We at Chatwee are all about thriving online communities. There’s strength in numbers, two heads are better than one, no man is an island. These are all true and timeless sayings that pertain to some of the human nature fundamentals. How do they apply to the world of Internet, though? Well, in order for your online project to succeed, you need to be able to attract a following and keep it engaged. In this post, I’d like to focus on the particular case of boosting user engagement in your chat room, which in itself is a community-building tool.
OK, so you’ve installed the chat but so far not much has been going on in it. You enjoy a steady traffic to your site and are thinking of ways to get these people involved and make them feel like they’re a part of what you do and stand for.
There are certain sites that will have thriving communities just based on the interest or topic that they’re built around and the type of people they attract. With others, you may have to make the extra effort to increase user engagement.
I believe the ideas discussed below are broad enough to be implemented on a wide range of different websites. Essentially, raising user engagement is about taking the initiative and starting interaction with your audience, utilizing a communication tool like live chat.
So, what exactly can you do to boost user engagement in your chat room?
Be the mayor of your chatville.
Boost user engagement just by hanging out in the chat room and being available for conversation. Be the discussion driver – ask questions, pick people’s brains, crowdsource, there’s probably a lot more you could use a chat room for.
Be the man of the people. Don’t put up a fence and distance yourself from your site visitors. I realize that a lot of people use social media platforms like Twitter to engage with their followers, however, that’s a third-party real estate and you should also look for ways to interact with your audience on your terms, driving more traffic to your site along the way.
Also, you can’t stress enough the fact that your personality is of huge importance when it comes to the success of your online project. The more interesting and approachable you are, the better for your project’s growth long-term.
Start video streaming
So, here’s another way to put yourself out there even more and get closer to your site visitors. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to embed a video player, streaming whatever you want to let the world know about on your site.
And the coolest thing is that you don’t have to force anything, and the best way to go about increasing user engagement would be by showcasing what you’re actually good at or passionate about. Live gaming streams are probably some of the most popular examples, but there are people out there streaming things like handicraft work.
When trying to boost user engagement in the chat room accompanying your video stream, take requests from your followers asking you to perform certain things, thus making them feel like they’re really a part of what’s going on.
Social live chat adds another layer and enhances the experience in terms of real time online interaction. Besides, visual forms of content, including video, are among the most engaging ones.
Run a Q&A or AMA session
I mentioned earlier that having an interesting personality is instrumental to your success online. Scheduling a Q&A or AMA session seems like an excellent way to get your user engagement up by providing an insight into the type of person you are.
Besides being brave enough to subject yourself to the barrage of questions, this is a rather easy tactic for increasing user engagement in the chat room. You may take it up a notch if you have the necessary resources and a strong social network and invite a guest to do this as well. I’m talking about someone relevant to your target audience, an expert in the field, or some sort of a star.
You can sell the ask me anything session as a treat to your site members, make it an exclusive. Alternatively, it can become a regular, standalone feat, or something that complements another one of your initiatives.
Run a contest
Obviously, contests have become a significant part of many brands’ and businesses’ online presence. They usually aim to boost user engagement, which translates into extra exposure and buzz generated around the brand.
There aren’t too many strict guidelines you must follow when running a contest. It all depends on the media you’ll utilize and the actual participants, that is, your audience.
What I’m trying to show you here is that a chat room can serve as the platform for your contest. You can make it even more interesting by exploiting the real-time aspect and the directness of live chat interaction.
Let’s say you set the date and time on which you ask a question in the public chat room. The first correct answer that gets posted wins the prize. You can make it time-limited, too. A recent case study I developed with one of our clients revealed an interesting way they combine the virtual and real world. The guys at Huutomaa told me that they sometimes order takeaways to their users’ addresses. What you could do is approach the winner in a private chat, ask for his home address and do the same. Everyone likes free food!
The thing is that the prize doesn’t have to be costly. It’s all about fun, creativity and generating actual value when it comes to increasing user engagement.
Provide a live support platform
Remember that long-term user engagement isn’t all about you. You aim at growing a close-knit community that’s self-sustaining.
Among the multitude of functions of the Internet, the provision of various forms of help really comes to the forefront. When in doubt, people turn to Google to seek answers. What I’d like you to stop and think about for a minute is who are they more likely to trust – some anonymous search results or the members of the close community they belong to themselves?
With that being said, if you want to increase user engagement in the chat room, you should actively and regularly encourage your site members to ask each other questions when in need of help. On many occasions, it’s very important to receive answers in a timely manner. This is where live chat’s real-time nature prevails over other socially oriented online platforms like, say, forums.
Final word on user engagement
User engagement is a huge topic and I only scratched the surface with my general examples involving a chat room. I’m sure you know your target audience best and will tweak and adjust these to your particular needs and conditions.
The tactics discussed here aren’t one-time gigs, but rather aim at strengthening virtual bonds and building the community in a long-term perspective. For best results, you may want to combine and integrate several of them into your user engagement boosting strategy.
I mentioned briefly the importance of creating value for your site members. What I want you to realize is that just having a group live chat installed adds extra value to your site, as many of your competitors don’t have it, and so you can attract more people to your virtual premises.
Even though live chat in itself is a user engagement booster, remember that success doesn’t happen overnight, and community growth is a process that takes time, so stay stirrin’.