Rearranging the Chairs

If you wanted more people to come to a meeting, rearranging the chairs or improving the snacks wouldn’t make much of a difference.

The only people who would notice would be the people who were already there.

It’s what you do outside of the meeting which will attract more people to join it.

Think about this when you’re trying to increase participation in your community.

You typically have four major options here.

1) Direct invites. Reach out to people via social media channels and invite them to join. This works well if you’re just getting started, it’s not going to make a difference in a mature community.

2) Social ads. You should be able to recruit new members for $1 to $3 per person. This is good when you’re just getting started, but less effective after the first year.

3) Redirection. Better placement of the community on your company’s homepage navigation, better integration with the product, links from the support center, asking people to ask a question in the community rather than contact support/filing a ticket. These are all big wins.

But the other big wins come from finding out who has the attention of the people you want and how you can make promoting the community a no-brainer for them.

Your marketing, PR, customer support, product management, and customer success staff all have the attention of customers. For example, you could try to:

  • Include introducing yourself to the community as part of both new staff and new customer onboarding.
  • Feature community news stories and member successes in company newsletters.
  • Promote the community to the company email list.
  • Include a message telling customers on hold with phone support they can ask a question in the community instead.
  • Include ‘ask a question’ next on the ‘contact us’ page for support.
  • Ask customer success teams to also tell customers they can ask questions in the community.
  • Include the community in customer-facing staff signatures.
  • Have a community-stand at the company event.

You get the idea, once you get the maturity phase your success in boosting participation relies increasingly upon your ability to work with others to promote the community.

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