Engagement Play #51: Ship Some Swag
How to go above and beyond to show your members that you care about their lives outside of your community.”
Who doesn’t love a bit of swag — especially when it marks you as a member of a community you love?
By shipping swag to your top contributors — whether it be clothing, badges, or pins — you show your members that your team makes it a priority to reward those who shape the community into a space that generates real value for people, says Community Operations Manager at Commsor and The Community Club Cole Zerr.
“Similarly, by shipping surprise and delight swag to a member who made a recent high-impact contribution, you encourage behavior that sets your community apart, creating a thriving culture,” he says.
It’s also a great way for community builders to celebrate significant milestones in a member’s life or community journey. “For example, at The Community Club, we ship ‘Future Community Builder’ onesies to new parents to signify a significant milestone in their lives, while slipping in some fun community branding. Not only is it fun for us to see the next generation of community builders raised, but we love to go above and beyond to show our members that we care about their lives outside of our community.”
This is not the only way swag campaigns have worked well for The Community Club. In 2021, it launched its first swag line to raise money for the community. “Keeping with the theme of community building, our goal was to use our swag to raise money for C School student scholarships,” Cole says. “To do this, we spent time researching third-party logistics partners to produce a hoodie with text across the chest saying, ‘We Build Community’. Our community loved the slogan — and that the hoodie was incredibly soft.”
Through this swag campaign, they sold 100+ hoodies, raising thousands of dollars for C School scholarships. Bonus: members were organically taking pictures of their new hoodies, sharing them across social media, and buying additional hoodies for all of their Community team members. “At the heart, swag connects your community members around a shared mission,” Cole says.
Here are three ways to use swag within your community:
“First, think about an upcoming event that you’re hosting,” Cole says. “Are you shipping event-related swag to speakers? Are you offering free swag at a booth during your in-person conference? “As community builders, we never want the event fun to end when people walk out the door at the end of the day — swag is a way to keep the memories made at your event fresh in your attendees’ minds.”
Want to attract more members? Use swag to generate some buzz outside your community. “Swag can be a great addition to your social strategy with giveaways or other fun social games to interact with members on your various channels,” Cole explains.
Just for fun
“Finally, remember, swag is fun!” Cole says. “You’re giving your people an opportunity to represent your brand — make this exercise something that leads to positive impressions, increases community morale, and ultimately fits your member base. Always ensure that the swag you’re producing is something your members will use. If your goal with swag is to remind your members to check in on your community, this is especially key.”
On the hunt for more handy engagement plays?
You’re in luck — our Community Engagement Playbook features more than 50 of them! Head over here to download it for free.