Community engagement is a process of facilitating communication and motivating everyone in the community to share their thoughts and insights. Community engagement makes people more aware and invested in the tasks of the community. It focuses on nurturing and growing the members consistently through various processes.
A more active community leads to stronger customer interactions and members, which has a direct impact on loyalty and lifetime value.
Benefits of Community Engagement
The advantages of community building and engagement are numerous. It helps in lead generation, brand loyalty, and user retention.
Remember that having an active and engaged community is significantly less expensive than investing huge money on Facebook or Google Ads to generate more leads.
Ways to increase engagement in an online community
1. Welcome new members
Greeting new users to a community is not a new idea, many community hosts overlook this vital step. Creators need to acknowledge and thank users for joining their community.
Make them feel welcomed and valued members of the community. This is one of the simplest but most effective community engagement tactics.
There are several ways of welcoming new members:
To greet members and highlight valuable information, send a welcome email.
Create a guided tour for members to learn about the important features, functions, and guidelines.
Create a short video that describes the community, what members will get from it, and how to interact with and contribute to it.
Creators can host webinars to better understand the new users.
2. Invite your social media followers to join your closed community
Most people have built a fan base through social media. Establishing a brand community, or fan following on social media might be a terrific way to get started.
When it comes to social media, though, there are a few flaws. The most significant of these is the impossibility to establish a closed, exclusive or even paid community. This stops users like you from creating their ecosystem, which requires people to buy it to join.
When it comes to bringing your users back to the community and increasing retention and activity, notifications are critical. Allow members of your community to connect immediately inside the messaging app by sending them notifications.
Deliver email digests based on members’ choices and actions to entice them back to the community and encourage them to connect with information that they care about.
4. Allow members of the community to express themselves
Remember that a thriving community is almost about users, not creators. Users discuss issues that are important to them, and people should encourage them to do so.
When members feel heard, listened to, and respected, they are more likely to stick around. As a result, community building and involvement become good retention tools.
User-generated content is an excellent approach to show your online community that you care about their ideas. It helps creators with engagement activities, by ensuring that creators are not the only ones posting content for their community.
5. Create fun content to entertain
A community is valuable if it brings delight to the members. Share amusing and interesting information with your internal team.
Overloading the community with promotional content is never a good practice. Include amusing features in your general posts as well.
Some fun activities which can be considered are:
6. Segment the user base to foster a thriving community
To identify the most active community members, group them into a cohort or segment. Then establish a cohort of less engaged members and non-engaged members.
This helps in building exclusivity in the community. Creators can identify the most engaged followers and reward their loyalty by giving them special access.
7. Build Trust
It is important to listen to members and understand their demands. But creators must ensure to act on the feedback. Building trust begins here.
Take action on the feedback, make improvements, and communicate the same.
Empower every member to have a say in the community’s development and ensure that their voices are always heard.
Conduct polls asking for feedback on different topics.
8.Encourage your users to put in some time and effort
Inviting your users to take part in community activities by investing time and effort will inspire them to return.
Creators can encourage users to build out a complete profile.
Organize competition for the best profile or the best bio.
Encourage participants to spend time on the task. Reward the winner with a special prize. This will encourage more participation by the users.
9. Make use of Gamification
Gamification is a great way to engage users in the community. Creators can create healthy competition in their community by including a gaming element. This will entice the members to return.
When a community member likes, comments, shares, or publishes, give them a particular number of points for each action. Creators can build a leaderboard system based on this.
Create an automated gamification process for common tasks, such as providing badges to members who make five posts, reply, or upvote another member’s post.
Create special groups and add members to those groups when they hit certain milestones in terms of contribution. For example, there may be a group of users who received 1000 upvotes for a single post.
10. Organize Contests
To encourage forum participation, creators can hold various contests in the forum with relevant prizes such as virtual currencies which are redeemed later.
Competitions are another way to encourage people to participate in community activities.
Create a challenge and reward the members who complete it. The challenge, for example, could be to create something using your goods. It would be even better if you could award virtual money that can be used to purchase your services.
Use Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) to encourage members to take action by promoting limited-time offers. For example, if your community is having a discount, you may post a special deal for your members and ask them to help spread the news.
Creators can run a “caption this” contest to encourage the members to comment on the images and GIFs, it aids in improving brand engagement.
11. Enjoy yourself and rejoice
It’s crucial to enjoy and celebrate achievement in the community. This motivates members to participate.
Address existing members who have met various milestones and are successfully adopting your solutions. Celebrate and share the modest victories with the rest of the community.
Surprise and excite your community members. Thank-you notes with gift certificates for the most active or valuable members go a long way.
Create videos that are more engaging than text and photographs. For example, video-based ice breakers.
To enable strong networking, announce “Happy Hours ” hangouts by grouping different members.
12. Build useful Networks
The better the interaction, the more intricate, widespread, and valuable connections you build in the community. It has a significant impact on the long-lasting community.
Allow members to follow or connect to get updates.
To bring like-minded people together, form sub-communities or niche interest groups.
Create virtual gatherings for “Happy Hour” hangouts by randomly grouping participants and enabling networking.
13. Be responsive
Communities are all about interaction. So, if you’re not responsive, none of your community engagement techniques will succeed. Read what others have to say, like and share your followers’ posts, write comments, and get to know them.
14. Go for effective moderation
Moderation is essential for keeping your community safe from spammers. It also aids in the control and elimination of members who may demotivate other members.
Ensure that you have a well-defined community guideline and members are aware of it. During the onboarding process, you can include a link to the guidelines or even explain the same to the members.
15. Feature excellent users
Implement monthly appreciation programs for top contributors. Reward the contributor who is particularly active in the forum. You can also hold monthly competitions to honour users who have the most innovative profiles.
16.Act promptly and positively
When members post ideas, issues, feedback, and suggestions to better the community or product, be open to them. Make sure to record the concern and convey it to the concerned team to look into it.
17. Use visual content
When it comes to community engagement, visual content is a must. A paragraph is far less engaging than a video or a photo. You can use free stock pictures to make your post more interesting even if you don’t have an image or video related to the subject.
When it comes to community participation, videos are the key, as people love consuming aesthetically appealing content.
Educate the users about your offering. Few suggestions for educating members are mentioned below:
To illustrate how your offerings bring value, create webinars and then share them with your community to spread the word.
Invite industry professionals to speak to your community.
Create a place in your community for members to discuss their experiences and lessons learned so that their peers can benefit as well.
19. Let the members speak
Create a liberal space where members can express themselves freely. It is an important aspect to drive engagement in the community.
Motivate people to ask high-quality questions, highlighting that asking questions is just as valuable as posting them. It can be beneficial if you have people that are unsure about their ability to provide accurate replies.
For members to share what matters to them, their experiences, and feedback on the community and your offerings, create channels like “Speak your mind.”