There’s something magical about having a community full of people who want to be there. But you know what kills that magic? Posting something only to hear crickets from your members.
The truth is, MOST communities could use better community engagement.
But if you’ve ever built a community, you know how hard it is to keep people engaged.
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 and asking some great questions.
Ahead, we’re walking through 9 community engagement strategies you can try to get your members more involved. But first, we’ll answer the question: what is community engagement?
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In this article...
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 - 9 ideas
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.
If you'd like to know what to expect in the life of your community, don't forget to watch the free training found in our Mighty Community!
Ahead, there are a number of ideas that are worth trying as you find the best methods to engage with your online community members.
1. Ask great questions
The #1 secret to online community engagement
If you want the super secret sauce to unlocking online community engagement, here’s the magic.
It might seem simple, and even counterintuitive, but questions are the thing that unlocks our very human need to share what we know or think – and thus unlocks online community engagement.
While so many creators are trying to create tons of content to tell their members and followers what they think, you’d be amazed at what happens when we flip this equation.
Ask them what they think.
Take a look at these unlocking phrases. How could you use these prompts to create great questions for your community?
If you want to sprinkle the magical pixie dust of questions on your community THIS WEEK, here’s some good news. We’ve written a guide of 1,000 Great Community Questions you can use to increase your online community engagement. It’s free to the members of our Mighty Community, which is also free to join… There’s also free training by our founder, Gina Bianchini: The Art & Science of Asking Great Questions.
But just before you skip off to get our monster guide to asking great questions, here are 10 to try right now.
Here are 10 community engagement questions you can steal RIGHT NOW!
- What’s one thing you want to get out of this community?
- If you could fast-forward to a year from now, what’s one skill you’ll be better at because of this community?
- What would be one clear indicator that you’re getting what you came for from this community?
- What’s one post in our community that stirred something in you, in the last week?
- What helpful piece of wisdom would you share about this community with someone who just joined?
- When you’re feeling frustrated or discouraged while learning a new skill, how do you deal with it?
- Do you prefer sprinting toward your goals, or moving more leisurely towards them? Explain.
- If you could have one celebrity or public figure join this community, who would it be?
- If this community had a theme song, what would it be?
- If you could gather the whole community at any destination in the world, where would it be, and what would we do there?
2. Diversify your content
If you built your following on social media, you probably got really good at one thing. Making short videos. Turning your thoughts into engaging text snippets of 240 characters. Taking great photos and adding filters.
It’s easy to think of yourself as a one-act show when it comes to content creation.
But the beauty of an amazing online community platform is that it gives you a whole plethora (oh yeah – we just said plethora) of tools to diversify how you engage your community.
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 based on the features of a Mighty Network:
- Discussion board posts.
- Photos and videos.
- Full-length articles.
- Polls and Q&As.
- Live streams.
- All-member chat.
- Online courses.
- Live events.
Here's what live streaming looks like in a Mighty Network!
3. Create a new member experience
Start off on the right foot.
Winston Churchill said that… probably.
When members come into a community, what do they get? Do they land in a stale forum with no visible activity and no cues for jumping into the discussion?
Or, do they discover a fantastic new member experience that launches them into their new community. Do they get a dunk tank immersion into who you are, and know they’ve found their home without even thinking about it?
The awesome thing about a community platform like Mighty Networks is that you can actually totally automate and customize your new members’ experience. You can decide what they get, and your network will send prompts to walk them through it.
You can learn more in this free training in our Mighty Community.
4. 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.
It makes people feel safe. And when people feel say, they engage.
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.
5. 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.
6. 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?
7. Try live streaming
If you want to add that sense of WOW to your online community, try live streaming! It’s a feature we added last year to all of our Mighty Networks, and it was instantly a hit. Hosts loved the ability to surprise their members OR to schedule a time to go live.
If you’ve never gone live before, some butterflies are normal. And it’s normal to say “um” more than you’d like, or to lose your train of thought.
That’s the beauty of going live. It’s REAL. So whether you practice or wing it, going live is a great way to increase your community engagement. Don’t forget, you can ask your members to join you, or they can follow along in the comments.
8. Host an amazing event
While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about the power of events for your community. If you’ve ever been in a great community event, you know what we mean. Whether it’s an engaging discussion on the meaning of life or a fantastic webinar that teaches you the skills you need to level up, an event does it.
Try creating an event for your community. You can set a discussion topic or prep a presentation if you want, but you’d also be amazed how much good stuff can come from an open-ended event like a “Happy Hour” or “Co-Working Hour.”
Don’t overthink it. Just get started and watch what happens!
9. 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.
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.
And if you're looking for a platform that helps you make the most of your online community, come try Mighty Networks! It's got all the features we talked about above, plus it's free to try.