How important is community engagement to you?
It is easy to think that the success of an online community can simply be measured by looking at its size. However, member engagement is crucial for an online community’s success. This is because engagement:
- Contributes to your organisation’s mission and goals
- Build stronger connections within one another and with your organisation
- Jumpstart organic conversations
- Attract new members to join the community
- Create opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange
- Create valuable user-generated content
- Spark loyalty and trust
To help you create a more engaged online community, you can take a look at the 7 inspiring engagement ideas below:
1. Create fun and light-hearted groups
Not all community groups have to be goal-oriented, purposeful and serious. Creating a few groups that are a bit more frivolous and fun will introduce some levity into your community and immediately spark more engagement.
Some examples of fun groups are:
- Pet Owners Club: Share pictures of your furry family members.
- Community Playlist: Share your favorite music and create a community playlist.
- Gamers Group: Organize online or in-person game nights.
- Hobbyists Group: Share your hobbies and interests with one another.
- Memes Group: Create and share funny internet memes relevant to your community.
- Movie Club: Discuss, review and recommend excellent movies and series.
2. Set up structured discussions
Schedule structured discussions around key community topics to draw members into an exchange of ideas and opinions.
When picking a topic, think of a question that can elicit agreement and disagreement (don’t be shy about creating a little bit of healthy controversy!).
Make sure the discussion is set as a special time-based community event to generate more attendance.
Open Social’s Discussion extension allows community managers to schedule a community discussion and drive engagement easily:
- Set a unique topic for the discussion.
- Publish it to a specific group or the whole community.
- Select a moderator to facilitate and lead the conversation.
- Add a start and end date for the discussion to turn it into a unique community event.
3. Give regular member shoutout
A shoutout or public appreciation post can make members feel like they are seen and that their contributions are valued.
Making members feel like they are appreciated will lead to increased involvement in the community.
What’s more: seeing member appreciation posts will spur other members on to get more involved and earn a shoutout of their own!
4. Add gamification elements
Gamification is more than simply throwing badges and point systems at a platform or online community and thinking that it will work.
To foster community engagement using gamification you have to decide which community activities or actions earn points – and how many points they earn compared to other activities.
From there, you can start to create challenges that members can complete to earn badges or points – and stimulate engagement by letting them display their achievements publically!
Want to learn more? Read “How Gamification Turns Your Community Users into Super-Members”
5. Use more multimedia
According to a recent study, 82% of all online content will be video by 2022.
This means that your members will expect more and more video content on your online community as well. Text-heavy content won’t get the engagement you need.
Open Social has added a video upload extension, as well as a photo album feature, to help community managers leverage multimedia for more engagement.
Should you embed videos or upload them?
While many community platforms allow you to embed Youtube videos, Open Social lets you directly upload videos to posts, comments and other content. This allows you to keep members on your platform, instead of having them click on a video recommendation within the Youtube player and exiting your platform!
6. Create community awards
Award a monthly prize for top posts or community contributions. The prize may be a virtual badge or something nice like a t-shirt.
Or what about sending a handwritten thank you note in the mail with some chocolate?
7. Answer posts that don’t have any comments or responses
If members post content and no one interacts with it, they will lose interest in creating more content. Moreover, other members won’t be incentivized to create their own content when they see no one is interacting with posts on the platform.
Keep an eye out for any comments, posts or content that doesn’t have any comments and promptly respond to them in a thoughtful manner. You can easily jump-start engagement with member-created content this way.
Want 24 more inspiring engagement ideas?
The ideas above are just a few of the ideas included in our new 31 Community Engagement Ideas eBook. You can download the guide for free here and have all 31 ideas right at your fingertips.