Higher Logic Blog

Are You Making These Online Community Management Mistakes When Engaging New Members?

Written by Katie Bapple | September 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM

In last week's blog article, we covered four quick tips to convert new online community members into regular visitors and contributors.

Since this initiative relates to your online community's member engagement strategy, ”the source of our most frequently heard questions” this week, we're covering the topic again by tipping it on its head.

What Are The Biggest Mistakes Organizations Make in Turning New Members Into Regular Members?

Here are three of the most common offenses that have big impact on the health of your online customer or member community:

Mistake #1)NOT Establishing an Onboarding Process

Someone just finished registering for your community—now what? That's exactly what your new members will be asking if the community manager doesn't have an onboarding plan in place.

A welcome message is a good start, but turning new members into regulars takes more than just one email. Create a 30 day plan that has least 3 points of outreach targeted towards a member's first month in the community. Suggest a new, simple, and specific action in each message.

Mistake #2)NOT Tracking Related Metrics

Even if the community manager has a new member onboarding process in place, do they know that it is working? Most companies don't track the necessary online community metrics to know whether their efforts are yielding maximum results.

There are a few different data points I would recommended recording and comparing over time:

  • # of contributing new members monthly
  • % of contributing new members monthly ( = # of contributing new members/total # of new months for given month)
  • Click through rate (CTR) on all onboarding emails
  • Open rate on all onboarding emails

Capturing these numbers over time will help clarify what is working and what is not. Adjust and evolve the onboarding strategy accordingly to ensure these community building efforts are getting the best results.

Mistake #3)NOT Making Time for Micro-Level Tasks

When trying to build a community on limited bandwidth, it can be hard to prioritize tasks that impact a limited number of people, and rightly so. Community building is a numbers game. However, integrating one-off member outreach into the community manager's schedule is necessary and ultimately worthwhile, especially in the early stages of an online community. Don't skip it.

Building relationships with members creates a positive experience that will make them want to return and, in the long run, become valuable repeat contributors.

Set a goal to personally reach out to at least 5 members each week. Prioritize by contacting members who have made their first contribution; speak specifically to their contribution and express genuine interest in their overall user experience. Over time, this micro-level task will add up to major results. 

How to Fix These Community Management Mistakes?

Does your online community management process contain one of these mistakes? Don't worry, implementing new member engagement strategies doesn't have to be strenuous or time consuming.

Start by finding an effective welcome message (via data indicators) and move towards creating repeatable targeted and 1:1 outreach tactics. Look for opportunities for process automation once you have an effective plan in place, just be sure not to cut out personal human interaction.

Once your organization realizes the ease and value of correcting these three mistakes, you'll see that small changes can make a big impact in your online community.

Happy community building!