Priming Group Commitment

May 28, 2013Comments Off on Priming Group Commitment

If it’s too easy to join the community, the act
of joining carries no mental significance.

It has no impact upon whether
someone is likely to participate and become a regular member. If you incentivize registration, it may even do the opposite. 

Yet joining a community should be easy. You
don’t want to turn away interested members through a difficult registration
process.

If you ask members for a lot of information,
you’re going to lose a lot of members. Every extra question, click, or
word required to read and complete the registration form is going to lose you
members.

We need a balance that embraces the idea of
group commitment. You can use three small tweaks. 

a)   Turn the registration form into an
application form. 

b)  
Ask members why they want to join the
community.

c)   Ask members what they intend to offer
the community (skills, knowledge, charisma!).

If you prime members to commit to certain
actions before they join the community (in writing), you’re more likely to
convert them into regular members.

These questions achieve three goals. First, they
create a sense of exclusivity. People
want to join this community and be accepted as part of the group.

Second, they give you terrific information about
who your members are and what they want. You can also use this information to
introduce newcomers to the community.

Third, they prime members to participate and
accept the group identity.

The process of joining a community is more
psychological than physiological. Mentally feeling you’re a member is more
important than clicks and registered member counts. The process neither begins,
nor ends, with the registration page…but the registration page can help. 

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