Attracting new users to your community is a tough nut to crack. And keeping them hooked is an even more difficult job. The internet is brimming with ideas to engage and retain your customers, but they can only take you so far.
To create an online community that hits the bull’s eye by garnering the attention of new audiences and retaining quality members, you need to create strategies that are robust. These strategies should be well-aligned with your brand tone and should not overlook user needs.
Your members should feel that they’re a part of something bigger and that their contribution matters. The psychological aspect of how members interact in your community plays an important role here. But is there a way to map it all and reap tangible outcomes?
Our community experts cut through this psycho-babble in an insightful session on ‘Mapping User Psychology in Online Communities’ at Community (re)Focus, 2021.
Our distinguished speakers for the session were:
- Jenny Weigle– Chief Community Officer & Strategic Consultant at Jenny.Community, LLC
- Jennifer ‘Jae’ Washington– Senior Community Manager, Headspace Inc.
- John Summers– Senior Manager, Community Practice, Grazitti Interactive
Let’s dive into some key insights from the knowledge exchange that happened during the session and understand different elements of the user psychology in online communities.
The Pillars of Close-Knit Communities
There are 3 pillars that define close-knit online communities, namely:
- Community Guidelines
- Collaboration & Influence
Focusing on the emotional and psychological lens of communities, our community experts emphasized on the fact that user conversations set the tone of an online community. Jenny mentioned that explaining to users the code of conduct, terms of service, and community guidelines to be followed is very important during the onboarding process. This establishes a sense of responsibility in users and curtails the possibility of conversations going haywire.
Jenny also mentioned that influence and collaboration play a key role in fostering a positive culture in the community. Negative feedback and conversation can impact the perception of fellow community users. To avoid this, community managers should be consistent with moderation and engage with their audience on a regular basis.
The experts touched base on the importance of integrating a community with various CRMs and software. These tools enable you to get a clear understanding of what users want. They also serve as a goldmine of data that you can leverage to improve your services and boost ROI.
Building a Culture of Membership in Communities
Jennifer explained that in order to build a culture of membership in the community, you, as a vendor of products and services, should always be available to cater to the needs of your customers. You should also be transparent and honest with your users so as to win their trust and encourage repeat business.
To create a space where community users feel safe to interact and collaborate, you should:
1. Maintain authenticity and trust
2. Be purposeful
3. Win user’s social trust
To this, Jenny added that secure communities are based on the security of customer data. Ensure that your community is privacy-compliant and inform members about this. This is what creates a sense of security in the minds of users and motivates them to participate. Also, John mentioned that brands must convey their mission statement and best practices to users during the onboarding process since that familiarizes them with the community culture.
The Impact of User Psychology on Community Engagement
During the session, Jennifer said, “As humans, we cannot separate ourselves from experience”. Experience in the B2B world serves as a verdict for the success or failure of a business. And this holds true for online communities as well.
If your community members do not find community knowledge worth their time, they might leave the community and spread the word about their experience. This will take the engagement quotient down. However, if you make your user’s experience worthwhile, they will share positive feedback for your community and serve as strong brand advocates.
John mentioned that it is crucial to understand how the members perceive the community and what their preferences are. Community managers should create strategies that keep the needs of the users at the front and in the center so that they feel seen and heard. Make it a point to monitor social conversations for innovative ideas and recognize the users contribution to boost participation.
It is important to offer a positive and safe community atmosphere to the users. Only that will reap the desired engagement levels.
Another interesting point that Jenny vouched for while concluding the session was how lurkers are an absolute necessity for an online community. She mentioned that community lurkers get to consume all the unique and insightful content that active members post in the community. They are an absolute necessity for a community to thrive because active or not, they’re still a part of the community.
Summing up the session, the three community mavens touched base on maintaining a humanized tone in the community to foster authentic and positive conversations. They also highlighted the importance of creating a safe space for users by moderating member activities in the community. Community managers should, thus, create strategies that keep the user psychology and needs at the heart of community engagement.
Explore more about building cutting-edge online communities. Talk to us!
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