Creative (and simple) community engagement ideas you can use
The Ideal Scenario
We would all agree that the ideal online community is bustling with activity and collaboration; however, it is much easier to simply discuss that concept than it is to achieve it. If you find yourself in the position of managing a community or leading a team with community oversight, you are ultimately responsible for producing engagement and creating activity. UpSquad offers up a few ideas that you can implement immediately and begin creating the momentum that will help propel your community forward.
Lead the Conversation
This has to be one of the most basic concepts out there, but it is often and easily forgotten. Simply create posts and questions that will get your community talking. Start by selecting topics of interest based on your community members and their personalities. Take a look at past email campaigns - which had the highest open or click rate? Review your social media accounts and find the posts with the most comments. Once you have identified a handful of topics, schedule one topic per week and post a question for your community to answer. You should see a significant increase in the activity within your community and that activity will help draw in members you may not have heard from recently.
Another popular conversation starter is a traditional “Ask Me Anything” (or AMA) session. What you need here is an ‘expert’ on a popular (or even ‘controversial’) topic you can promote as being available to your audience on a given day and time. These sessions provide the opportunity to create content and announcements leading up to the actual session and additional opportunities after the session. Here is a quick snapshot of how an AMA session can be rolled out:
One month out: Select the primary topic, the associated expert and confirm a date/time
14 days out: Meet with your expert to review what types of questions they may hear during the session, begin messaging your audience and community to RSVP/’Save the Date’, and request questions from your members that they would like to ask the expert
7 days out: continue promoting your AMA session (social media/email/within the community), consult with your expert on pre-submitted questions
AMA day-of: final alert of event to entire audience, start the call and open a discussion thread on your social feed
1 week after: utilize content from AMA event to re-engage audience members who did not attend (send emails, use targeted posts)
Make Your Members Feel Uniquely Special
Try creating a post each week or every other week that highlights one of your core audience or community members. This tactic will serve multiple purposes: first, fellow community members see true value in peer-to-peer learning. Secondarily, you create loyalty with the highlighted members and they feel special, which is never a bad thing. These highlighted members can also be potential community ambassadors or brand advocates further down the road. Additionally, members receiving this additional exposure can view the opportunity as personal brand building and a chance to grow professionally. Look at these traits when identifying audience members to use for your highlight:
- Members who post, comment and engage with content on a frequent basis
- Members who are tagged by colleagues
- Community ambassadors and organizational thought leaders
Standard Operating Procedure
Community Standards are activities and traditions that happen on a regular or periodic basis within your online community. These activities build engagement by developing opportunities for audience members to frequently connect with each other. Community standards are conducted daily, weekly or monthly - the key is consistency. A daily ‘question for the community’ posted by a moderator is simple and can be effective for creating collaboration, as long as it is done consistently. Other ideas include a ‘photo of the week’ posted on Friday mornings. Some communities ask their members to submit photos throughout the week and the ‘winner’ is selected on Friday mornings. Types of photos can be dictated by the community - if you manage a service nonprofit community perhaps the photo is based around members helping others. If you manage an educational program, the photo can be of student activities or classroom projects. The ideas are really unlimited, but do require effort in order to be successful and meaningful.
Charge Up Your Audience
A major opportunity for most online communities is not growing the size of your community, but rather reengaging members who may have grown quiet and become inactive. Acknowledging this issue is step one - step two is developing simple and effective steps for reaching out to this segment of your audience.
- Develop niche groups led by community ambassadors to actively reach out to inactive members via instant messaging
- Create an email campaign utilizing your community’s dashboard to directly contact inactive members
- Actively create posts on your social feed targeting inactive members asking them to participate in a survey, poll or community-wide question
- Create a Squad or group for inactive members and work to understand why their participation levels are lower than others - we have seen amazing results from simply asking members to more actively engage
Interested in learning more about engaging your audiences of members inside of your online community? Contact the UpSquad team today and let us provide a complimentary assessment of your current efforts.