Onboarding tips and tricks from Community Chat members!
Community Chat Weekly is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts and thoughts from various community managers.
On Wednesday we hosted our second Community Chat Virtual Hangout, a chance for members to connect face-to-face over a Zoom call. Our discussion topic of choice was 'new member onboarding.' Onboarding is critically important as it sets the tone for new member experience and provides an opportunity to get them engaging on day one.
We talked about onboarding processes for communities of all shapes and sizes, both digital and in-person. We’ve summarized the great insights that were shared so hopefully you can learn something to improve your own community onboarding!
Don’t miss the next Community Chat Virtual Hangout! Join the community
When you join the Community Chat Slack, you get a message from me, welcoming you to the community and asking that you set a profile picture and introduce yourself in the #introductions channel. The goal of the Community Chat Slack onboarding process is to provide a warm welcome to new members, and get them engaging from the moment they join.
We also wanted existing members to be welcoming to new members by replying to introductions. Rather than telling members to do this, we set an example by doing it ourselves. For the first 50 or so members, Jacob and I personally replied to each introduction, welcoming each member to the community, and often doing our best to start a conversation based on their intro.
As the community has grown, we’ve seen other members pick up the torch, following our example in welcoming members, often even beating us by being the first to respond! We never explicitly asked these members to do this, they’re just following the example we set.
Preet, who runs DesignX requires new members to be approved before they get an invite to their community. Prospective members receive an email after applying with links to resources to check out while they wait for approval.
Arielle, the Chief Relationship Officer at Parlay House has a very interesting process for their in-person community of women. Members can only receive an invite if an existing member brings them as a guest to a community event. This gives prospective members the chance to attend an event and experience Parlay House before properly joining, and also ensuring that they know at least one person at their first event! This member powered +1 onboarding has enabled Parlay House to grow 100% organically!
Shalvi is building a private community for doctors and wants to make sure that new members are empowered to get the most value out of the community. To achieve this goal, she personally onboards each new member over a call, screen sharing and walking them through the community. Each new member also receives a playbook about getting the most out of the community.
Charlie is the creator of Weekend Club, a community of indie makers that meets on weekends to work on their projects together. It’s an interesting hybrid of in-person and digital, with new members automatically getting a Slack group invite and community guide after they sign up.
Charlie then sends each new member a physical welcome package, which includes a handwritten note, coasters, stickers, and a free drink voucher for his adjacent community Indie Beers. Extra work for sure, but that personal touch certainly makes new members feel welcome!
There are many different ways of onboarding and welcoming members into your community, but they all share a similar goal - getting new members engaged from the moment they join and delivering value to them on day one.
The question of the week came after the content this week, shaking things up!
What is your onboarding process for new community members?
Let us know by replying to this email or joining the discussion in our community.
Want more onboarding tips? Our very own Community Chat members Blake Etheridge and Rosie Sherry are hosting an interactive webinar on the onboarding secrets that the Indie Hackers community uses. Check it out here.
Private digital campfires are the future of online communication 🔥👩💻
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A handful of recommended readings from the past week.
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A ritual is a repetitive activity with a fixed structure and with a clear purpose. Communities should have their rituals which make them unique, with rules around the onboarding process, community gatherings, and celebrating community successes. Find some inspiration for your own community rituals in this article.
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