One of the most common challenges of running a private online community is achieving consistent and continual engagement from customers or members. But that's nothing new to you"”in fact, you probably think about boosting engagement in your online community even more than we write about it - which is a lot.
There's a reason that ways to increase engagement comes up so often on this blog: it's important.
While it is important to maintain the health of your community, increasing engagement can be difficult. It takes time, consistent effort, and planning. However, the results that come with building a strong community are worth your time and resources.
Every organization that launches an online community fears that it will turn into a ghost town. Unfortunately, that's exactly what will happen if you can't get your customers or members to visit and actively participate. On top of that, engaging new members is an even bigger struggle when they log into your community only to find low activity and lack of value.
So, why is increasing engagement to your private online community such a challenge? Well, to put it mildly, you're competing with everything else on the internet"”which makes gaining and keeping your members' attention a big task.
The good news? There are lots of great strategies for boosting engagement in your private online community. While initially providing your customers or members with useful, exclusive content that keeps them coming back to your community is key, the type of content you're posting can make a difference too.
Video provides your private online community members with easily digestible content. While content in multiple formats is important in your online community, information they don't have to sit down and read is a great way to get their attention and motivate them to come back for more. Our society is very visual and the content in your community should reflect that.
With the success of video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vine, plus other social networks (like Instagram and Facebook) jumping on the bandwagon, it should come as no surprise that people increasingly want and are comfortable with video.
Video is relatively simple to create, but not many people are doing it, so it allows your company or organization to stand out. You can convey a detailed message in a short amount of time that is accessible to viewers and generates discussion in your online community.
If posting video content in your private online community's media libraries and blogs seems intimidating, don't worry. Here are ten simple types of videos you can post to improve your community's content quality and help boost member engagement.
Posting videos of your organization's senior management or your community thought-leaders answering a few quick questions is a great way to show your organization's human side and forge connections among your community members, in addition to bumping up your engagement.
Questions could be serious or lighthearted and interviews could be a regular series in your community. Picture "3 Quick Questions with _________" as a consistent video series.
Thanks to video tutorials, just about anyone can become an expert in just about anything. Posting videos that can teach the members of your private online community something new is a great way to increase the value of your online community.
If they think of your online community as somewhere they can go to figure out challenges, they're more likely to return to the community to seek answers and solve problems.
If you have a big announcement to make, increase comprehension among your customers or members with a short update video. They'll appreciate the effort and transparency. Video enables your organization to more easily set the tone for how your information will be received.
When changes or opportunities crop up in your industry, your customer or members are looking to your organization for clarity and guidance. Record a PSA-style advocacy message (public service announcement-style) that reminds them why you do what you do or where you stand on industry issues. This is a great way to keep everyone on the same page and communicate actions that your community can take to support industry initiatives.
Video event summaries are particularly valuable to those of your community members who can't always travel to conferences.
Conference wrap-ups are also good for future reference down the line when you're trying to remember what happened at a particular conference. You could even use actual footage from the conference if you plan far enough in advance.
Just as with how-to videos, people are draw to helpful content where they can solve a problem and gain new knowledge with easy instruction and minimal effort.
Recording webinars and making them available in your community's media library gives your members the ability to keep improving their knowledge base in your field. Webinar libraries also increase the value of your community as your archive of helpful video content grows.
The members of your community deserve to be recognized for their achievements and participation within the community. On the flip side, community members want to learn about others in their community.
Consider starting a "spotlight" series that compiles a short video introduction of this week's/month's featured customer or member. This allows your community members to further network with each other and build their personal brand.
These would be especially useful to people who might be new to your industry. Posting short videos that give insight into various concepts and regulations can help new members feel more welcomed and less overwhelmed.
Not only spotlights your vendor in a brief video give your community members extra quality content, but it can also help your relationship with your partner network. You can offer this "advertising option" as a perk in their vendor package to sweeten the deal.
Not all of the videos you post need to be original content created solely by your company or organization"”far from it! You can also include videos you've found around the web that you deem helpful or useful to your customers or members.
And, as a bonus tip on our list of ten:
This can be a little tricky to do well, especially if your members aren't video savvy, but putting out a call for video submissions or holding a contest can get those members who do know how to make videos more involved and expose members to each other, which helps build community.
Content adds value to your community, but it's important to make sure your content is valuable. Videos allow you to reach customers on a different attention level"”quick and visual"”and sets you apart from your competitors who aren't taking advantage of all video content has to offer.