Big wins are rarely in community
Gamification has a minimal, short-term,
impact (about 5%).
Moving and changing platforms has a tiny
impact (unless you’re using a terrible platform, then it has a big impact).
Adding a new feature has almost 0 impact.
If you want to significantly increase
levels of participation, there are several big wins.
Attract the most interested members/narrow the focus of the topic. The biggest determinant upon levels of participation is interest in
the topic. Our interest are usually narrow. We might have an interest in cars,
but we’re more likely to have an interest in fast cars, pretty cars, driverless
cars, green/electric cars, classic cars, Italian cars etc…
Narrow the interest, cut
out a big chunk of members, and focus on what a small group of people really
care about. Make sure you find ways to attract specifically those that have the
highest level of interest in the topic.
Build a sense of community amongst members. This has the longest-term impact upon levels of participation.
It’s the most sustainable. It’s not a single tweak. It’s a combination of
elements designed to take a group of people that interact and foster a genuine
sense of community amongst them.
Develop a complete calendar of activities and implement it. Implement an action plan that includes discussions,
events/activities, and content. Make sure there is something fresh in the
community every day.
Place the latest activity above the fold on the landing page of the
community. This is a quick win. We did this for one
client and the level of activity rose overnight by 42% before holding steady
over 6 months at around 30%.
Tweak the notification system. The
notification system has a huge impact upon levels of participation. Tweak who
the notifications are sent from, what they sent, their length, and what people
are asked to do. Ensure it’s opt out, not opt in.
To increase activity, most organizations
will demand expensive platform changes or promotional drives. This doesn’t
work. All of the above are far cheaper and far more effective.