A truly successful online community platform allows you to laser into the heart of your community. You get a better understanding of your community’s wants and needs, and deeper insights into what truly makes them tick. When you have this intel, you’ll be in a much stronger position to create products and services that really resonate with your audience.
Don’t take our word for it. According to a survey carried out by Sector Intelligence, 86% of brands surveyed said that an online community platform led to “deeper/richer insight into customer needs”. A third of the respondents said, having a better understanding of their online community platform helped them to re-design their marketing strategy and product. 85% is a powerful statistic. And the key to this insight is engagement.
A truly engaged online community platform means your members will want to actively share their opinions, join discussions, and are genuinely just as excited about contributing to your cause on your online community platform, just as much as you are.
So, how do you go about fuelling that passion and boosting engagement in your own online community platform?
We’ve distilled what the most engaging online community platforms do best in the following eight tactics.
If you’re serious about creating a thriving online community, consistently applying the following techniques will help you to power conversations and reap the benefits.
#1. Be responsive and offer value
People will engage with you if you offer valuable content. This might be by the way of blogs, video, images, live streams, and so on. But it’s not enough to simply provide content; you must be responsive to your community’s questions and comments. Sometimes a simple “Thanks for bringing that to our attention” is enough to inspire loyalty.
#2. Take a personalised approach
Remember the hype surrounding chatbots? How they were going to revolutionise customer service? Hasn’t happened – and the reason why is simple. People want to be treated as individuals. They want to know their voice means something to you, and that you’re serious about them and see them as a person, not a number. People want to feel valued.
#3. Be supportive and offer help
If you want to build a supportive and helpful online community, it’s vital that you lead from the front. That means, being active, helpful and willing to answer any questions your members have.
#4. Re-align with your mission
Remind people of your mission, passion and why you started the community in the first place. Your biggest unique selling point (USP) is your origin story, so don’t forget to remind people of why they felt excited about joining your community.
#5. Share resources
If you come across useful, interesting, informative, and educational resources, don’t shy away from sharing them. If it’s good content – and from a trusted source – share it. You’ll show that you’re market aware, helpful, and a subject authority: key ingredients that encourage people to engage in a safe online community.
#6. Be transparent
A community thrives because of shared values, beliefs, and culture. When you communicate openly and trust your community’s perspectives, opinions and insights, you’ll win their trust and strengthen loyalty.
#7. Be positive
Build a platform in which your online community can thrive positively, and you’ll engage all those who’ll become advocates of your brand. One of the biggest benefits of your own online community platform is that you can steer clear of online trolls and be in control of the type of culture you want your community to create. Having a clear set of community guidelines and enforcing this from the outset is essential.
#8. Stay consistent
If you’re serious about building an online community platform, then making sure you remain consistent is key. That means, providing valuable content and engaging with your community daily. Consistency is the lifeblood of building a successful community and is ultimately what’s going to want to keep your members coming back for more.
Engaging Your Online Community with Disciple
There is no substitute for the real-time feedback you get from a vibrant online community. If you’re wondering how you can build an online community that will nurture the needs of its members while at the same time providing that invaluable feedback, the answer is Disciple.
Here are 8 ways Disciple enables you to engage your online community:
Engage Community Members with Groups
The last thing you want is a social media free-for-all. By segmenting your community into groups that share interests you are able to promote a much more focused level of engagement.
Make Members Feel Involved with Events
Events are among the most powerful online community engagement activities. They enable you to draw large numbers of people with similar interests together to provide feedback on products, ideas or important issues.
Nurture a Thriving Online Community with Messaging
With some online community platforms, the only way members can send private messages is if they use a third-party app. With Disciple, users have the ability to send private messages directly to other members without having to exit the cosy confines of the community.
Let Members Discuss Specific Topics with Comment Threads
Disciple’s threaded comments encourage members to create discussions with others by replying to specific comments, rather than just adding another line to the bottom of the comment section where it may get lost.
Increase Engagement with Polls
With Disciple, you have the ability to create custom polls on specific topics. This is a powerful tool with which to engage online community members while simultaneously gathering useful information on products, services, issues and ideas.
Pay Attention to Community Trends with Analytics
All the valuable data you gather from your community engagement practices won’t be much good if you have no way to contextualise it. Disciple’s analytics tools allow you to make sense of the digital data stream, gain valuable performance insights and better understand your members.
Encourage User Generated Content with Live Streaming
Disciple’s Live Streaming provides a kind of digital town square where you can immediately engage your online community and members can gather to share content.
Set the Tone of Discussion with Moderation Tools
Disciple provides a robust suite of community moderation tools that enable you to separate the membership wheat from the chaff in a timely and discreet manner.
Engaging Your Online Community: Final Words
When you let your community feel your passion for what you do, you’ll fuel them with just as much excitement to get involved and shout about your offering to likeminded individuals.