Maximize Community Member Engagement
Remember the four-step process of a community? If not, let’s jog your memory. The establish, manage, engage, and measure phases are the cornerstones of a strong community. Here’s the graphic again for reference.
Let’s shift focus to when you engage with your community. First, it’s crucial that every community manager defines what engagement means to their community and company. How do we engage users and measure whether we’re meeting our community goals? What kind of short and long-term goals are you aiming to see?
Understanding what engagement means for your company is important because it sets up the expectations to recognize active members. What makes up an active user? There are many different types of active community members, ranging from fans and advocates to helpers, experts, and socializers.
- Open Community Workspaces or Community Management.
- Select .
- Select Enable setup and display of reputation levels, then click Save.
. From here Erica can:
- Give each level a name, such as Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert. If you don’t assign a name, the default is used (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and so on).
- Edit the point range for a level.
- Add more levels by clicking Add a level underneath the list of levels.
- Click Save to apply the changes.
There are other ways to acknowledge important contributors, such as giving shout-outs on the home page or celebrating their contributions. Members stay motivated because they’re answering questions and helping out others. For them, the real recognition is becoming a community MVP.
Let’s say that Regina (remember our recovering marathon runner?) introduces her brother Andre to the brand. Because Cloud Kicks has a community up and running for customers, he meanders over to the site.
Right away, Andre notices that he can make a profile and post questions. He particularly likes the buzzing stream of information from other members on a wide variety of topics. There’s even a page for newbies like himself to get acquainted with the company and its products.
Unbeknownst to him, Andre is taking advantage of Erica’s adoption and engagement strategy. Here are the questions she considered when shaping her engagement strategy.
- What are 3–5 things that members need to do to onboard in the community?
- What type of member contributions are most important for her community?
- What is the main source of content consumed in the community? Is it company-generated (marketing materials, FAQs, how-tos, and so on) or user-generated (such as, answers, articles, multimedia)?
- Which community milestones does she expect to achieve in the next 12 months?
For the Cloud Kicks customer community, Erica has created pages to explain the onboarding process, community rules, and other general information to the user. For his profile, Andre is asked about his favorite type of Cloud Kicks shoes, favorite sport, favorite place to travel, and one fun fact about himself. The community also has a space for members to ask questions and post reviews of Cloud Kicks’ products, which it values and uses for feedback.
What about community growth? Erica’s mental clipboard has some high-level objectives.
Her short-term goals are to have a 4-hour response time for all questions asked and to build out an FAQ for new customers. With careful planning, she expects her efforts to yield 300 new members and release important polls about what customers want from the company.
Erica also wants to reward users who participate in the community using Reputation, which she’s already set up.
Michael, as the Cloud Kick marketing genius, takes the cake for the most enthusiastic posts and feedback polls. Because he’s active at least once a week and meets the threshold that Erica has set, Erica awards Michael the rank of Top Influential Contributor. In contrast, Andre starts at the bottom of the totem pole and is at the reputation level of Old Brown Shoe.
In the future, Erica and Michael can work together to translate community reputation into concrete rewards for their community members. The perks could include anything from discounts on shoes to marathon entry fees. These perks reward community MVPs, giving them a sense of accomplishment—one that others can endeavor to achieve.
In short, the Cloud Kicks community journey involves the crawl (or launch) phase, the walk (engagement) phase, and the run (build value) phase.
“Make a great impression.” That’s the golden rule we were taught to adhere to at all gatherings—from the first day of school to dinner with the extended family. Community etiquette is important to maintain company image and branding to customers.
Etiquette is closely related to the community’s audience. Is the community between your company and a partner? Or is it between a prospective customer and your company? The tone and voice when speaking to a partner is professional and open, whereas for customers it’s helpful and engaging.
Here are some general community etiquette guidelines. These rules, in addition to any moderation rules you set up in your community, make for a safe space where ideas rule.
Consider putting together a list of rules for user behavior and share them with your users. Rules greatly benefit the community and help set a standard of behavior. With the proper etiquette, your company makes a positive impression!
At the end of it all, Erica is reclining on her community manager relax-the-back comfy chair. As her communities continue to grow and Cloud Kicks grows bigger, she reviews and updates her goals to keep everything up to date. She focuses on always being able to define the purpose of her communities so that they’ll stay relevant with the brand. Pretty soon, they’ll grow big enough that they’ll only need regular maintenance here and there. How fast they grow!