Every community manager has a motherly instinct irrespective of gender, just like how a mom would wait for her child to utter their first word and find unfathomable joy in it. Here, a community manager finds that in the first post or comment of the member.

But, imagine if it’s a complaint. This does break any community manager’s fantasy but, the state of mind does not change. To make the members open up and converse, a community manager works both strategically and tactically.

How do you build a strategy for members to open up?

1. Know Your Member

  • Do you know who your first cohort members are?
  • What data have you used to make them your first cohorts?
  • How are their presence and activity like?
  • Has anyone from your team spoken to them previously?

2. Talk to your members

  • Interview your potential first cohort members
  • Understand their sense of liking
  • Set the expectations right when it comes to community
  • Have a clear and defined messaging so that the purpose aligns
  • Prepare a questionnaire that will help you track their interests and ideas

3. Connect

  • Create a sense of connection with your members
  • Build rapport with the members to understand their conversation triggers
  • Connect to understand their lifestyle, culture, and habits so that you can make the community a better place for them

4. Document everything you did

  • Document all the member conversations
  • Document the questionnaire answers shared
  • Document the takeaways you have had post your conversation
    with each of your member

5. Align your goals

  • Connect data and conversations with the members
  • Identify a pattern around interests, likes, lifestyle, triggers
  • Match the identified pattern with your strategy

The tactical approach

  • Create your ice-breaker conversation templates based on the pattern identified
  • Your ice breakers should be based on the type of members you are talking to as well
  • Keep ice-breakers for days that show less engagement and for new members to open up
  • Keep a day for peer to peer ice breaker sessions
  • Recognize frequently participating member

Breaking down how to prepare ice-breakers

Community member: Women entrepreneurs in India
Location: Metro Cities of India
Age: 35 - 45 and above
The pattern observed via conversation and questionnaire: Love to talk about self-improvement, Tricks, tips, Solving problems around lifestyle and health.
What members expected: Feel empowered, recognized, and belonged to women like them

A table containing icebreaker questions and the intent for those questions
Icebreaker questions used for women based community

Result: Naturally inclination to participate in the conversation

It may look like a small question that garnered maximum engagement or low engagement. But, a community manager goes through this process to understand the audience more than just increasing engagement.


  • Ice-breakers are to set and create an amicable environment for members to open up
  • It is not solely meant for engagement. It is meant to understand community members and make their life easier for a good head start in the community
  • Good ice-breakers will improve peer-to-peer connect if they find commonality
  • Interesting ice-breakers can make members come to your community every other day
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