Fixing the Online Community Engagement Struggle

If you build a customer community for your advocacy program, it really needs to be active. You want content that attracts other members to participate. This activity engages and nurtures your advocates and customers into relationships and activities in your program, at scale, with a lot less effort on your behalf.

But, getting to this point can be difficult. In fact, the biggest community-related problem I am regularly asked about is, “How do I get more community engagement?”

And, here’s how I would handle this:

Daily Community Outreach Routine

Look at your tech options; what data do you have on your members?

  • Has someone posted?
  • Commented?
  • Logged in multiple days?
  • Liked posts?

These members are interested in what you are building; reach out to them.

  • If they posted, comment in response, tag another member who can answer, then DM the post author to further the conversation.
  • If they’ve only commented, thank them, tag them, and DM to say you enjoyed their comment. Then ask a question relevant to the topic.
  • If they have only liked or logged in, DM and say Hi, I’m the Community Manager, what topics do you want to learn or share about?

Reach out to 10-20 people a day. You’ll quickly start building relationships that come in handy for the next recommendation.

Manually Curate/Create Community Content

  1. As you are building relationships, you can return to a member and ask them to post a question in the community.

    “Hey Jon, I enjoyed our chat the other day. Would you mind sharing a question in the community today? I’d really appreciate it, and I’ll make sure you get some answers. TY”
  2. If you reach out to 3 people a day, 1 is likely to post.

Now, what do you do when you’ve got someone to post?

  1. You have to make sure at least most of the posts have an answer. You’ll need to manufacture comments.

    You can do this in the same way you got a person to post.

    Once you’ve had discussions, you’ll learn what people are interested in discussing. Now you can go back to them and ask them to comment.

    “Hi Jenn, I remembered you mentioned working on sales enablement this quarter. We have a topic that was just posted about this, I’d love to hear you opinion.” And leave the link.
  2. I’d reach out to 3-5 community members for comments.
  3. Combine this with another approach listed here to get even more activity.

Promote Your Activity on Social Media

A community always needs new blood, and one way to get it is via promotions.

1. Share a social post with a reason to come ask a question in your community.

  • We’re having a contest today for a $10 gift card – enter by posting a question.
  • Our product team is asking your questions today ONLY, come post and I’ll make sure they answer.
  • If 3 people post a question today, I’ll get to host an AMA with us.

2. Send An Email of the Day to your audience

In the early days of a community, members are likely to be interested in new content daily. Share a quick email of the day with a post to comment on, a challenge to post, or a highlight of an interesting comment they should come read.

3. Bonus: Get permission to send it to everyone on your email list once a week or once a month; this helps with growth.

Get Team Members Involved

Your internal support is just as important as the community you are trying to build and support.

  1. Look for team members that are happy to participate, ask them if you can reach out to get a post or comment once a week. Then do it!
  2. Put them all in one Slack channel
  3. Ask regularly for help
  4. When few respond, reach out to them individually

Build Relationships & Provide Value

If you look into each of these practices, you’ll see that you are really building relationships; with your community members, with your team members, etc.

You want to get to know your members/audience, and provide them with value. As you do this, your members will respond.

But, remember, this is NOT easy.

Building engagement is taking apart the pieces of a conversation, even the relationship, and figuring out how to create each step to have great discussions and connections.

If you’d like to talk more, I offer consulting and can be reached on LinkedIn

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