If you’ve ever built a community, you know how hard it is to keep people engaged. But when you take the time to plan solid community engagement strategies, your job gets much easier.
We believe that a community’s success isn’t based on how big it is, but instead, on the depth of its member’s engagement. And having a clear game plan for increasing engagement in your community all comes down to understanding the wants and needs of your members.
Ahead, we’re walking through a few community engagement strategies you can try to get your members more involved. But first, we’ll answer the question: what is community engagement?
What is community engagement?
Community engagement is the level of interaction and activity within your community by your members.
“Engagement” is a pretty broad term though, so coming up with a community engagement strategy can be challenging. Luckily, we can break down the concept into a few different angles. Here are 3 community engagement ideas you can be thinking about:
- How do your members interact with YOU?
- How do your members interact with each other?
- How do your members interact with your content?
When you look at it from these three angles, you can begin planning community engagement methods that are best suited for each one.
For instance, if you’d like to have more interaction with your members, you could start commenting more on their posts. This drives more engagement between you and them. On the flip side, this method might not be an effective way to increase engagement between members. You’d want a different approach for that.
Now that we’ve answered the question, “what is community engagement?” we can look at some practical community engagement methods you can use in your own online community.
Tips for how to engage a community
We have compiled a series of community engagement strategies for you to explore that can increase engagement. An important thing to remember here is that every community is different and some methods will work better for certain situations.
Ahead, there are a number of ideas that are worth trying as you find the best methods to engage with your online community members.
Diversify the content you release
It feels good to get into a rhythm with your work, but it’s important to mix things up. What’s more engaging than seeing something new in your feed?
A great member engagement strategy is trying out different kinds of content. Have you ever heard about how people learn differently? Some people are visual learners. Other people are auditory learners. And some are tactile learners. This might sound complicated, but it basically means that different content appeals to different people.
This is a benefit for you!
This means that you can tap into all the different interests of your community by trying different forms of content. If you’re interested in what kinds of content you might try, here are a few ideas:
- Discussion board posts.
- Polls and Q&As.
- Recorded videos.
- Paid content.
- Online courses.
There’s a range of possibilities for diversifying your content out there, and best of all, it can be really fun to try new things.
Moderate your community
It’s important to give your members a space to express themselves on your community website. But you will also want to moderate what’s posted.
Moderating your community might sound harsh, but it’s not. Moderation is just another way of staying active and attentive to what your members are doing in the community. When you have good moderation practices in place, it stops things like internet trolling and helps keep a positive vibe in your community.
Additionally, as your community grows, you can actually make your most motivated members into moderators. This practice not only increases engagement between members, but it builds trust and loyalty in your members for you as a leader.
Because at the end of the day, the best community engagement strategies focus on providing your members with more opportunities to interact with you and others.
Create small groups
An online community is a group of people coming together to accomplish a common goal. But that doesn’t mean all your members are the same.
A great community engagement strategy is to create small groups out of your large member pool to better communicate with them. You might have a group of members who are more invested than the rest or have specific interests and goals in addition to the common community goal.
By creating smaller groups, you’re able to make it easier for these members to communicate with you and each other. In turn, by bringing people together, you’re creating more chances for members to form real connections with others.
Ask for member success stories
It doesn’t matter what your community is based around: People like to tell their success stories. Another good community engagement method is to ask your members about their success stories from using your product.
You can tell people how great your community is all you want. But hearing about it from other people always hits differently. We’re not suggesting your word isn’t valuable. It’s just that people put a lot of stake in customer reviews and stories.
If you’re wondering how this will help increase community engagement, think about it in these two ways:
- Deeper connections: Highlighting members’ success stories is a way to give back to people who support you. Showcasing their achievements builds deeper connections between you and them.
- You’ve got evidence: Your members’ success stories highlight their achievements and promote your brand. It’s a win-win scenario. By allowing others to talk you up, it shows that people are not only a part of your community, but they actually dig it too.
Taking the time to put the spotlight on others is a great way to build trust and increase engagement. Plus, who doesn’t like to hear that their work is helping others achieve their goals?
Ask your community for feedback
Do you know what is a great community engagement strategy for finding out what your members want? Asking them!
At the heart of all community engagement strategies should be a drive to better understand and deliver on your members’ wants and needs. A simple way of doing that is asking them what those are. And when you’re still confused, ask for more clarification.
Additionally, you can turn asking for feedback into a regularly scheduled event for your community. Maybe once a month you hold office hours either through a Zoom meeting or discussion board and discuss what’s been going well and poorly. This gives your members a controlled and safe space to voice their concerns and ideas with their fellow members.
Welcome new members
This might seem obvious, but part of building an engaged community is making people who join feel welcome.
A great way of increasing engagement within your community is to create a place for new members to introduce themselves. This will allow your new members to meet new people and it also sets the tone for what kind of community you’ve built.
You want a community where people feel welcomed and accepted, right? This is an easy step to help make that happen.
And in addition to helping your new members feel welcome, it communicates to your existing community the types of values you have. You’re saying to your members, “this is how we treat each other.”
Start a blog
Another great way to interact with your community is by creating a blog for yourself. A lot of what we’ve explored so far with community engagement strategies revolves around getting to know your members better. But it’s important for your members to know you well too.
When you’re willing to show your community who you are not only as a leader but also as an everyday person, that fosters engagement. We’re not saying you need to become a lifestyle blogger and tell your members what you’re eating every day or whatever else.
You can utilize the blog to simply express ideas on your mind, new features for the community, and new deals that you’re dropping in the future.
Additionally, a blog is a great way to build a following and create opportunities for organic interaction to happen amongst your members in the comments section.
Wrap it up
We’ve covered a bunch of community engagement strategies today. But remember, a community is nothing without its members.
Whatever direction you decide to take to increase engagement in your community, try to make sure that your approach has your member’s wants and needs as a top priority.
The next step is to start implementing some of these strategies in your online community. We’re looking forward to seeing what you do!