All successful online communities have several features in common. They offer sections like news and latest activity, social sharing buttons, the option for admins to promote members within ranks, comments turned on, perhaps a forum too. These are must-haves that people will expect to be available by default and look for something extra that makes you stand out if they were to join. There are surely many ways for you to level up, depending on your budget and creativity. In this post I’m going to discuss six easy ways you can generate more value for your online community that won’t strain your pockets. Sounds good?
As any website owner, not just an online community admin, you’re probably looking at ways you can expand your operations all the time.
How do you get more engagement from the members? How do you get people involved and make them feel like they’re truly a part of the community?
Well, in my opinion based on the experience I’ve had with various communities, it’s all about creating opportunities for interaction. The more diverse they are, the better.
As the owner and/or webmaster of an online community site you can quite easily add unique value for your members with just a bit of creativity.
These will instantly increase the value of your platform and draw members deeper in, making them stay.
Your competitors may not be implementing any of these strategies so here’s your chance to get ahead in the game.
Community group chat
Before I move on to discussing the actual value-adding methods that will elevate your digital community, let me introduce the means through which you’ll be able to put them in action.
I reckon you should first get familiar with the tool you’ll be using in order to make the most out of it.
Chatwee is a social live chat app specifically designed with online communities in mind. What it does is it provides a space where members can interact in real time in a variety of ways.
One of Chatwee’s essential features are chatrooms which can be used to streamline and categorize discussions taking place within the community. At first, they may seem like nothing special but in reality their creative utilization is what will help you bring more excitement and value to your members.
How to add value to your online community
Now, the central idea here is to ramp up user engagement. I’m pretty sure you’re already taking actions aimed at keeping your digital colony alive and well but realistically there can’t be too much going on, can there?
One way to stir the pot would be to add an element that will be exciting and get people involved, which is where Chatwee comes in, offering chat rooms, each serving a particular purpose.
Online communities vary greatly, as I’ve learned during the last couple of years in the niche, however, the ideas I’m presenting below should satisfy the needs of most in terms of creating that extra value people are craving.
Create a place for newcomers to peek in and say hi getting involved right away. You won’t be able to turn every lurker into a super social beast but a greetings room is a nice place to start.
Give new members a little nudge during the registration and encourage them to visit the room as soon as they have their account set up.
Once they break the ice, it’ll be easier for them to continue interacting and they may be more willing to stay engaged on the regular.
Emergency problem solving room
A member may have a burning question or an issue that needs to be addressed right away and what good is a community if members can’t help each other out?
If your resources allow for it, you can have moderators on duty assisting other members or rely on regular folks to lend a helping hand, especially if you attract people from all over the globe and don’t have any off hours when there’s nobody in.
The idea is for members to feel cared for and appreciated.
Gossip / rumour room
Ever wondered why tabloids are so popular? Well, people simply love a good rumour and all the chatter it creates. What’s the latest rumour in your community, then?
Even if you think there aren’t any rumours, you may be surprised to learn about some unusual occurrences taking place in your part of the Internet.
Let people chat freely and in case things get a little out of hand, there are always powerful moderation options you can apply to restore order.
Buy / sell room
Commercialization always brings in excitement. Consider creating a chat room where people will be able to trade in items and / or services related to your community.
Maybe this room should be active at all times or maybe it should be enabled only for the weekends? How can you step in to get a piece of the cake for yourself?
Setting some clear rules and boundaries may be necessary since you’re not trying to start another Amazon but overall this may be a great way to get more involvement from your community members.
Recommended products and services room
On a bit of a related note, how about members looking out for each other by briefly reviewing products and services relevant in your niche?
Peer recommendations (or words of discouragement, for that matter) are a powerful tool for anyone looking to spend their money wisely so this is something your tribesmen will definitely appreciate.
Live events room
We’ve seen first-hand virtual events booming, and our app has been an integral part of many of them.
You may be going big, creating and live video streaming content for your community, allowing folks to interact with each other in the chat, or go smaller, skip the video and run (recurrent) Q&As, games, and live competitions with prizes.
It’s really up to how creative you can get with your ideas. Maybe a company will partner with you and provide products in exchange for promotion within the community? Whatever the case may be, a chat room will bring that exciting social aspect to the event you organize.
Let me know down in the comments if any of these ways to add value to your community make sense to you and whether you’re going to try them. Drop links to your communities too, I want to see what you guys are up to!
Growing a thriving community takes continuous effort and trying out new things to see what resonates with members best. There are many tactics you can employ to deliver a better experience for your community but ultimately they all come down to creating more opportunities for engagement.
Chatwee can serve as your real time social hub with members interacting in chat rooms as if they were all physically in the same space. With Single Sign-on available, they can automatically pop in in the chat upon logging in to their site accounts.
Using Chatwee, you can consider skipping comments or a forum altogether to deliberately bring all the communication into one place.
All in all, opportunities for meaningful, active participation is one of the biggest values people can get from signing up with you. At the end of the day, you’re there for them. Go ahead and try something new, see if they like it.