You know as well as any that running an active, engaged community is hard. You spend so much time encouraging people to join your community and experience the initial spike in traffic, engagement and interest.
But over time, interest falls and people become less active.
So how do some influencers manage to keep their community full of active users when others can’t? It’s simple: they follow three strategies that keep their members consistently coming back for more.
In this post, we’re going to outline the three strategies you can implement today to transform your community from a ghost town to a thriving place people are happy to be a part of (and pay for).
Why an engaged community is important?
Keeping your community engaged has a multitude of benefits. Not only do you get to have a direct line to the people who help keep your business running, but you get to provide people with a sense of belonging and purpose.
When community members see an inactive community, the likelihood is they’ll find another place to go. You need to create a space people care about. Somewhere where the content and community members is an integral part of their lives.
Doing so will not only keep your current members active and engaged but encourage them to invite their friends, colleagues and network to join too.
How to keep your community engaged?
When a new member joins your community, it’s often hard for them to understand how to make the most from it. In essence, when a new member joins, you need to guide them to the right places and show them how your community operates. Every community is built differently and has different processes and rules.
By creating an onboarding process for your new members, you give them a sense as to why your community is important for them and how to make the most of it. In short, show them what’s it in for them.
You could try encouraging new members to create an introduction post that others can comment on. This helps everyone know each other better as well as providing a sense of belonging.
Example: When a new member joins your community, send them a copy of your FAQs. This should outline key questions people might have about how your community works and how people can gain the most from it. You ideally want new members to get a glimpse of your community culture from the start. This way, they won’t be afraid to comment or get involved.
Promote your promoters
Within every community, there are naturally members who are more active than others. It’s critical that you identify these people and promote them within the community. Not only does this give them a sense of support and ownership, but it shows them that you care.
When you give kudos to the people who interact with your community the most it creates a feedback cycle that keeps them active and provides you with insight as to why they enjoy being part of your community.
With that said, it’s imperative that you speak with your top community members as often as possible. Listen to their feedback and use that to improve how you run your community.
It’s not just about your promoters, though. Instead of just sharing your own content, find ways to share other members content. Share their work and recognise them as people who are doing well. They’ll reciprocate your loyalty and will feel impelled to stay an active, engaged member.
At the end of the day, if your community members don’t get any benefits from being in your community, they have no reason to return. Have a look at the content you share, the topics you discuss and ask yourself whether or not this information can be found elsewhere. If you start to see trends where your community is full of rehashed ideas and content – you need a refresh.
By giving community members exclusive content they can’t find elsewhere, you create an environment where your community becomes the hub of the knowledge and support they might need.
If you’re a fitness influencer, you could use your community to offer people feedback on their meal plans or work-out routines. If you’re a wellness influencer, why not create content that’s only shared within the community.
Fitness community example: Encourage people to create progress logs of their fitness regimes and improvements. Not only is this good for keeping people accountable, but it gives you insight as to how you can improve your community and what content you need to create to support people who are perhaps struggling. By documenting this information, you encourage people to return to your community to share their progress.
Wellness community example: Create a schedule of activities people can sign up to. This could be anything from a group video call, to even an in-person event. By creating events yourself, you encourage other members to connect and build their own relationships.
How to make money out of your community?
1. Sell online courses
Knowledge is power, and the internet has made knowledge more accessible than ever before. If you’re an expert in a field, and have something to teach others, social media is a great venue for selling e-learning materials, such as self-published e-books and online courses. By posting content that educates your community members, people will be far more willing to invest their money into learning more. (Find out more on how to sell your online courses here)
2. Advertise affiliate products
Affiliate marketing used to be all the rage back in the days when it was easier to launch spam campaigns at massive scale. However, despite the negative image of affiliate marketing, there are legitimate, ethical, and effective ways to do it. When you’re selling products or services for someone else, having a thorough understanding and belief in what you’re selling is imperative. Whatever you do, don’t try to sell things purely because they’re supposedly profitable.
3. Try influencer marketing
Brands love influencer marketing because it gives them a level of visibility and credibility that they often can’t hope to achieve by themselves. Although attracting the advertising pounds of big brand isn’t easy, building a large community of engaged followers around a clearly defined niche will go a long way. Once you can build up a reputation as an authority in your niche, it’s quite likely that companies will start coming to you to advertise their products and services.
4. Sell products with Facebook shops and direct sales.
Social media is also a popular venue for selling physical products. Facebook, for example, lets users set up online stores where you can add an unlimited number of products, organise them into categories and track sales through an analytics dashboard. To get started, all you need is a Facebook account and business page. Another option is to display products from Shopify on your Facebook page.
These are some of the most effective and proven social media monetisation tactics but selling is just the easy part. Almost all the work involves building your community in the first place.
5. Lead generation
Making money directly on social media isn’t the only way to go. For many people, growing their social media accounts with a number of targeted followers is only the first step. Social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Instagram, lend themselves to monetisation.
But it doesn’t have to happen directly on the social network platforms. You can actually use your social reach as a lead generation tool for your business outside of the app. If you’re planning to sell software, cookbooks or even a fitness programme, use your social network accounts to provide value and create new potential leads for your business.
Just because your social media is online doesn’t mean your monetisation strategies have to stay online too. Growing your social following online and then offering in-person (or even online) events at a cost is a great way to make money from all the people who follow you.
Build a private community to increase engagement and grow your profit
By far the biggest challenge of social media monetisation is being heard through all the noise. You’re also entirely at the mercy of the platform. Many businesses learned this the hard way when Facebook changed its newsfeed algorithm last year in favour of paid advertisements. There’s also the matter of poor engagement rates on the mainstream social networks which, while growing in terms of numbers alone, are seeing less engagement between brands and their customers.
Having a private community can help you overcome the limitations and uncertainties of social media and the monetisation opportunities that come with them. With a private and, preferably, mobile-centric online community, you have complete control over your own social space, and that means higher engagement too. In times when mainstream social media is fast becoming synonymous with fake accounts, spam, privacy scandals and apathy, there’s no denying that private brand communities are the way of the future.
There’s never been a better time than today to build a community app. You may have initially shied away from that idea.
Because “community app” sounds a lot like hard work.
And with everything else you need to do for your business, you just don’t have time.
But what if building a community app was as simple as posting a picture on Instagram. migrating your current audience to a new place?
A place you own and control?
Learn how to create your own wellness community app form one of our Community Specialists.