Community Management Tips from Clint Patterson
In Part 1 of this blog series on community management, my tips centered on fresh content, visual content and blog series. Given that you're reading a blog series (and I thank you for that), you'll see that I like to practice what I preach.
Let’s cover some additional tips that I learned managing an online community for outdoor enthusiasts.
User-Generated Content is the Glue that Holds the Community Together
Giving users the ability to create content has
helped increase engagement in our community. After all, what is a community if users can’t interact and share?
We allow users to post various kinds of content (e.g. blogs, videos, activity feed updates, etc.) and we do our best to
put user-generated content front and center. As users share their updates, community members support and congratulate each other and these interactions form bonds that increase engagement.
Members can also build up their own reputations in the community by posting their own content. Allow your users to create content on your site and watch your members build relationships, build their reputations and help each other out, all while engagement grows.
As the community manager, I will
compliment users’ status updates or comment on their posts. I am just as engaged and active in the community as the users and want them to know their contributions are valued. This is a good-will gesture that most members appreciate and respond to.
Competitions Drive Registrations and Engagement
After a year or so of running the site, several members asked us to host a “Big Buck” competition. As sportsmen, the desire to compete is natural. Since our community members wanted it, we hosted the first competition, not really knowing what to expect.
What we learned was that hosting competitions with prizes
drives registrations and increases engagement during the period of the competition. This principle continues to hold true to this day. Whenever we give our community members a place to compete and offer some kind of prizes, registrations and site traffic jump.
We also allow members to vote on the winners, and during our various voting periods, registrations jump and site traffic almost doubles. Because they need votes to win our competitions,
the finalists turn into marketers of the site. They get their friends and family to register. Some of these friends and family members have turned into our most active users!
offline competitions as well. When a competition takes place offline, we still have online pieces such as registration, rules, prizes, and blog posts leading up to the competition. Even though the competition happens offline, it still drives a lot of interaction and buzz in the online community.
Takeaway: Everybody likes to win, and this desire can lead to surges in site traffic, engagement, registrations and valuable word-of-mouth promotions.
Help Users Promote Their Passion
Promoting your users’ passions is an easy way to increase engagement. Some of your users will have other interests and hobbies that run parallel to your community’s activities. When you find the intersection of interests among your users, helping to promote their cause will indirectly help promote your community.
We recently partnered with one of our users to promote an organization of which she is a member, “
Outdoors Without Limits.” This organization helps hunters with disabilities by sponsoring hunts for them.
We hosted a week-long “site takeover” featuring the organization’s branding all over our site; we added a banner to the homepage and wrote a few blog posts discussing the organization and its mission. During that week, we received visits from new users and mentions from the Outdoors Without Limits social media channels, which increased our visibility as a community.
In addition, Heather (from Outdoor With Limits) became a member of our community and
launched her own blog!
Promoting your users’ passions is a “feel-good,” strategic move that can create goodwill with your users, which indirectly results in your users promoting your community for you. Your community members gain exposure from being in front of everyone on your site and in exchange you extend your community’s reach and raise awareness of your community.
To summarize, consider these tips to increase engagement in your online community:
- User-generated content is the glue that holds the community together
- Competitions drive registrations and engagement
- Help users promote their passion
For related tips, read
Part 1 and Part 3 of this blog series on community management tips.
A Playbook to get you started
Want even more tips on community management?
Read our Online Community Playbook. Best wishes with your online community.