This post is a collaboration with buildwithusers.com – Weekly interviews on community building for software businesses. How the future is about building 'with' users, instead of 'for' them 🚀
If you’ve ever asked yourself the following question, this post is for you:
“what can I do to spark engagement in my community?”
I guess probably all of us did, as anyone building and managing communities wants them to be active spaces where people truly connect, return to, and get value from. Easier said than done. Especially in earlier stages, getting the ball rolling is hard. It’s up to you as a community manager to spark that early engagement.
We've created this post to help you with 10 practical ‘engagement recipes’ – formats that can help you experiment with new ways to drive engagement in the community you’re working on.
Of course, every community is unique, but there are definitely patterns and frameworks that work or can at least be used as a foundation for creative ways to drive engagement.
The recipes below are tailored mostly towards software-based, product-led communities but quite a few of them are applicable to other types of communities as well.
We’ve scanned dozens of communities to identify these patterns, and each recipe covers some real-world examples and pro tips for you to explore.
Before we dive into the high-level overview of these recipes: make sure to read the last part of this article for a little something extra Mac came up with! 🎁
Here we go:
One of the simpler frameworks to start your relationship off the right way with your members. And you can do this in a consistent matter fairly easily. Several things to consider:
- Welcome them in public channels
- Welcome newcomers via DM
- Welcome newcomers via email
This might be harder for large or scaling companies. Nevertheless, it adds a great human touch and gives a peek into who's behind a community and company.
Sharing community or platform milestones is a great way to stay on peoples' radar and build excitement around your mission/purpose. It's even better if those milestones involve or impact the community directly.
It's very useful to know who your community members already respect or what kind of experience could help people with their own goals. If you know, then you can invite their (potential) superheroes over for an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session.
When you offer a product or service that's more complex consider linking up more elaborate tutorials to help people get more value out of what you're offering.
Some friendly competition is a great way to engage any group of people. It's also a great way to attract new members. Giving people a stage to showcase their work or achievements, some cool rewards, and some time pressure are common ingredients for successful community challenges.
Sometimes a small tip can be just as valuable as a tutorial or course. Especially, when it helps someone save time or achieve more structurally. This is especially useful if your community is focused on a complex topic or skill (eg. programming, designing, music production), or a product that has a steep learning curve
As your community grows you'll have the opportunity to highlight your members. It can be to share what they have accomplished or it can be a showcase of their work or creations.
It's powerful to highlight people who lead the way. Raising their profile and work is an important sign of appreciation and may inspire other people to learn from that person.
Creating feedback loops allows you to observe or ask people what they care about AND use that knowledge to create content, resources, or features that are highly relevant to them.
When your community is related to a software service, feedback is a critical element of most communities. Make sure you keep track of requests and bugs. Preferably, you keep things transparent in terms of the status of those requests. Circling back on requests or bugs in public on a regular basis is a great way to show you are listening and thus establish trust. It re-assures people their feedback isn't going into a void
If your community is related to a software service, making product announcements is one of the earliest things you can consistently do. Make them fun, attractive and include a call-to-action, so people are compelled to explore them and implored to engage.
This isn’t an inexhaustible list of all ways to drive engagement, as every community is unique, and there are so many creative ways to go about this.
That’s why we’re offering some free input for your specific community if you let me and Mac know in the comments! 👇 Only two things we need:
- let us know if you're interested
- let us know where/how to join your community