Every community is different so finding ways to keep members engaged and excited requires running experiments and seeing what they like the most.
Below you will find ideas that you can steal or use as inspiration – and test in your communities.
Warm welcome & intro
Don’t overlook the value of having a standard welcome message that guides new members. You should include key channels, and resources you want them to check out first (like your community rules, etc.).
You might want to share a list of core channels/topics and let them know how they can discover niche groups, if any.
You should also include a few steps that describe how the new member can introduce themselves to the community. Ideally you have a dedicated channel/place for it and a template.
Depending on the purpose of your community, you might want them to highlight their experience, product ownership, interests, etc.
This should help inform the community about the potential value the new member brings and help existing members connect over a shared interest.
For bonus points, consider setting up weekly or monthly ice-breaker events along with fun ways for newbies to greet each other.
Online, your profile is your passport. A way for others to see who you are, what you’re about, and why they should know and trust you. For an online community, it’s passions, experiences, and opinions.
Profiles help members trust each other and connect in a meaningful way. So give a little encouragement.
Your community is built on a shared passion, so ask them to tap into that. You could even run competitions for the most interesting new profiles. Get creative!
Consider creating subgroups
In most thriving communities, especially larger ones, leaders notice trends in what members do and say and evolve the community accordingly.
For example, if you ran a yoga community and consistently saw members talking about practicing during their workdays, you could create a space dedicated to that topic.
This usually leads to deeper conversations and connections and shows you understand what your members want.
Another great community engagement strategy is to seek out your most and least engaged members.
If they’re quiet, you could offer encouragement to help them get involved more. If they’re loud and proud, you may be able to bring them closer to your inner circle and get their help.
Gamify member’s engagement
Gamification is the process of making something more playful, interactive, and engaging by tapping into our emotions and psychology.
Combining positive experiences, instant feedback, motivation, competition, and rewards, gamification keeps members hooked.
One basic idea you could try out is Top Fan Points, which you award members each time they participate in activities and honor on a leaderboard. What might you offer as a weekly prize?
Better yet, what game would suit your community’s vision or purpose? Fitness communities might host weekly ranked fitness challenges. Learning communities might award badges for completing a course.
Offer education or value exchange on a particular weekday
Depending on the type and purpose of your community, you could benefit from forming a habit around value exchange, for example:
- A Crypto community could do #AltMonday – every Monday members share and discuss new/cool altcoins they are investing in
- A product community could do #FeatureFriday – every Friday you run a poll to collect ideas on new product features that members want
- A leadership community could do #BLT aka Better Leaders Tuesday – every Tuesday you host a virtual lunch hour and share/discuss 2-3 leadership tips
The goal is to share useful resources or tips that support your communities value exchange and purpose.
When community members post for help or feedback, don’t sleep on the opportunity to engage!
Even if you are not the right person to answer, you should know your community members well enough to tag your team members or other community members who can provide the answers.
Our lives get busy and hectic at times, so tagging relevant people will make sure the request isn’t overlooked and missed.
Sharing member’s content
As you connect with your community members on different platforms, you could benefit from giving a shout out and sharing user generated content within your community.
Making sure you tag the right member-author will help them feel seen and appreciated and motivate them to share relevant content with the community moving forward.
People love being seen and feel valued so you could pick criteria relevant to your community and pick a member to highlight every week or month. This can help drive connection building, engagement as well as value exchange.
Create advocacy and ambassador programs
Advocates and ambassadors are anchors of a community, driving conversations, setting up events, and making newcomers feel welcome when they join.
When tapping into brand communities, advocates are extremely important. If you are interested in creating an advocacy program, you can find inspiration here.
Your advocacy program will be custom to your brand, product, and value to the community. It could be exclusive giveaways, free products, invite-only events, etc. that are only available to the most engaged members (based on clear criteria you pick) or given in return for an action (like sharing a tagged social media post).
Ask Me Anything
The classic AMA can be used in multiple ways. For example, you could do it with your team members (a community of product might want to AMA with your Chief Product Officer) or even AMA with a high-loyalty member or expert guest (a crypto community might want to AMA with a tax lawyer close to the tax season).
Have a watercooler channel
While your community can be focused on a very specific topic, you should have a place for fun and socializing.
Maybe members enjoy exchanging memes, sharing hype music, or simply sharing random things like an awesome podcast they recently discovered. Having a spot for shared fun will help members build deeper connections.
Contests and Giveaways
Aside from having loyalty programs, you can run contests and giveaways for the entire community. Some of the ideas:
- The best logo redesign
- The best packaging idea for a physical product
- Top 5 community-voted patterns for new socks line
- Picking community-created memes to put on a tshirt
Support a social cause
You could take a social cause direction and suggest that every month your brand will donate X% of all sales to a cause picked by the majority of the community members. Or you can offer community members to match their donations to particular charities once or twice a year.
76% of consumers expect brands to have a positive social impact on the communities in which they do business.
Virtual or in-person, hosting ice-breakers, happy hours, etc. is a great way to enable your members to meet up in a live setting.
You could also organize such events around a guest speaker or a discussion of a particular topic or news or update.
Private community might also be an interesting approach here!
Don’t shy away from partnerships
You could partner with another brand or community and develop ideas for collaboration: shared events, giveaway exchange, exclusive offers exchange, etc.
At the end of the day, you should keep in mind what your community members value and desire. Keep in mind your organization’s goals to be able to adapt it to your community strategy.
Your goal is to continuously facilitate that value exchange they joined the community for in the first place. That’s what community building is all about.
At the same time, you want to add elements of fun and excitement. So get creative!