ll go the extra mile as a member of a team.
A Little Energy Up Front Goes A Long Way
A street team managed correctly will be a powerful driver in your marketing and brand. The power of a vocal community to amplify your message and spread it to an audience can rival digital marketing in ways that will never fully be replaced.
Remember, your team wants to get involved. They WANT to be associated with the magic, and that’s always a very powerful connection. So help them help you. Give them the welcome they need up front, give them clear directives, and let them know that they’re part of an organized team. Then put them together, and start building your community of advocates. Let them see that they’re part of a bigger picture.
It’s all uphill from there.