Here are five key elements of a successful online community:
For a community to be successful, organizations must create a strategy that aligns with the company’s vision, values and goals. Further, a community must have support from the executive team. They must understand the vital role community plays in meeting organizational goals.
Further, clearly defined expectations must be included in the community strategy. By monitoring key metrics, community performance can be tied back to business-level goals. This enables organizations to increase executive buy-in and prove a more impressive return on investment.
It is important that the content benefits your audience. This will ensure a quality experience and keep users coming back. Gauge user satisfaction by sending out email surveys to community members, monitor key words and top questions asked, and refresh content as needed.
Your community is a living breathing thing that feeds off of engagement. Therefore, it is important to create an environment that encourages people to share knowledge, answer questions, connect with others, and listen. Nurture engagement – and encourage continuous participation – with gamification. Award users with badges, reputation points, and topic expertise status based on their engagement efforts.
Think of your community as a new product – create some buzz and entice your audience to see what the excitement is about. No one will join your community if they can’t find it. Visibility can be easily created in a variety of ways. Prominently display the community link on your website, blog and social media channels. Include the link in the footer of all company email communications. Use email alerts to notify members of new discussion opportunities. Or, send email newsletters highlighting community activity.
Effective moderation will ensure your community consists of relevant contributions, robust engagement, and appropriate user behaviour. Good moderation comes from striking a balance between maintaining order and allowing your audience to engage with one another and drive discussion