This is the third article of this list! For more tips check the How to grow membership community part one and the How to grow part two. I suggest you to read the articles but here’s a TLDR version of the first two articles:
- Research who’s the tipical member
- Have a list of people to invite
- Build nice welcoming email
- Define clear topics within the community
Rule five: Have a space for them to meet the elder members
A little mix and match helps everyone in the Community. So make sure that the newcomers meet the old members! This merge helps introducing the topics, giving suggestions, teaching inside roles and explaining unwritten rules. This also generates a nice environment that feels ‘home’ in your community.
The elders (even the virtual one) have typically a lot to teach and explain to the newcomers. On of the value of the community is to have easy access to those people. Experts in a field that is not always easy to learn. The presence of newcomers is also a good thing for old members. They always bring fresh ideas and provide out of the box solutions. The meetup of those members will also help building a social ladder, helping newcomers to respect the most revered veterans.
Just be careful to not overwhelm the community with self presentation posts. Maybe set a specific area. A good idea is to have a specific topic to let the newcomers introduce themselves. Maybe also instruct one of the veterans to take the presentations and introduce the rules to newcomers.
Rule six: Ask them contribution
To grow membership is also a matter of retention. If people joins the community but does not build any habit of visiting it, it’s hard to not lose members. If there’s a loss of members, membership won’t grow. So be careful on engaging them directly, inviting them to present themselves and to contribute.
It’s not illegal to ask a member for specific contributions. Also, typically it’s something that does not bother the member. If a contribution is a problem for a member, that member has some kind of issue. And he probably won’t be anything more than a lurker. But he won’t be bothered by a direct question. So after doing your research on your members (see the first point in the first article), just send an email to an active member and just ask: “Hey, would you like to comment this? We value a lot your opinion!”
A surprisingly high percentage of contact will say yes (Quora and gmaps engagement strategy more or less works like that). So, why not try?
This works also by asking directly to the newcomers simple questions. I.E. asking them to present. Write a simple post and use it as an example. That will help them to understand how to do that and will minimize their effort.
The one below is an example of a presentation post based on a few questions:
- what community are you managing?
- which are your best skills?
- what do you expect from this community?
(that could work also as a kind of survey!)
More rules on “How to grow membership” will follow next week, so stay tuned!