Rituals: The Secret Mantra for Successful Communities
Hello there communitarians! I hope you had a productive week. Please do take time off for yourself and indulge in some mindful rituals to keep your physical and mental health in check.
On the other side of the community world, It's been a great month for us! I am having a hard time keeping my excitement in community assemble because we have our workshop coming up on 22nd June! Just two days left.
We are elated to host this workshop with Céline Riemenschneider, a long-time community professional. Having started her career at Yelp she went on to have her own community and founded "The Community Mentor", she is now also leading the Creators Community for Canva in Germany!
This workshop focuses on understanding member behaviour in a community and how crucial it is in order to be able to empathise, connect, and understand their journey.
We’ll talk about some psychological hacks and how we shouldn't oversee their psyche — which is a key ingredient for community success.
We can’t wait for it, if you haven’t registered do so right away before the slots are sold out:
Registration link: https://bit.ly/3Hx1FHF
Now onto some major value add. In this edition, we will be discussing how community rituals are the secret mantra for a successful community! We will understand their importance and also dive into how performing good community rituals can be an absolute game-changer for scaling communities.
Leveraging online community rituals to boost engagement is probably a less talked about aspect of community management. People talk about growth, measurement, and a lot of other things more often.
But online community rituals are less spoken and in this edition, we’ll understand online community rituals in the right depth.
What is a community ritual?
The Daily actions and choices that we make as members shape the future of any community. Following up on these actions and choices as a routine is what makes it a Community Ritual.
A simple, easy example probably would be the fitness industry. doing a particular number of crunches as a ritual. The bigger picture here is to be healthy. Doing crunches is a ritual for achieving those goals.
You have a regular regime. And each of these actions can be further divided into rituals. These choices become habits over time. The word “Regime” is key to performing these actions. If this is done occasionally or once a while then you cannot call it a ritual. Performing these actions consistently over a long period of time is what you call a “ritual’ or “habit”. you do it as an event or as an occasion, it cannot be classified as a ritual. But if you do it consistently over a period of time, it will be classified as a ritual.
Let’s look at the 4 important factors that you need to focus on for creating online community rituals:
1. Having the right frequency: You can divide these action items as either weekly, bi-weekly or even daily. The main thing to keep in mind while deciding the frequency is to ensure that you do not cause fatigue to your members. “Online fatigue” is real so be very careful to draw the fine line between a high frequency and overburdening your members.
2. Go all in on creativity: Online community rituals are meant to be fun and interactive. Instead of focusing only on engagement, look at rituals as a way to get your member’s attention and get them excited. Something that makes them want to be part of your community and participate. The psychology behind creating “Online rituals” is that it helps you stand out uniquely from the other communities by providing members value and enabling them to form a deeper bond with the community and their fellow members.
3. Quality over Quantity: When we speak about rituals, it, without doubt, translates into the content. Whether it’s an activity you conduct, tips that you share or even interactions that are enabled, they all boil down to content. So it is crucial to have quality content that goes out into the community. It is not how much content you pish, but the quality of content you provide for your members even through a ritual. This in turn also helps you with SEO and the hygiene of your community. This further encourages greater quality of user-generated content.
4. Collaborate with your super users: While you are planning your community rituals for your community, it is’’t something you can do alone, it becomes a co-creation plan. The first step is to identify the super users in your community, the members who are active contributors and are super involved in your community. They can be mods, superheroes or ambassadors. Whatever you’d like to call them, in the end, they are your super users. So ensure that you choose a lot of collaborations with them for the rituals while also involving them in your ritual planning.
Giving them ownership of such activities will further encourage them to tag and invite others into your community.
In reality, online community rituals have existed forever, much like how communities existed. So the inspiration that can be drawn into planning them is infinite.
For example, in a lot of social media campaigns, you see trending weekly rituals of “Throwbackthursdays” or “Sundayrelaxmode”. In some communities, there is a ritual to do a weekly poll. Since this is done on a weekly basis this becomes a ritual.
And as a community manager, the objective somewhere is to try and cultivate such rituals in your community so that it becomes a habit instead of a task, which in turn creates a deeper psychological bond for your members!
Now that we know the factors we need to consider,
Let’s look at the different types of community rituals that you can conduct for your community:
In this list, we’ll share a few creative community rituals you can use. We’ll cover the basics such as your regular AMA sessions and consistently seeding content, but we’ll also get in-depth into the lesser-known tactics and rituals to increase engagement and result in greater rewards with the community.
1. Sharing accomplishments regularly in the community:
Sharing your achievements and significant accomplishments with others in the community is a great conversation starter. People responding to the thread, congratulating, and expressing happiness is a form of community ritual also.
Online community rituals don’t have to be something very complicated and technical all the time. It can be something as simple as a weekly post, where one member shares his achievement letting others express their happiness for the member, and as a community manager, you can use this to scale that up to a higher level. Once it becomes a habit you will slowly start observing members creating their own community rituals.
2. Creating events:
The second is creating events. Yes, creating events is another form of ritual, where people know what they can expect. While creating events, it is important to have a mix of both online and offline events on a monthly or bi-weekly basis. While some events can have themes revolving around topics that are pre-planned, having a few events as a surprise and not keeping it predictable while retaining the surprise can instigate curiosity in your members. But you need to be mindful about having stability and consistency you cannot ignore the fact that people also need stability and consistency.
So, if you keep a healthy balance of both, do something regularly and show up for it, people start building that habit too. They start having that anticipation that this particular day is designated for this event and they start participating consistently.
3. Weekly 1:1 sessions with members who are less engaging:
Having a personal 1-to-1 session with members on a weekly basis not only helps members build a personal connection with you, It also creates a bond for the members to feel more comfortable and create a stronger sense of belonging with the community. As a community manager, it’s only wise to pick members who have been engaging less with the community and motivate them to participate more through a personal connection or even having a rewards system in place for participating in such sessions.
4. Weekly introductions:
This is a mandatory ritual you must practice as a community manager. Calling out all the new members and introducing them to the community on a weekly basis (either through a post or video) is a great ice breaker for new members to communicate with others in the community.
5. Seed content:
Seed content is content that is usually posted by the community manager or moderator on behalf of the community members.
Usually for any community, when we look at engagement, The 90-9-1 rule of community engagement is religiously followed! What this rule says is that you’ll usually have only 1% of community members who engage and post content on an organic basis. Let’s understand the 90-9-1 rule a little more in detail:
90% of community members are lurkers, they just visit the community to read or observe, but do not contribute actively.
9% of community members respond usually to content but do not involve themselves in creating content of their own.
Only 1% of community members create new content on a regular basis.
To change the numbers of organic users and improve organic engagement it’s very important to seed content regularly, it is by far the biggest motivation technique to garner larger participation in a community. Also, being able to rely on seed content helps you create more organic engagement in the community.
6. AMA sessions:
An “Ask Me Anything,” or AMA, is a well-known regular event on most of the community managers’ calendars where users get the opportunity to ask questions and learn from a fellow community member or applicable industry-related expert.
As a community manager, what you need to focus on is identifying potential topics of interest by analysing your community data, including top discussions, FAQs, search terms, most asked for resources, or answers from weekly polls.
Don’t forget to plan this ahead, ideally creating a calendar at the start of every month helps set the tone for the entire month. This can include topics related to the latest product releases being introduced or webinars, and workshops that are planned for the month? An AMA can be a great way to highlight these initiatives while also educating your members and clearing their doubts.
7. Community coffee chat:
A dedicated thread that is opened once a week with a specific time that is set for members to share both their personal and professional updates. You can also create a separate channel such as “ water cooler talk” to make it more informal allowing members to be more comfortable.
Some example topics include:
o Weekend hobbies
o Got married
o Changed job roles
o Moved to a new state and need recommendations for stay and jobs.
o Latest job trends.
o Current trends in the community space.
8. Weekly digests:
For those members who don’t usually have the time to visit the community on a daily basis, having a weekly digest is a great way to make them feel included in all the latest happenings in the community.
This could either be a newsletter within the community platform or a brief summary (including all the updates and events) email sent every weekend to the members.
Some examples of things to include in these digests are:
Content created by community members
Upcoming workshops/ webinars.
Upcoming events, recordings or previous events conducted through the week.
Any new joiners to the community, product news, or announcements about the community
9. Weekly Tips:
A big component of a community is the value add, that is given to members. Ensuring that a member feels that the community is very resourceful is an important factor. Having a day in a week dedicated to some great community tips is one way to add great value. A tip day will be dedicated to sharing technology tips, community tips or anything that helps members take action with their job.
Though it’s a tip, ensure that it isn’t just a dull boring tip. Make it fun and interactive, and ask for some opinions from members too about the tip, this not only helps members interact more but also helps increase engagement.
10. Community job alerts:
Ensuring that your community has a lot of value to offer other than just conversations is necessary. Giving weekly updates of the top 10 community jobs is a great way to encourage your members to keep visiting your community and help them derive value from the platform.
11. Rewards system:
Hosting contests and having a “reward system” in return for participation is a great way to get members to participate. Much like the “social learning theory” people will indebted to contribute more when they are getting something in return. this type of engagement touchpoint can come in many forms. Here are a few examples to get you started:
· Meme contests.
· Article/blog writing contests.
· Best tag lines for images.
Now that we know the different types of rituals that can be performed, one may wonder what is the benefit of putting so much effort into performing these rituals? Firstly, the biggest benefit is it gives the members a sense of belonging. It creates a sense of community for people. And that naturally increases member participation. People come together for that sense of social identity.
Community Rituals are the best way to encourage them to participate and let them feel part of the tribe. Having community rituals also gives you a structured and reliable content calendar too. If you have dedicated days or dates for particular online community rituals, you’re clear and sorted for those days or dates. You can also increase participation from your members by posting about these rituals and seeking responses from them.
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See you soon! Till then, let’s love and support our community ✨