Community engagement is the talk of the town among community managers and community builders. It is becoming crucial for any community to have thriving members who actively participate and engage in a community.
It all sounds very easy-breezy at first to have the engagement going because your community is compact and you can get creative by concocting some fun activities and curating content specifically for your early community members.
But over time, we obviously lose to impress and keep our members enthused about our community. Why do we get lost in community engagement?
We asked one of the expert community builders -- Parul Gupta in our AMA session. She is great at building communities, maintaining and keeping the engagement lively in a community. Since we found the right person to help us crack the plummeting community engagement, we didn’t wait for a second and we started firing away our questions around how to have effective community engagement strategies?
Honestly, though, we were quite blown away by the answers we received from her. Let us see what are the strategies for effective community engagement and some of the ultimate answers given by her in our AMA session.
Community engagement for early members in a community
For early members, you must follow a routine that involves Welcoming the new members into your community and also encouraging them to introduce(mandatory) themselves in your community, not just as a professional but the other casual side of them, their interests, hobbies, daredevil adventures, and what are they looking for from your community?
When you determine all the above aspects from all your early members, it is very easy for you to connect them with the most relevant matches from the community, also it will help you create cohorts in the long run.
To help you come up with some creative introduce yourselves strategies, do have a look at these.
Effective Do’s and don'ts' to drive engagement in a community
Community engagement isn’t always about creating curated content, it has more to do with knowing your members.
- Listen to your members, observe the challenges they are facing. Drive conversations around it. If your content benefits them and actually provides solutions to their problems, they are going to ask more questions.
- Doing so saves a lot of fluctuation in the engagement rate as members visit the community more often and stick around for a long time.
- For public holidays, like Sundays, the general attitude is to plan the week. Maybe you can float a planner/tips for community managers related to content planning/anything that can help them plan their week better and increase productivity.
- Engagement strategies should be reviewed every two weeks/monthly- Based on the kind of community you are running.
- DO NOT focus on 'content creation to increase engagement' but 'observe your members’ and increase engagement. Most of us jump onto 'creating' more to 'share' and get people talking. That leads to ‘Content fatigue’ in members. Instead, create less but relevant. Quality over quantity triumphs!
- DO NOT change the tactics too often -- it would leave your audience confused. Give them something to look forward to each day of the week. See the engagement graph and change it only when needed.
Key to sustainable and organic engagement in a community
For organic engagement, the key is to create as much authentic content and ask questions. It is about understanding the WHY. Be precisely clear about WHY you are creating your community and for what shared purpose people should join in.
Once answered, create a solid community engagement strategy. This may cover segmenting them to particular interests, moderating conversations, being responsive, adding an entertainment factor, welcoming new members, etc.
Take the first step and ask questions. Why should a community manager do all the talking? You can tag other members in your community to encourage new members to open up and introduce themselves, this will enable new members to talk and also makes them feel special.
Some other easy ways to make them feel comfortable talking is - creating polls, tagging them in the relevant questions to hear their views, conducting quizzes every fortnight, etc.
Once your community starts expanding, retain your old members by acknowledging their presence; sharing their experiences, getting them members to tell their stories, celebrate their achievements, and adding value to them. At the same time never forget to welcome your new members.
Quality over quantity content creation strategies
I mean why so much? Less is more as far as we are making quality content. Don’t create awful loads of content. It’s a big NO! Your content is technically obsolete when your members are not even interested in it.
So how should you curate content and how often?
A community content creator should not get all business and start creating content right away. They should begin with reading the room. Observe the community members. Listen to their stories, address the challenges faced by them. Then begin creating content curation solutions inclined to the interests of your community members.
Create content that connects your members more than you. Content that will strengthen relationships, align with the shared goals of members and signal to an outsider what the community is all about. Do not post content under the pretenses of the more the merrier! It will lead to content fatigue.
It is always about quality over quantity. Create less content, but make it impactful. Make it relevant to your audiences. This will catapult your members to come back to your community often -- leading to an organic engagement.
Lastly, don’t try to schedule your contents, it looks more automated. Be spontaneous and random. Else your community members might feel disinterested if you have scheduled content.
Creating an all-inclusive community
We often get lost and the idea of creating a relevant and all-inclusive community gets missed over time, and the community gets more in the zone of 'content fatigue'. A lot of generic content targeted towards members makes them feel less included.
Community is a place for networking and it greatly helps in the learning process. Hence for sustainable engagement, follow all the strategies mentioned above. To know more about Community engagement, do check out our AMA session here. Oh by the way, if you have any questions related to community-building, or you are a community enthusiast waiting to ask your questions, then do join our Community cold coffee community and ask your questions every Wednesday AMA sessions. We would love to have you as a part of our community and will be hyped to catch you there!