7 Steps to Revive Your Online Community and Increase Engagement5 minute read
Creating an online community around your business is easy. All you have to do is sign up for Heights Platform and set up your community space alongside your digital products.
What's hard is actually growing a thriving online community and engaging your members over and over again.
So if you already have an online community, and you want to find some inspiration on how to spark engagement, you are in the right place. Keep reading below to learn our advice on how to grow an online community and increase member engagement.
If you are completely new to the concept of online communities, check out this article first: Why You Should Build an Online Community of Engaged Customers and How to Do it
Studies show that 55% of the members in an average community are inactive, meaning they don't engage with other members or share content. So how can you decrease this percentage in your own community? Let's find out:
#1: Welcome New Members
How many times have you joined a new community or Facebook group without being acknowledged by the host or other members?
Joining a new community can be intimidating, so make it easy for new members to start engaging by personally welcoming them into the community.
There are many ways you can do this: you could send s personalized email to new members, or welcome them through a private message or even mention the new members in the group chat.
Personally welcoming new members will make them feel welcomed and appreciated: new members will be more comfortable sharing something in the chat, introducing themselves and keep engaging with the community in the long run.
Not to mention that whenever a new member joins the community, that's when they are most likely to interact with it, so it is a good idea to harness this moment by inviting them to engage with the content in the community.
#2: Make Members Feel Special
People join online communities for a few reasons: to connect with like-minded people, learn more about a certain topic, gain feedback and be part of something exclusive (especially when it comes to paid communities).
It is important to offer a clear reason why your members should stay in your community.
Together with creating a safe environment and sharing great ideas, try offering them exclusive content or special "gifts" only reserved for the community members.
This can be as simple as offering free group calls for the members or releasing your new products to the community first. The latter is also a great strategy because it can help you gain validation and important feedback from people who know your brand from the inside out.
For example, let's say that you are planning to create a new online course. Once completed, you could offer beta access to your community members (either for free or at a discounted price), and then release the course to the world after a couple of months - just an example.
This way, you are both making your community members happy and feel special, while at the same time they will go through the course and offer you insightful feedback on what can be improved, and you may even gain some reviews and initial sales.
#3: Share Content on a Schedule
You already know that in order to run a thriving online community, you need to interact with the members and share content.
The frequency of how you share content or create a new post or topic in the community also plays an important role in the overall level of engagement.
Try to be as consistent as you can with your posts to grow engagement steadily and keep the community active all the time. Depending on your schedule and availability, set goals for how frequently you are planning to share new content with the community.
Organizing ideas with a content calendar can help you become more consistent and create a structured timeline for your posts. Building a routine for sharing certain types of posts on certain days will not only help you stay more organized and efficient, but it helps your members know what to expect.
#4: Invite Members to Share and Participate
There is nothing more discouraging than building an online community with lots of members, only to see that you are the only one posting and no one else is engaging.
This is why incentivizing your members to participate in the discussion is a must if you want to avoid talking in monologues.
With anything you share in the community, always think about ways to "ask" your members to respond and participate. This can be as simple as asking an open-ended question in your chat, mentioning other group members in your post, commenting on other people's posts, and so on...
If you want to take this to the next level, you could also make it a mandatory task for your online course students to post something in your community or ask a question. This works if your online course is linked with your community.
For example, in your online course's introduction lesson, you could ask your new students to head over to the community area and write up a post where they introduce themselves and share their goals with the community.
We talked about a similar strategy in one of the episodes of our show, The Creator's Adventure:
#5: Create Weekly Events
Many online communities try to create recurring events where members can engage in different activities.
For example, you could start an “Ask-me-Anything Tuesday,” where you invite members to share their questions every week on Tuesday for a set time.
This works well because:
- You are creating a recurring event that people are more likely to remember. As it happens every Tuesday, it gives them an incentive to log into the community at least once a week.
- You are incentivizing your members to participate, increasing the engagement levels in your community.
- You are creating a safe space by pushing your members to ask all the questions they might have - even the ones that they wouldn't normally ask!
This is just an example but there are countless events and activities you can set up to keep your members engaged. Other ideas can be to reserve one hour each week for a live group call to get to know each other better (or even meet up in person if you are in the same town!), or start a contest, share a specific type of content on a set day and so on...
#6: Celebrate Achievements
Your community members are a big part of your business. They are proving you with revenue, feedback, free marketing and brand trust.
So don't make this a one-way relationship: instead, celebrate your members and their achievements.
Honestly compliment every small victory that your members achieve, set up challenges for them to complete, and praise your winners. Depending on the theme of your community, try to think how your members would feel most appreciated.
If you have time, try to also talk to them individually. A small example could be to celebrate your most loyal members by congratulating them for being an important part of the community, or by tracking their community "anniversary" and letting everyone know about it, maybe also by offering something small in return.
#7: Strive for a Safe Space
If your community is not performing as you imagined, it might be because the members don't feel that they are in a safe space.
This can be a common issue, especially in free communities where anyone can join. Fortunately, the solution is simple: create a set of rules or guidelines for the members to follow and actively moderate the community keeping your members' interests in mind.
As an example, your community guidelines could instruct members to avoid self-promotion and spammy posts, negative comments and harsh criticism, and so on. It is helpful to build your community in this way from the start, and doing so will make it easier for new members to get a feel for how the community behaves when they see the posts that exist there already.Create Your Online Community