If you build, they may still not come!
After you’ve planned your first community activity, you might have had plenty of members take part in it. First win. Great job! But are they coming back? If they are, pat yourself on the back. You have achieved something most people don't get right the first time. If not, we wouldn’t fault you. We have all been there. And today, we will help you figure out how you can motivate your members to come back.
"Community members show up for the Meetup but come back for the people"- Scott Heiferman, founder of Meetup.
Bingo! Members might participate in the community for a variety of reasons. But regardless of what drives people to show up for the first time, the relationships they form are what will bring them back.
Meaningful human connections are sticky.
Once a group of people with a shared interest become a part of your community, they want to feel that sense of belonging with each other. And that’s what makes them return to your shared endeavours and pursue collective goals. You need to do the work to get people talking with each other. The richer 1:1 connections between members, the stronger the community.
What kind of work exactly? And how?
Well, you have to enable all the ways your members can share and collaborate with each other. You will have to create spaces where members can freely connect on their own time.
And honestly, conversations do not start without stimulation. Leaders need to lay the groundwork for free-flowing communication between members. While great tools can help you do this at scale when your community grows, there is no substitute to a good community leader who can motivate members to talk.
To get your community talking, here are 3 things you can do:
#1 Give your members a space to share and collaborate with each other
Think about the spaces where your members can find each other to continue their conversations independently. While there is no shortage of tools that make this easier than ever, there can be many more benefits to choosing a discrete space, devoid of the distractions some social platforms have. Determine if the space best supports the media (text, visuals, music, links, etc) that you expect your members to share with each another.
So if you’re wondering what all does it take to choose the right space, you may want to revisit the previous edition of the newsletter where we talked about how to really own your community - creating your own intimate space for your members to connect and perform the activities that you want as a brand.
#2 Don’t only just prompt your members, actively participate in the discussions
It can become a bit scary to talk to strangers. But as a community leader, it is essential to give members an excuse to connect for the first time.
But how do you do that? How will you prompt your members to get them talking?
Consider guiding your members into discussions by modeling what good participation looks like. Craft regular prompts and make introductions for new members. There will always be members who would be worried about the same thing and want to come together and form some sort of a resource. Basically, model good behaviour — act how you want your community members to act.
Glynk’s tip 💡
The hardest part here is to understand how to be regular with good and relevant prompts to get your members talking. For this, you need to have clarity on what content would work for what category of your community members. Run your expectations by your potential members. Observe their reactions. If possible, list down the type of content formats that work for most of your members. It will always come in handy to you.
In a nutshell, before you start your community, do talk to many potential community members. The more you’ll talk, the more you’ll get clarity.
#3 Introduce structure to make conversations meaningful.
Structure alone won’t ignite lively discussions, but it will support meaningful ongoing discussions once it’s begun. The goal of the structure is to focus on the conversations (including the hard ones!) on the unique ideas that your community wants to explore together. To find the right balance, work with your early members on simple ground rules that describe how your community will both address and work through conflicts that occur in your discussion space.
Moderate with the goal to facilitate and reward the right behaviour — create a code of conduct by answering the following 5 questions:
What’s our purpose?
What is okay?
What is not okay?
How do members report violations?
How will you investigate and enforce the rules?
As Airbnb Brian Chesky famously said, “It is better to have 100 people love your community than a million sort of like you.” Meaning, even if you’re starting your community with a small bunch of people, the kind of interactions between them would suffice for members to rule in favour of your brand.
If you’re finding this newsletter valuable, consider sharing it with friends, or you can just say hi and discuss any ideas/issues you’ve in your mind. We will be happy to share our thoughts.
Have a great week! We’ll see you next Tuesday. :)