Today, there is so much talk about how to increase member activity and engagement. Member engagement has become a buzzword for many creators, entrepreneurs, and brands today and many people have different ideas of what the term actually means.
Member engagement is more than the measure of how active your online community is, although it is an important piece of the pie. If you’re interested in improving your member engagement, then it is also important to do your due diligence in understanding how your members respond to the content you offer.
Ahead, we’re sharing 5 actionable tips for how to improve member engagement and better understand your member activity.
Understanding member engagement
Understanding member engagement is a complex and layered process. Many creators will think of engagement solely as the amount of activity happening within their community. While this is certainly a major factor, it’s not the only factor.
Before you can start improving member engagement in your community you must first identify what kinds of content your members are responding to currently. While you may think that you know what your most engaging content is at a glance, diving deeper into your analytics will reveal concrete actionable insights for you to roll with.
An important aspect to remember about improving member engagement is that your members are not a monolith. What we mean by this is that as your community grows, so too will the subcategories that your members fall into. Let’s break this down a bit further.
Your member’s journey
Thinking about your member’s journey is critical to understanding how to increase community engagement. A more traditional understanding of this would be your member’s “lifecycle,” in your community.
For instance, someone who has just become a member of your community will most likely be more engaged with certain forms of informational and introductory content than someone who has been around for a year.
Understanding where your member is at in their journey with your community will help you create more intriguing content for them specifically.
Every great journey has progression as well, sometimes content isn’t the answer for increasing engagement. If you have members who’ve stuck around for a long time, consider giving them other incentives to interact more like moderation, ambassador, or even guest speaker opportunities for your community.
Your member’s persona
Another great way to understand your member engagement is to create personas that encapsulate the variety of people who interact in your community.
Imagine that you’re running a stock market investing community. You might notice that your members fall into two specific camps: new investors looking to understand how to start their investment journey, and seasoned investors looking for specific information to expand their catalog.
Understanding what sorts of content will appeal to each group will improve member engagement exponentially because you’re building content specifically to appeal to their interests.
Similar to understanding your members journey, building out a member persona involves looking for key similarities and differences between your members. Again, while it might seem like you intuitively know your different member personas already, you will be surprised when you compare your thoughts against your analytics and build out an engagement plan from there.
Once you’ve taken an inventory of your most engaging content by the numbers you can begin to unravel how your members tick and what content they’re most receptive to.
Tips for improving member engagement
1. Create a compelling new member experience
Taking the time to create a compelling and engaging new member experience should be an essential goal of every online community. The onboarding process that you create for your community is so important because it is your chance to start out with an amazing first impression.
Improving your member engagement starts here. Instead of simply having a welcome greeting and thrusting new people into a bustling online environment they are unfamiliar with, building guide rails for them will help.
How can you do that? A simple way to spur member engagement from the start is to create small groups for new members to join. These groups allow members to meet others in the community and learn together.
Other options are creating a list of guidelines for how members interact with each other and pinning an “introduce yourself” post at the top of your community where anyone can comment a short introduction about themselves. This allows new people to quickly find others similar to them and form connections themselves.
Remember, the point of new member onboarding is to create a sense of orientation and excitement for people who’ve just made the decision to join. Increasing member engagement is tied to this idea as well.
When someone feels excited about the decision they’ve made, they’re more likely to engage in the community.
2. Communicate regularly
Another great tactic for increasing member engagement is to regularly communicate in your community. This communication can come in a number of forms: creating new posts, questions, resources, live streams, and announcements is one way to get people talking.
Another action you can do is comment on member posts. Instead of just offering congratulatory comments, consider pushing your members to think deeper, offer additional perspective, or post new questions within their post to keep the conversation going.
3. Ask for feedback
No matter how successful your community is, there’s always room for improvement. A great way to strengthen your community experience and improve member engagement is to ask your members for feedback. Asking folks what is working, what kind of content resonates with them, or what they weren’t that interested in is an important process for you and your members.
When your members feel comfortable telling you what’s on their minds, then they will be more likely to interact in your community, further increasing your member engagement.
Asking for feedback doesn’t need to be a big deal either. You could create a simple poll post on your Mighty Network, a text post, or even live streaming within your network and having a Q&A. The most important part is to make sure your members feel comfortable enough to give you their honest feedback.
4. Charge for membership
This might seem like an obtuse angle for improving member engagement, but hear us out. People pay attention to what they pay for. When you charge for a membership to your community, your members are incentivized to engage more to get their money’s worth out of their investment.
Online communities that charge have the highest engagement—across the board. In fact, out of over 11,000 Mighty Networks, the ones that charge have an 11-37% higher engagement rate.
The numbers speak for themselves, if people don’t have to pay for something, they’re less likely to value it.
That’s why, one of the simplest and best ways to improve member engagement is to charge something.
5. Create live experiences
Member engagement isn't just built on comments and reactions. One of the best places to improve member engagement is in your community events. It’s easy to fall into the trap of simply posting content, commenting on members’ posts, and calling it a day.
But if you can offer your members things to look forward to in the future, you will increase the energy and excitement of your community. Livestreaming, virtual conferences, networking events are all experiences that will help improve your member engagement.
The best online community platforms will also have tools in the way of creating live events that will help with member engagement. On a Mighty Network, you can native live stream within your community, and then release the recorded event as content for those who couldn’t attend (Watch Tom Buck talk about how he's using the Go Live feature in his Mighty Network).
The most engaging kinds of events are the ones that are both fun and educational. That doesn’t mean you need to exhaust yourself creating in-depth webinars that will teach members complex ideas. What it does mean is creating space for people to express their expertise and revel in the unexpected. Remember that some of the greatest community engagement moments will come from the unscripted events: the hangouts, Q&As, happy hours, etc.
Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that every community event needs to be a dump of information! Focus on connection instead. Connection breeds member engagement.
Mighty Networks is the best place to grow your online community
Improving your member engagement is a marathon not a sprint. The important thing to remember is that the best way to increase member engagement is to stop yourself from being stagnant. People change all of the time, and with that change comes opportunities to try new things that might appeal to your audience.
To facilitate this kind of experimentation, you’ll want a platform that is jam-packed with features that help you bring your creative visions to life.
Mighty Networks gives you access to a plethora of tools to build a thriving community. Everything from online courses, virtual events, native live streaming, paid memberships, and much more. You also get a powerful website builder that gives you the tools you need to deliver your awesome content.
On top of that, with a Mighty Network, you’ll be able to offer all of these pieces together under your own brand, instantly available on web, iOS, and Android. What we’re saying is the platform can not only give you the features you need today to improve member engagement, but also that it’s built to grow with your business aspirations.
Let us help you bring your community to the next level.