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Online Community Management: 3 Steps for Getting Members to Engage [Video]

Written by Katie Bapple | on December 2, 2015 at 9:03 AM

One of the greatest challenges that organizations face when increasing customer or member engagement is figuring out how to get their members to engage with one another within their online community.

After all, a lot of the value that people get from your online customer or member community depends on these interactions.

Here are three steps to help you steer your community members towards engaging with each other.

Step #1) Start Having Conversations with Your Members

Most of the time your members aren't going to make the first move when it comes to having conversations with other members. This means that you should take this opportunity to lead by example.

Reach out to your members! We recommend calling a sample of your members in order to figure out their interests, topics they would be interested in, opportunities they want out of a community, and the activities they would be likely to participate in.

After you've gathered this information, it's time to move on to the next step.

Step #2) Turn the Information You Got From Your Members into a Content Plan

It is very common when an organization starts an online community that your community manager is responsible for 90% or more of your online community's content for the first couple of months.

This gives you the chance to really set an example for your members and to tell them why they want to participate in your online community. Craft content that makes it clear to members why they want to participate, ask a question and how this will help them get solutions to their problems and be able to act like an expert within the community.

After you have drafted your content plan around the information that you received from your audience, you're ready to move on to the last step.

Step #3) Get Your Engagement Opportunities in Front of Your Members              

So, you just developed this great content that you specifically created to cater to the audience within your community. Now it's time for you let your audience know about all of this wonderful content that you just created for them.

This is the perfect time for you to reach back out to the members that you spoke with during your initial surveys. You can say something like, “based on your feedback you gave us, we created this great opportunity within the community that I would like your feedback on.â€

Another way to communicate these new offerings to your audience is through the use of curated email blasts. This a great way to craft relevant messages for the right audience. Because 91% of us check our email every day, this is also a great way to make sure that people are aware of your new content offering.

Online Community Member Engagement Takeaway

When it comes to getting your members to engage and have conversations with one another, waiting for them to start is not the best strategy. Who knows how long it will take them to make this first move. Instead, use this as an opportunity to set an example for your members.

So, first find out what your members are looking at through conversations, then develop content around their interests, and lastly, communicate that content to your members to get them interested. Once your members see the value they'll begin participating organically.

Nine low-cost member engagement strategies for associations.

Topics: Online Community Management, Member Engagement, Online Community

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