Building Up Your Community Members, One Phone Call at a Time

Is speaking one-on-one with your community members part of your community strategy? For Tosin Abari, when building paid professional communities, it’s an integral part. His phone calls with community members provide an opportunity to reset the tone and remind each member of what they can learn, share, and achieve with their fellow community members.

Through this work, Tosin often finds that these one-on-one conversations with community members translate into their first forum post, or later down the line, becoming a community ambassador. What personal touches help you form deeper connections with your community members?

Where’d this strategy come from? Tosin has also worked as a director of player development Vanderbilt University’s football team. He explains how his work building relationships with students and their parents, helping them start off on this new chapter of their lives, prepared him for work in community management. 

Patrick and Tosin also discuss:

  • Tosin’s background in football
  • Why Tosin started taking phone calls with members without mentioning it to Patrick, his manager at the time
  • Where we focus our efforts in a world without vanity metrics

Our Podcast is Made Possible By…

If you enjoy our show, please know that it’s only possible with the generous support of our sponsor: Hivebrite, the community engagement platform.

Big Quotes

Helping members see the potential in the community (10:22): “There’s so many people out there that have the same struggles that you do, or maybe something that you’ve conquered, and you have expertise that you can share with someone else. … [Each community member has] an opportunity to make a difference, or have someone else make a difference in their lives. They can make something beautiful happen.” -Tosin Abari

Having phone calls with members (12:35): “Most places I’ve been at, they’re like, ‘No, we don’t have time [for phone calls with members].’ … We have X amount of members, we just got to do what we got to do through email orientation, and they’ll figure it out. That always gnawed at me a little bit, because these people are paying X amount of dollars for a membership, and we want to give them the best experience of their life. … [These one-on-one calls can help] other people feel like they’re not isolated, that they’re in a place that holds space for them.” -Tosin Abari

Giving each member the space to feel heard (18:06): “I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten nasty emails [and] I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be a very contentious call.’ I let them talk [and] by the end of the conversation, they’re like, ‘Thank you for having this call with me. You calmed me down, and I feel so much better.’ It was just because they wanted to be heard.” -Tosin Abari

Owning your work with your manager (25:50): “Never let [your manager] be surprised by bad news. If there is bad news, [they] should hear it from you first, before anyone else. Don’t let [them] be surprised, because if [they are] surprised, it’s going to make matters worse. … You should be the person who delivers the message.” –@patrickokeefe

About Tosin Abari

Tosin Abari (he/him/his) is a former collegiate football administrator turned motivated community manager and social media aficionado. With over 10 years of experience in community management and memberships, as well as front-end and back-end social media management, Tosin is extremely passionate in bringing people together with the goal of fostering authentic community.


Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts on this episode that you’d like to share, please leave me a comment, send me an email or a tweet. If you enjoy the show, we would be so grateful if you spread the word and supported Community Signal on Patreon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *