In politics, the biggest possible win is to persuade non-voters to vote (preferably for your side).
The community equivalent is persuading people with questions to ask them in your community. Most people are good at bringing insufferable problems to the community. The pain is high and the solution is needed urgently.
But the biggest way to increase engagement is encouraging people to bring their sufferable problems to the community. These are the problems which aren’t urgent and people could live with.
Insufferable problem: “My excel sheet won’t load, help me!”
Sufferable problem: “Is there a better way of displaying the dates in Excel?”
If you can persuade your members to bring sufferable problems to the community, they get more value, learn to use your products/services/information better, and you get more engagement.
There are two important steps to take here.
The first is to specifically list the types of questions members might want to ask in the newcomer email and welcome email.
Make sure some of these discussions are featured (or pinned) on the homepage too. Members shouldn’t feel their questions are too frivolous to bring to the community. Make it clear in the member journey that members can share what they’re working on for feedback on what they might improve, share any fears they might have to see if they’re justified, or simply ask for help to resolve small annoyances (with examples).
The second is to reduce the pain of asking the question. People suffer with tiny problems because the effort to resolve them is considered greater than the benefit of the solution. If people can simply share a screenshot and ask for help, ask their question by email without having to visit the community, or get a prompt to solicit any questions on different topics each week – you will start to collect a lot more sufferable problems you can resolve.