12 Must-Know Tactics to Drive Engagement in Your Online Community
Online communities are powerful! Sure, you would also have heard a lot about the success stories of online communities! You may be an entrepreneur, ecopreneur, solopreneur, or socialpreneur or perhaps you have a hobby and you are very enthusiastic about it. It is great to have an online community around that — the hobby, interest area, or your entrepreneurship. Especially if you are passionate about exchanging every aspect of it — ideas, knowledge, expertise, skills, needs, concerns, and so on.
But before going ahead, do you know why many online communities do not last long? Leave alone sustenance or leveraging the value. Many fold up even before people get to know about them or their importance. Some of them do not even take off. Largely because they failed to engage their members. The hosts/promoters of these online communities perhaps do not take enough consistent efforts to put their members at the center of their activities.
Online Community is Nothing without Engagement!
Sustainable engagement demands consistent curated content, and much more. And all that under specialized, able community management. Without smart engagement strategies, there can not be community spirit. And a sense of belonging. And so, no value in the community for either its developer or members.
The value of an online community lies not in its size but in its depth of engagement. No wonder, online community hosts and developers place community engagement strategies at the heart of their all-round activities and efforts.
User mobilization and engagement are absolutely vital for the success of an online community. To help start the process, strategies aimed at identifying and engaging new community members are crucial. But to keep the community and win its loyalty, well-crafted strategies are equally important.
Your community users must spend a lot of time on content and discussion. All that is emotionally stimulating and representative of their passion and identity. The key lies in your hand — keep your members and audiences deeply engaged.
But How to Go about It?
Engagement begets engagement! But engagement does not happen by itself. When your members or potential members visit your community for the first time, they look for answers to certain queries.
Most things they look for are in your control. Take the initiative to make them believe that your community is worth their time, attention, and actions. To make things happen throughout their journey on the platform. That is to make engagement for them as easy as it gets. And give them an unforgettable experience.
Every other community will have its own strategies. Here are 12 Actionable Tactics you can apply right away to make engagement in your online community meaningful and rewarding:
- Encourage members to express themselves
A vibrant online community is only about its members. On your platform, they would chat with each other about their passions, things they love, and what matters most to them. Encourage them to express themselves, share their experiences, and tell their stories.
That'll drive up user-generated content on your community platform. And this in turn will establish trust and credibility. Increase engagement and the online visibility of the community activity around your hobby. Or, entrepreneurship.
- Emphasize active moderation
It is crucial that your community users express themselves. It is also critical that you take steps to make sure your community members have a safe space. In which they respect each other’s views and opinions. You need to moderate the community to discourage trolling, bullying, and inappropriate behavior.
- Create effective UI/UX design again
You need an appealing user interface (UI) and a remarkable user experience (UX) to draw MVM users to your community website and to make them return again for their needs. Thus, UI/UX influences user engagement levels.
Initially, your users just glance to find what your community looks like and make an instant perception about your brand. Most researchers aver that it takes your platform users about 50 milliseconds to make up their minds. So, your UI is crucial. When they begin navigating, the UX of your design comes into play.
- Segment users to give an enticing experience
Segment your audience. Specific, focused knowledge about your community members helps you create personalized experiences. Knowledge about your core and most/least engaged members, their persona, etc. Thus, segmentation is a key strategy that helps you craft the right engagement plans. Such as rewarding the loyal members, and giving the less engaged users opportunities to get involved.
- Create an effective onboarding process
Have a humane onboarding process that makes new/potential members feel welcome. And makes it easy for them to find the answers they seek. With their expectations as your top priority, you can make the process super-efficient. This’ll turn the new members into contributors.
An efficient onboarding process will have: (a) personalized instructions, (b) precise information, (c) content guidelines, (d) suitable discussions/content, etc, as engagement opportunities.
- Be responsive and get engaged
Maintain exclusivity. But remember that your fans and followers expect to hear from you. So, be responsive and get engaged. Read and study what your followers and community users have to say via their postings. Like and share their posts, comment on them. Thus, get to know them more. This will go a long way in further boosting engagement in your online community.
- Craft engaging content
Ensure your content is laid out nicely. It reads well and addresses the users’ needs, queries, expectations, etc. Apply SEO best practices in crafting your content. So that they find the content on search engines and on your website easily.
Give your community a wonderful personalized experience. Create original, exclusive content (blogs, videos, music, lyrics, photos, drawings, documents, etc) relevant to specific locations, roles, and personality traits. This’ll unlock value for your community. Get the balance between promotional and creative content right. That'll make community engagement a joyful experience.
- Integrate social base into your community
Your social media engagement does not allow you to build an exclusive community of yours. Still, you can use your social media following to start growing your fanbase and community engagement.
- Host frequent online events
Host virtual events/webinars that include experts from your ecosystem and popular speakers. This is to onboard potential community members. Such events showcase your community’s authority and knowledge about the latest happenings. And the ability to engage large groups of contributors on specific ideas, topics, and trends.
- Utilize gamification as a powerful tool
Gamification is a simple yet powerful engagement strategy. Use gamification to encourage healthy competition within your community. Optimize user experience by gamifying it to make community activity more enjoyable and rewarding. It’ll involve extrinsic and intrinsic motivators that keep your community highly engaged. And coming back for more.
- Grab attention with persuasive calls-to-action
Design clear and catchy calls-to-action (CTAs) that lead to a landing page. CTAs are usually designated by a button, a graphic, or a text link. In a terse, actionable language that highlights the value. That will grab the attention of your potential/new members/audiences. The CTAs will not only lead your potential users to value opportunities. But also prompt them to your offers. Conversion of the offers will help you achieve specific business goals.
- Deploy simple, useful technology
What if your community registration form is not working? What if your community site loads slowly? What if your community users experience frequent downtime and even breakdowns? In the first case, a lot of potential members won’t sign up and, in the latter cases, the members won't stick around long.
To overcome these drawbacks, use simple technology that works. That can handle the volume of your platform. Use simple communication/engagement tools that help calling and texting, peer-to-peer texting, e-mail marketing, online conferencing, etc.
AtomChat can help you deepen engagement and build your community ecosystem. It is a versatile chat solution that easily integrates with over 30 platforms. And keeps your community engaged via group text chat, audio-video chat, collaborative tools, multilingual interface, stickers emojis, real-time translation, etc.
Online community engagement has caused countless positive changes. Largely, since the outbreak of Covid-19. We see innovations, experiments, investments, and creative juices flowing across industries globally.
You intend to boost user engagement in your online community. Unlock your community’s intrinsic value. Make availability of the value easy. Make participation of the members/fan/followers easy. Above all, have an efficient community management team to plan things efficiently and consistently.
The internet revolution has driven offline businesses to go online. Social networking has enabled businesses to entice even uninterested consumers. Entrepreneurs and enthusiastic individuals are tapping into the power of community engagement in innovative and inventive ways.
Now, it is the turn of the online community era to be one of the mainstays of the post-pandemic world.