The fourth and last part of the “How to grow membership” series. You can find here the How to grow membership community part one, the How to grow part two and the How to part three. I’ll sum up all the points from the previous articles here (but it’s better if you read them obviously):
- Research who’s the typical member
- Have a list of people to invite
- Build a nice welcoming email
- Define clear topics within the community
- Have a space for them to meet the elder members
- Ask them to contribute
This is the last part but it’s not meant to be exhaustive. There are many more rules and tips to follow to grow the number of memberships. Many of them depends from the kind of community you are trying to build and will follow in the future.
Rule seven: keep them informed.
Sometimes members just forget. They get away from media and from internet for a couple of days and their habit of visiting a community just disappears. It’s not strange and it’s not a matter of content quality. It just happens. They need regular signals that bring them back and make them remember why they came in the first time. Those signals are called triggers (and those mechanisms are excellently explained in Neil Patel’s Book “Hooked”, a great book for community managers).
Lately, Facebook is sending more and more notifications of low relevance (“This guy is doing this”, “That guy posted that”…). This happens to me and I cannot be sure if it’s just me or everyone, but on me it works. The notification is just a mere excuse to jump back on the social and scroll. Relevant infos are on the wall, the notification just help me getting back in Facebook.
Obviously this is not the best strategy if you are not Facebook or at least you established a nice and clear value proposition. A better way is to have a simpler and less frequent notification and info system:
- Advice them when something happens to the content they interacted actively: a comment, an upvote, a reaction.
- Tell them if their name comes up in a discussion. This should be reasonably frequent, if they are active. Also (see point 6) maybe start by involving them directly. Maybe just ask them to present themselves.
- Keep them informed about the relevant content that is posted in the community. WeTipp sends a daily / weekly digest with the content related to their interest. That’s a good way to activate them too, gaining attention and making them contribute on topics that they are interested in.
Rule Eight: Survey them and ask how things are going
Regular surveys are the best way to check how your community is. All the points explained until now (so one to seven) can be improved based on these surveys.
Don’t panic! I’m not telling you to harrass your members by asking them to participate in multiple questions tests frequently. First of all you don’t need all your members to participate. Just pick a segment and change it from survey to survey. Ask them if they don’t mind interviews. Then use frequency wisely and in an appropriate way. A big coworking community we are working with has this strategy:
- a monthly survey about the service quality (5 to 7 rating questions, one click and it’s done);
- an interview with selected members twice a year. The selected members change frequently and are the most participative. This is not a way to grow membership, since they are already engaged by definition, but it provides useful informations to engage other members.
- special surveys / interviews etc. in special circumstances. This happens quite frequently (twice a year) when something big happens or is about to happen (new branch opens, new value proposition, new services coming etc.)
Last tip: be participatory
This is basic and it’s often ignored. The CM must be participatory. The CM is typically the most known admin, and his / her approval, or at least interaction, is really important for at least these reasons:
- it makes anyone feel appreciated. Especially the newcomers that know little about people and topics in the community and need validation.
- it puts newcomers in a different perspective to veterans, who will look at them with more interest. This will help them to interact.
So it’s important for the CM, to not just “moderate” (so push out trolls and make people argue less) but also to involve him / herself. To chat, comment, discuss, upvote. It’s not a waste of time. You have to manage and engage a community, so this is work and it’s important!
Check the other How to grow membership community articles here: