Online communities present multiple opportunities for enhanced business value. They create an experience that helps businesses achieve their goals, whether it’s empowering customers through self-service support or increasing employee productivity.
However, many organizations struggle with how to build the engagement necessary to keep community members coming back. To combat this challenge, here are five quick tips to creating a vibrant and thriving online community.
1. Understand Your Audience
To generate engagement, you must create something compelling. Pre-populate your community with content – FAQs, videos, tutorials, and more – focused on your unique audience’s needs and interests. Also, remember to monitor questions asked and topics discussed. As your community changes, so should your content. Evolve your content to address new challenges and interests to keep users coming back.
2. Make the Community Easy to Find
It doesn’t matter how great your community is if no one can find it. Promote the community on your corporate website, advertise it on social media, showcase it in marketing collateral, and integrate it into your customer portal.
3. Reward Top Contributors
Community members want to be acknowledged for their contributions. To increase engagement, our customer, SAP Hybris, awarded the top 10 contributors of 2014 with a t-shirt designed for the occasion. Thanking and rewarding active members entices users who wouldn’t normally contribute to participate in the community.
4. Develop a Community Champion Program
Champions are the pillars of your community – they contribute quality content and constantly help others. For example, DZone’s Zone Leaders share their expertise with others, promote the DZone community, and encourage others to become MVBs. To increase engagement, regularly interact with your Champions. Invite them to join a Community Champion Program where they can share feedback and pitch ideas for community enhancements. You can even present a “Champion of the Year Award” to inspire members to take engagement up a notch.
5. Offer Exclusive Content
Keep users coming back by giving them something they can’t find anywhere else. Offer advanced notice on upcoming events, such as training and webinars. Or, post surveys asking community members to share ideas on new products or features.
For more engagement tips and community best practices, download our eBook, Success from the Ground Up: Building an Effective Online Community.