It was once said that if you set out to be liked, you’ll compromise yourself at every turn and remain at a standstill.
This logic can also be applied to communities. If you keep changing your online community focus and compromise your values as a way to hold onto community members you’re at risk of losing sight of your community’s true purpose and mission which could drive members away anyway.
So how you can overcome this and retain your community members? Keep reading.
Building a Retention Strategy Through Data
If you want to retain community members for as long as possible, it’s important to strike a balance between being true to your beliefs and values and doing the things that attract and engage your community members over the long term.
The secret to success is to mine the data your online community is generating for clues that can help you to shape content, topics and events in a way that’s responsive to your members wants and desires. Here are some ways to do that.
Make the most of your data
Keep an eye on your audiences posts and comments and don’t be afraid to occasionally swoop in and thank them or re-share their posts. This type of unexpected recognition doesn’t take much effort on your part but it will make your followers feel special which will instill more loyalty.
Another way to gain actionable data could look like having a weekly dive into things like which posts or content is getting the most views and the most comments from other community members so that you can spot patterns. You can also check out trending hashtags in your community as a way to understand what’s going on in the minds of community members.
Livestreaming data can also provide you with a treasure trove of valuable information. How many members viewed your latest livestream? Was that more or less than the last one? Is there a trend in viewership either to the upside or downside? What are people saying about the event? Are they saying anything?
Recognize community participation
When people are excited by a business or product, they often demonstrate their affection by creating and sharing fan art with their fellow community members. Others share photos or videos of themselves at product launches or brand-related events, or when out and about taking your message to the people.
If you want to make your members feel appreciated, you won’t let these unsolicited pieces of fan-generated content evaporate. Instead, share them on your social media channels or create a “fan of the month” club or something similar.
This type of recognition can go a long way towards community building, increasing brand loyalty and motivating higher engagement.
Say hello to influencers
An influencer doesn’t have to be someone with 17 million followers (although that doesn’t hurt). It can also be any existing community member whose posts gain lots of attention and who is dedicated to spreading your brand message. You can use data to determine who these people are.
Once identified, you can transform an influential community member into a brand ambassador simply by providing them with exclusive previews or inside information that they then share through their social media channels.
When others see how that member’s dedication has paid off, they’ll be motivated to follow suit. Before you know it, you’ll have a hive of micro and macro influencers working on your behalf and both short- and long-term engagement can go through the roof.
Keep people coming back
Using the data provided through the Disciple dashboard to help you retain your community while ramping up engagement is an idea with a future. But there is more than one way to put this data to work for you.
Even if yours is an active online community with lots of fans and followers, it can be hard for them to have a real sense of the community they belong to. Think about it. Without the local news to tell you what’s going on around town, it’s possible to feel extremely isolated and out of touch in a big city.
So take your lead from the local news and post regular community updates or send weekly digest emails based on the data you glean through the dashboard. Updates can include this month’s most popular topics in your community most shared images or most liked comments.
Basically, community updates can be anything you feel will be of interest to community members and give them a better sense of what’s going on around them, even if they’re not directly involved. It can also promote engagement by getting members to check out content they may have missed and re-engage with your community.
Inspire loyalty with incentives
Give something back to your fans or followers from time to time by providing incentives. For instance, everyone who shares a photo of themselves outdoors wearing your clothes gets entered into a drawing for a free bag, a discount on your next course or event or a meet and greet with you at the next show.