Creating an engaging online community is a long process. You need to take a lot of measures to empower your community so that every member can share knowledge with complete authority.
A value-driven approach brings engagement to an online community making it a one-stop destination for the people looking for first-hand knowledge. Creators spend substantial amounts of time in community building to make it active and engaging for most of the members.
Let’s help you with a crucial checklist to build an engaging online community.
Checklist for building an Engaging Online Community
Directional and Value-driven Conversations
Around the web, people join several groups and communicate endlessly. They do so to express themselves freely and be validated.
Communities flourish when they share an identity. People begin to see strangers as trusted peers simply because they belong to the same community.
You can have a conversation online in a variety of ways, from social media to forums to even YouTube. Do all these talks, however, always result in something? In most cases, social media platforms, WhatsApp groups, emails, and online forums are distracting and reduce one’s ability to create meaningful connections. If you can deliver value without any distractions, your community-building exercise will be successful.
It may surprise you how helpful online communities work. People are willing to go out of their way to help the members. You add value to your community by becoming a source of relevant information.
If you foster a helpful atmosphere in your community, you will be more successful. You should tell your members that you are available to support them. You can do this by answering questions, sending out newsletters, or reminding them that your community is a safe space where they can connect with others who have similar passions and interests.
Most people distrust those who act in good faith, wondering what they gain from their behaviour. This mistrust sometimes occurs in online communities, but most members share because they love doing that and help people. If you are in a community, help others without being subjected to any second thought as people will start recognizing your effort with time.
Including New Members in the Conversation
New members should feel welcomed and accommodated. One-to-one communication with the Creator is a wonderful way to lay good foundations. To build long-term engagement, thank your members for taking action, suggest content they might like and point them towards new activities.
Whenever a new member joins, make sure they understand what the Community is about. Members should understand how to begin building connections early on. Describe how each member engages with the content so the member gets an opportunity to get to know the whole community. Hand-holding at the beginning will encourage the member to take initiative and feel valued at the same time.
Your community will become more fruitful if members will feel welcome. Interaction and exchange of ideas will lead to prolonged communication.
A community that stays together, trends together! There are several online communities of like-minded individuals who build a buzz on social media platforms. Doing that not only helps your cause but also brings in a sense of achievement within the community.
If you have a community willing to be creative with content, you can become a trending community with ease. For this, pick up a cause or topic you find suitable and ask everyone to post content using the same hashtag.
You will notice that people who are not even in the community will follow the trend and promote your cause. Doing this activity once a month will keep people engaged and involved in your online community.
Upskilling is most effective when people are available for feedback and consume the content regularly. The value of your community will increase exponentially if you encourage people to learn new skills that will be beneficial professionally.
Creators can facilitate upskilling by inviting members to become part of their community and bringing in more experts. With common goals, the members and the experts collaborate to connect, learn, and grow together. By allowing social learning, online learning communities complement upskilling.
As members work in cohorts, they also establish accountability as they support one another to attain the learning goals.
Sharing Pieces of Work
Ask your members to share whatever they are creating or looking to create. This will help you get user-generated content that would be far more engaging than the one you create.
In addition, you can also post this content in a special area where the work of every member of the community is displayed. Your community will start exchanging unique content with other members who share the same interests. Your community platform can be used to share their ideas and give rewards to the members for good work.
Members of the community want feedback and the opportunity to share topics of interest with others and the creator. Active encouragement of discussions is the only way to achieve this.
Maintaining a Healthy Consistency
The importance of regular and consistent communication is known to everyone. For being consistent, consider holding a discussion once a week, but be sure to hold it at the same time and on the same day.
If you cannot create regular engaging content, you can start a newsletter covering important topics relevant to community members. You may consider posing questions on topics that members care about, then ask for the views of the people on the content you shared.
You showing up regularly will motivate others to engage and create content that drives value in the community.
Promoting Genuine Feedbacks
Constructive feedback has proven to be an important tool for promoting a healthy community environment, increasing productivity, and improving decision making.
Getting the most out of your online community depends on how well you engage community members.
Asking your online community members for their opinions is one of the best ways to keep them engaged. When formulated well, a poll can drive discussion for a long time. A new product idea, recent industry news, a triggering question or a recent event can also turn out as a topic of discussion and feedback.
To get a critical understanding of what matters to your community, you should solicit opinions and viewpoints from group members.
Going for Community Moderation
Community moderation is based on the community guidelines being set of rules and procedures to be followed for maintaining a healthy environment. Your platform and community should be based on strong guidelines. Ultimately, they are a reflection of what the online space stands for.
It can be difficult to strike the right balance between being informative and comprehensive in your guidelines. You should always lay down the most important factors without making them exhaustive.
You can also read our detailed blog on Online Community Moderation, this will help you get more details so that you can moderate your community better.
The key is to make sure you don’t omit anything critical, but don’t overburden users with too many rules.
Encouraging Questions and Discussions
To establish a conversation or to have a discussion, think about what your community is interested in and never ask any vague questions.
You need to question your audience in a way that generates emotions and taps into the issues to be resolved. For churning out good and crisp questions, it is always a good idea to rewrite your content several times and then engage people who have similar interests.
It’s vital that people in your community feel comfortable participating in lively discussions so that they can invite others from their circle to be part of your community.
Efficient communication in a community helps you understand your industry better, which helps you create more relatable content. All this collectively promotes engagement on a large scale.
Setting the Community Tone
The tone of the community helps members understand what to expect in terms of content, value, and engagement. The unique tone of a community becomes its brand. The tone can be witty, kind, informative, subject-specific, political, etc. Alternatively, you can combine these aspects to create a tone of your choice.
Without matching the tone of the other members, you will not be considered one of them. Don’t forget to be optimistic, but find a balance acceptable to your members. You need to figure out the comfort zone of the community as soon as possible.
A creator’s personality determines the type of brand they have. As a creator, you should exhibit that tone and encourage the community to do the same.
When people discuss topics of similar interests and invite others to join the discussion, a tone also adds value around the niche.
As a creator, it becomes your responsibility to foster experimentation and creativity within your community. A creative community always remains active and motivates others to churn out unique content.
You can always go out, ask some intriguing questions and let others participate in the discussion. Try to bring in every new perspective, even if you do not believe in that. New perspectives and concepts promote healthy communication within a community.
Building a Sense of Belongingness
Even if your community has several members, each of them also has distinct identities. They want to get recognized as a single entity rather than being a part of a large group. As a creator, you should make them comfortable and include them in every discussion as much as possible. Sometimes, you will have your favourites, but a community values every single opinion of every member.
An individual’s personal, professional, and online identities influence their participation in the system. They share something in common but have remarkably different backgrounds and experiences. Your community can lose its importance if you fail to appreciate the dynamic and complexity of identity.
Initially, it seems like a lot. However, it takes a long time to build engaging online communities and getting people involved emotionally in the whole process.
This was a well detailed and comprehensive Checklist for building an engaging online community. If you do all this with determination and confidence, you will build an engaging online community within no time. This can also help if you have a community, but you want to make it more engaging.