When it comes to building your community, the onboarding journey shouldn’t be overlooked.
Community onboarding is the process of welcoming and orienting new community members. This includes providing them with information about the community, and helping them get started participating in discussions and activities. A community manager is responsible for overseeing community onboarding, and can use a variety of methods to maximise engagement and retention.
Getting people to engage and wanting to come back to your community on a regular basis should be a top priority, and achieving this rests heavily on how impactful those initial experiences are for your members.
Community onboarding is a process, not an event. It’s important to continuously welcome new community members and provide them with the resources they need to participate effectively. With a little effort, you can make sure that everyone who joins your community feels valued and engaged.
If you want to find out how to onboard your members like a pro here are our top tips:
1. Create a welcome email
When your members sign up, make sure to send a follow-up welcome email to share how excited you are to have them join your community. You can also create some clear calls-to-action on your emails that discuss their next steps, for example asking them to update their profile photo, update details about where they’re from, or what their hobbies are.
For best results, try to ensure your welcome email follows these best practices:
- Be informative and clear
- Be friendly and warm
- Have a call to action (CTA)
- Share your value proposition
- Have a way to contact you (or someone from your team)
- Be enthusiastic and welcoming
- Create a welcome video
2. Create a welcome video
As well as creating a welcome email, a welcome video that you can pin into a group or on your community feed is a great way to grab your member’s attention and for them to get to know you as the host or admin from the outset. You could share how happy you are to have them join you, talk them through how or where to find things, and what they can expect from being a part of your community. This is a really engaging and personable way to reinforce what you’re offering and will ensure that your members get the most out of being a part of your community space.
3. Setup a thread for new member intros
Joining a new community where you don’t know anyone can be a bit daunting, so setting up an ‘introduce yourself’ thread which tags members and encourages them to introduce themselves with some icebreaker questions is a great way to get the ball rolling for interactions and helps people to feel welcome.
Some examples of icebreaker questions are:
- What are you most excited about learning in this community?
- What was the last show you watched on Netflix?
- What’s your favourite thing about (insert your niche)
Inside hack: one of the awesome features our community software provides is the ability to spotlight new members and admins. This makes it easy for existing members to spot who is new so people can welcome them and it also makes it easy for new members to identify admins so they can reach out to them if they have any questions.
4. Check in with new members
Keeping an eye on your members to see how engaged they are in the early stages will not only help your members to feel ‘seen’ and taken care of, but it will also help you to avoid members turning into lurkers or dropping out of your community.
If you notice members haven’t updated their profile or aren’t engaging much, you could reach out to them personally and ask them how they’re finding the community so far and if there is anything you can do to help them get started.
5. Create a ‘getting started’ post
You can create a post or a resource that breaks down everything your members need to know about your community. This can include things like a document with FAQs, your community guidelines and rules, who to contact for support and how people can make the most of your space. Although you may have covered this in your welcome video or email, having a written post within your community space is an extra way for people to quickly find information when they need to.
6. Share the inside scoop
Creating a post or video which breaks down how your community works is a great way to ensure your members make the most of it.
You can cover how people can use the software and make the most of it e.g. setting up polls or uploading videos. You can also break down what upcoming events you have going on, where to find resources, or share any regular days you host live streams or specific rituals your community follows.
This is a great way to keep people excited about being a part of your community and also allows you to reinforce the purpose and value of your unique offering.
7. Call in your super members
Recruiting your super members to help out with onboarding is a great way to not only make your super fans feel a part of something bigger with moderating responsibilities (and makes your life easier) but it’s also a way for other members to feel supported by someone who is a loyal member of your community and who can share experiences of their own journey.
Encourage your super members to keep an eye out for posts from new members and to engage with them with responses to their questions, encouragement, or adding some likes to their posts.
8. Get feedback
Collecting feedback from your community members isn’t something that should be shied away from. If anything, it shows your members that you genuinely care about creating a meaningful experience for them.
Some ways to generate feedback on your onboarding process could be sending a follow-up email asking them what they like or dislike about your community after a month of them being in your community, creating polls, or creating a thread that asks people for suggestions on how you can make the onboarding process better.
Asking for feedback is a great way to ensure your community continues to thrive.
9. Keep an eye on your community stats
Keeping an eye on the stats of your least engaged members will help you to reach out to them to pull them back into your community.
You can also see who your most engaged members are and approach them to ask whether they’d be up for getting more involved with creating content such as videos, hosting live streams, or writing blog posts for your new members.
These are both great ways to ensure your new members are engaged and make your life as a community manager much easier.
These are just a few of the ways that you can make your onboarding process more effective.