With so much happening around the communities, it is that time of the year when everyone is fresh and came out of a long year-end vacation. Nonetheless, it is always a good thing to start the year planning with your New Year resolutions other than ‘I will stick to the diet plan this year’ resolution.
Just like choosing the correct diet plan to keep your body fit and healthy, it is important that you make use of the correct community tools, workspace, and knowledge base to run your community effectively.
According to a research done by Gartner, it has been determined that at least 70% of all online communities fail. The reasons for this failure include:
- Lack of strategic planning
- Unrealistic expectations
- Extensive target audience
- Uninspired discussions
- Low engagement
- Unrelated organizational motives
However, you can avoid this failure by considering a few prerequisites that will definitely help you improve your community’s viability.
Here are some tips which can really drive and keep your communities on top all around the year:
1. Focus on user quality instead of quantity
There are some important entities that drive a successful community and users are one of them. It is not just the number of users that matter but how many of these are actually contributing to your community. While there is no mantra for getting the user to your community, there is definitely a lot, which you can do to make them stay and engage.
2. Reward your users
This brings us to the second point, i.e. how to keep your users happy and make them stay and engaged. The best thing you can do is, ”Reward them”. Everybody loves being rewarded and your users are no different. Reward them for every bit they do, even if it is for being idle for some days (a badge called OOO), or coming online every day. Reward them for being a year old user, and give them their birthday rewards where the birthday could be their community joining date. The hack being – implementing Gamification.
3. Make use of the Most Valued Professional (MVP) program
This is no secret, MVPs are the backbone of your community. They are the community leaders who generate quality content, provide solutions and guide other users. They can drive communities without the moderators even having to log in for days. Also, it is important to make sure that you have enough MVPs according to the size of your community. While MVPs are the users who over the time have gained expertise in your community, you can totally rely on them as they possess vast knowledge of your community. But remember, had you not rewarded them, most of them would have left halfway and this would have left you stranded of your MVPs.
4. Highlight your MVPs
Just like you reward your users for becoming the MVPs, make sure you don’t forget to add them to your hall of fame. This would really boost your MVPs to go to the next level. Give them a stamp of authority so that the other users would consider their replies.
5. Manage the discussion areas of your community
Many business owners face immense hassles these days while managing the discussion areas of their community. It has become one of the most engrossing topics of discussion amongst the community owners that has left them stunned thus far. Our developers here at Grazitti had the privilege of working with some of the biggest online communities, which had so many categories and scattered discussion areas. We made use of the labels to remove about half the categories that were not required or relevant.
So, if you are facing troubles in managing the discussion areas of your community, using labels alone can positively help you get rid of the maximum unused discussion spaces in your community.
6. Organize information into easy-to-navigate categories
“Content is of no use if it cannot be found” – Allow users to seamlessly navigate between your website and online community. It is important that you provide an easy navigation to/from all the discussion areas of your community so that the valuable content can efficaciously reach your users. Also, you can add widgets like ‘Ask a question’ in your community, which will not only reduce the number of the repetitive posts but will also help your users find & select the post of their choice.
7. Get feedback on your community
Ask for suggestions from your users/ MVPs. They are the ones who understand your community the best. They know which current features are working and which aren’t. Seek feedback from them and make good use of the constructive feedback.
8. Detoxify properly
This is trivial to the new communities but as the time goes by, every community will face this issue. Detoxification is relatively important to the product based communities where you have to keep the product info up-to-date with every new release.
Online communities are tightly intertwined with content, sophisticated analytics, exposed patterns and opportunities that organizations can leverage to further build their communities and strengthen their brand or offering. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge into building an online community and keeping it healthy all the way through, 2016 is certainly the time to start.