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Community

13 Secrets to Increase Online Community Engagement (2024)

Are you wondering how to increase engagement in your community? We’ve got some ideas.

By Mighty Team

February 14, 2024

13 min read

IN THIS ARTICLE

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    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 create a solid community engagement plan, 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 the secrets to increase community engagement. But first, we’ll answer the question: what is community engagement?


    If you want more support in building your online community, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!




    ((toc))


    What is community engagement?


    Community engagement is the interaction and activity within your community by your members; it's the participation of your members that helps them to belong. However, we also think of community engagement as an action--the process of actively engaging members in a community.


    So community engagement is both a noun and a verb--it's the engagement we work at to help community members belong, and the sense of engagement once they do.


    In an online community, we're usually thinking about three things:



    • How do your members interact with Hosts and leaders?

    • How do your members interact with each other?

    • How do your members interact with the content?


    When you look at it from these three angles, you can choose community engagement strategies that are best suited for each one.


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    Why community engagement?



    • People's sense of belonging in a community is vital for their sense of self-identity. When your community engages members, you're helping people become who they want to be!

    • Community engagement keeps members satisfied, which is especially important in paid communities.

    • It gives you buy-in for whatever the aim of your community is.

    • Getting community members involved creates a sharing of power in a community that's vital for civic belonging.

    • Research shows that engaging in communities helps members feel that their experience is personalized.





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    How to increase community engagement


    As we go through these tips to increase community engagement, it's important to ask yourself: which of these fit your community and situation? Every community is unique.


    But these are proven methods for increasing community engagement that work in most circumstances.


    1. Ask great questions


    The #1 secret to online community engagement


    Community Engagement- Questions


    If you want the super secret sauce to unlocking online community engagement, here’s the magic.


    Ask questions.


    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?


    community engagement- unlocking questions


    Here are 10 community engagement questions you can steal RIGHT NOW!



    1. What’s one thing you want to get out of this community?

    2. If you could fast-forward to a year from now, what’s one skill you’ll be better at because of this community?

    3. What would be one clear indicator that you’re getting what you came for from this community?

    4. What’s one post in our community that stirred something in you, in the last week?

    5. What helpful piece of wisdom would you share about this community with someone who just joined?

    6. When you’re feeling frustrated or discouraged while learning a new skill, how do you deal with it?

    7. Do you prefer sprinting toward your goals, or moving more leisurely towards them? Explain.

    8. If you could have one celebrity or public figure join this community, who would it be?

    9. If this community had a theme song, what would it be?

    10. If you could gather the whole community at any destination in the world, where would it be, and what would we do there?


    Mighty Networks - Challenge Fam - Feed Paired Dark


    2. Create a new member experience


    Last year, we realized that we could predict with 93% accuracy whether a community would succeed or fail.


    It had to do with members. Did they join the community and connect to someone quickly?


    That's it. People stay in a community if they make a friend. If not, they leave.


    Help people make a friend and they'll stay. Help them connect at scale and you've got a great community.


    So it's vital to get people started and connected quickly. That's where a new member experience comes in.


    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?





    cottonweed GIF lo



    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.


    Magical new member experience


    We're now going even deeper on the automation and connections for new members, with something we call "people magic." Basically, we want to build a community engagement platform that makes connections easier than ever, finding people you know and helping members feel like they just landed at a party that was made for them.


    Our CEO--Gina Bianchini--wrote about this in a LinkedIn post. (Read it here.)


    3. Give them VIP access


    When you're a community Host, two things are often true:



    • You have knowledge and experience in something members want to get help with.

    • You know people your members would love to have access to.


    That means that just giving access can be a huge benefit of being in community.


    Members want to hear about what you know. They want to hear you candidly reflect on your journey, including your mistakes.


    And you can take the VIP access even further, by tapping your own network.


    For a masterclass in this, look at a successful podcast. Many podcasts live or die based on their guest roster--so a great podcast host knows to tap their network to bring their listeners conversations they value.


    An extreme version of this is "Smartless", in which Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett pull from celebrity friends to host conversations. It's cool.


    Smartless


    You don't need to have an A-List celebrity network to try this, though. Chances are, if you're active in your niche, you know people that your members would love to hear from.


    Go invite them!


    4. Highlight member successes


    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Body Soul - Page Paired Dark


    It doesn’t matter what your community is based around: People like to tell their success stories. And we like to hear success stories, especially if it's a story of how someone just like us achieved something we've always wanted to achieve.


    Member success stories can be used as testimonials. And there's a place for that.


    But there's something even more powerful about highlighting member successes to celebrate. To encourage those on the journey. To let people know they're not alone, and to create grassroots content that really resonates.


    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.

    • People can see that transformation happens: Your members’ success stories highlight that transformation is possible.


    5. Spotlight members


    Or, how about spotlighting members in a way that has nothing to do with achievement? Spotlighting members and their stories make them accessible--no matter who they are. Even if it's their first week in the community, spotlighting a member can help others connect with them.


    Taking the time to put the spotlight on others is a great way to build trust and increase engagement.


    Introduce them. Get them to talk about hopes, dreams, and goals. And ask the community to welcome them.


    6. Activate your supers


    Every community has what we call "supers." These are the people who show up, the ones who engage above and beyond. If you're already running a community, chances are you know who they are.


    These people who buy in are some of the biggest assets for community engagement, and it's not just because they comment on every post.


    Activate them. You can:



    • ask supers to send a personal welcome to new members

    • ask them to help with moderation

    • ask them to comment on posts that aren't doing much

    • ask them to create content or organize things


    Super members often want to become more engaged, and they're just waiting to be asked.


    7. Value free time


    Structured community activities are great. But there's also something awesome about creating space and free time for serendipity. For the types of community moments that let members actually meet people and have conversations. For the moments that build social capital. Or life-long friendships.


    Resist the temptation to overschedule your events, hangouts, office hours, etc., and create space for serendipity.


    8. 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.


    Moderation makes people feel safe. And when people feel safe, 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 way to increase community engagement is to focus on providing your members with more opportunities to interact with you and others.


    Moderation means:



    • members are safe from feeling bullied or victimized.

    • members are confident to share without fear.

    • members know they're seeing quality content that's not offensive or spammy.


    9. Create private Spaces


    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.


    Creating small groups out of your large member pool can be a great way to increase community engagement. 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.


    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Discovery Course


    By creating Spaces dedicated to different types of interests and content, you’re able to make it easier for these members to communicate with you and each other.


    Smaller Spaces have a bunch of benefits:



    • They're less intimidating for members to participate in.

    • They increase the chances of members forming deeper connections.

    • They provide an opportunity to focus and go deeper on content.

    • They create the core networks and relationships that can spill into the wider community and create cohesion.


    Go look at large groups of people and you'll see that many thriving communities have--at their center--smaller, core groups.


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    10. 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 is that it gives you a whole plethora (oh yeah – we just said plethora) of ways to diversify how you engage your community.


    A great way to nboost member engagement 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.

    • Photos and videos.

    • Full-length articles.

    • Polls and Q&As.

    • Live streams.

    • All-member chat.

    • Online courses.

    • Live events.


    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Courses and live streaming - Galaxy DAO


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    11. Try live streaming


    If you want to add that sense of WOW to your online community, try livestreaming! It's a really amazing way to add spontaneity and value to members.


    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Live Streaming - Miami


    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.


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    12. Host an amazing event


    We've talked about events a bit above (talking about guests and showcases). But let's take a moment to recognize the power of an event for increasing community engagement.


    Amazing events are awesome. If you've ever experienced an in-person or virtual conference about a subject you care about, you probably came away excited to take action.


    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.


    Mighty Networks - Graphics - MC - Mastermind EventSeries Paired Light


    Try hosting a virtual 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!


    We have a list of virtual event ideas here if you need them.


    13. Ask your community for feedback


    Another great way to find out what your members want is to ask them!


    At the heart of your push to increase community engagement 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.


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    Wrap it up


    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Live streaming


    We’ve covered a bunch of ways to increase community engagement. 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! It can do everything we talked about above, plus it's free to try.


    Ready to start building your community?

    Start Your Own Mighty Network Today!No credit card required.

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