One of the strongest and most impactful ways to improve community engagement is by asking a question (or prompt). Users always need help in getting the conversation started. Community engagement is very much like a snowball effect. Each conversation and activity is going to build upon itself.
If you, as a community manager, can help create a foundation of consistency and engagement, users growing together become an extremely close-knit community over the life of your network.
How do you get the conversation started?
Start with your objective! Clearly define the value exchange you want to have between…
- Your Brand to User Exchange
- Your User to User Exchange
How do you want those two connections to overlap?
Remember that not every question and discussion needs to relate to your business. Increasing your bottom line shouldn’t be your main objective when using a community platform to communicate and create connections with your audience. Engagement, discussions and relationships in and of itself is worth its weight in gold.
After replies start rolling in, acknowledge every reply.
Yes. Every. Single. Reply.
It may feel tedious, but validating replies and making each member of your network feel “heard” is an incredible (yet simple) strategy to grow the snowball effect. This can be accomplished quickly and simply with a ‘like’ or you can dive deeper by thoughtfully responding back to open up the dialogue. Once you have a reply strategy you have to stick with it because you’re setting that expectation for users moving forward.
Why is community engagement so important?
Because it helps build stronger relationships, and stronger relationships mean that you’ll drive higher brand loyalty. Loyal users are cheap marketing and increase the perceived value of your brand and network.
Scheduling prompts 2-3 times throughout the week is a consistent flow that you should continue with. It also allows time for users to connect and post their own original thoughts to the community. Once you get that first reply on your prompt, it’ll be easier for that user to engage without coaching.
- Industry tips relevant to your audience
- New member posts to welcome and introduce
- Post special coupon codes or incentives for your users
- Host a giveaway contest (for a product, a gift card, an Apple Watch, etc.,)
- Shout out posts for top contributing users by week or by month
Business Networking Communities:
- How does your business give back to your local community?
- What software makes running your business more efficient?
- Where did you start your business? In your garage like Steve Jobs?
- What’s one advantage you think you have above your competitors?
- What’s your favorite healthy meal?
- What supplements help you recover from muscle soreness the quickest?
- Do you stretch before or after your workout?
- What brand makes the best workout clothes?
- Ask for user-generated content with a specific item to feature in your marketing campaign
- Post exclusive hints about an upcoming product release and give first access
- Share prototypes & color palettes for consumer feedback
- A great first step to jumping into live video is to identify your top FAQs and answer them in a weekly video series.
Honeycommb is the best consumer-grade, complete, user capture and engagement solution in the world that gives you total control and ownership over all data and content in your custom social network.
Interested in learning more? Here are a few more resources for you: