An Easy Tip for Increasing Online Community Activity

Are you ready for a really easy way to increase activity in your community?

Ask for it.

Think about how busy you are in a day. How often do you participate as a community member in your favorite communities? Unless you're totally addicted to a particular site, you likely only go into a certain community when you need something. 

For example, I only check in on the Cake Central community when I'm looking for cake decorating tutorials, and I tend to visit the Tone It Up community when I want to find recipes that fit with the nutrition plan. I visit the Lithium community when I have questions about using the platform.

Your community members are the same way. They're busy dealing with their daily jobs, taking meetings, soothing angry customers, and trying to figure out their next big win. For most of us community managers managing a branded community/ forum, it's quite unrealistic to expect that community members will to pop into the community every day just to browse.

Unfortunately, most of us get sucked into this expectation that community members will come to the community just to hang out because our communities are just so cool. That's rarely the case! If you need a quick boost, or if there's a killer topic that is in need of a response, just ask someone. Here's how to get the most from your ask:

  1. Be specific — don't send someone a general email and ask them to "start a topic." Give them a specific discussion to respond to, or ask them to share about a particular experience. Make sure to thank them, and offer your help or expertise if they need it!
  2. Make it a match — don't send over discussions that don't match with a community member's interests or expertise. It's a waste of time for the community member, and makes you look like you don't know what you're doing.
  3. Get creative — there are a million ways to ask for participation. You can feature an article, or tweet one out from your company's account. You can build custom mailing lists based on community topics, and reach a broader range of people. You can always remind people to participate at the end of videos or blog posts.

    If there's a specific person you want input from, I always recommend reaching out to them in a way that works best for them. Tweets and emails are easy. Perhaps they'd respond well to a personal phone call? If you want results, you'll need to get outside of your comfort zone.

Keep in mind, these tips are meant for short-term boosts. If your struggle for activity is constant then there could be a bigger problem with your community's concept. Constant activity will come when there is a strong sense of community between members, and a sense of community will build around a strong concept. But that's another blog post entirely. :)

If you want to build a bigger, stronger community, then come learn from the best in the business at FeverBee's SPRINT event on October 29th and 30th in San Francisco. (details) I hope to see you there!

Caty Kobe