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Community Club Weekly

Issue #96 | Oct 7, 2021

Community Club Weekly is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts, and thoughts from various Community Managers.

🌟 5 Principles of Community Engagement


By Lauren Clevenger

Build it and they will come… right?

As community professionals, we know that it is never that simple. Attracting and maintaining a vibrant, active community doesn’t happen on its own. Building a culture of engagement among your members takes intention, careful planning, consistency, and hard work.

In this blog post, I’ll share the five principles of engagement that we embrace on my team at BigCommerce. These best practices will help you create an environment where members are giving and getting value from your brand and each other.

1. Understand your community

To drive engagement, you’ve got to understand who your members are and how they want to engage in your community.

If you are new to a team or launching a new community, start by researching your customer base. Work cross-functionally with your friends across the organization and learn about any established customer personas.

Beyond personas, one tactic that we’ve used at BigCommerce to better understand our members is community surveys. Through surveys, we’ve been able to learn what job titles our members have, what motivates them to join and participate, and what their values and needs are.

Gathering this data is key to uncovering the value that your community brings to its users. Ask yourself — what is the glue that binds our group together? Why should these individuals care about each other? The clearer you can get on your ‘why’, the more intentional you can be about your ‘how’.

A sample survey question from our last BigCommerce Community User Survey
Last but certainly not least, build personal relationships with your members. Actually get to know them! The more that you can get to know your members on a personal level and connect with them one on one, the stronger the foundation of your community will be.

At BigCommerce, we frequently DM members to introduce ourselves and set up calls to simply get to know each other better. Our goal is to find out what makes people tick! What do they need to be more successful at their jobs? What areas of our product do they feel really confident with? How can we help?
A template we use when DMing community members to introduce ourselves. Must be customized!

2. Make your members the star

This next principle of engagement is one of my favorites. I strongly believe that in a community, the focus should be on the people and their connections.

At BigCommerce, we let our members shine by proactively looking for opportunities to highlight individuals, their expertise, and successes. We want the spotlight to be on them! This could be as simple as giving someone a public shout-out for their contributions or achievements. When we can make our members more visible, the more likely it is for them to find connections and build genuine relationships with people like them.

3. Make it easy to participate

Start small. A great hack for spurring conversation is to begin by offering discussion prompts in your online community spaces. These prompts should be fun questions that any member can answer regardless of their expertise level.

We have a weekly engagement ritual called 'GIF Wednesday'.  Each week, we publish a prompt asking for a gif reaction. Our members get a kick out of finding the perfect gif response and it helps build a sense of togetherness in our group.

Engagement opportunities don’t have to be time-intensive for your community. Some members may not have time to participate in an hour-long webinar, but do want to contribute to a simple group question. The nature of your community will help dictate the direction for your prompts and, over time, you can increase the amount of vulnerability and time that you’re seeking.

A GIF Wednesday post from the BigCommerce Facebook Community Group

4. You have to participate, too

If you want your members to be engaged, you have to be engaged. PERIOD.

As a community leader, you must engage within your community. Your visible presence and interactions will help model the culture and behaviors you want to see from your members. Especially in the early days of a new community, it is important to be extra active in your spaces. This means reading and engaging (even if it is just a like or reaction) with the majority of posts that get shared.

5. Be consistent and be thoughtful

To make engagement part of your community’s DNA, you need a plan. This is not something you want to wing or try to accomplish on the fly. Make life easier on yourself (and your team) with a content calendar of thoughtful, well-crafted engagement touchpoints. I recommend building out an engagement plan 2-3 weeks ahead of time.

From here, you can test and learn. Experimentation is part of community life. We won’t know if something works unless we try it. If your GIF Wednesday posts consistently get low engagement, that’s OK. Go back to the drawing board with these five principles and try something new.

I hope these tips and best practices are helpful and can guide you when looking to boost your community’s engagement. I’d love to hear what you think and what you have tried in your brand community! You can find me on Twitter at @Laurenfaye512.

Want more? Read the full article on our blog.

🍨 C School Scoop


Our career track cohort is launching soon! Here are some details on how to apply and learn more.
 

Career Track Cohort — applications close Oct 8th

Who it's for: Career changers looking to pivot into community management.

What you'll master: Foundations of community management and all the skills you need to find your first job.

Classes start: November 8, 2021

Find out more on our site or watch our info session here (password: @Gf%k8?S)

Submit an application by October 8th here.

✨ If you have any questions, pop them over to cschool@community.club.

📆 Upcoming Events

Upcoming events, from the club and its members


The Battle Between Engagement and Impact with Tex Dworkin — Oct 7 @ 3 p.m. ET

How to Foster a Meaningful & Engaged Education Community — Oct 12 @ 3 p.m. ET

Q&A with Rally.io — Crypto, NFTs & Social Tokens — Oct 12 @ 3 p.m. ET

Forming an Effective Community Strategy with Brian Oblinger — Oct 13 @ 12:30 p.m. ET

The Notion Community Story & Using Notion to Organize Your Community — Oct 21 @ 5 p.m. ET

🐦 Community Tweets

A great thread to save. 📚
Lead with value. 👏
Static leaderboards crush souls.

📚 Community Content List

Community blog posts, articles, podcasts, and videos from the past week
 

5 Lessons Learned from Our Recent Community Overhaul

The overhaul is one of the most challenging — and rewarding — projects he's ever worked on, Max Pete says.

By Max Pete

Empathy is the Most Important Leadership Skill, According to Research

Community is not the only arena where the ability to empathize is a valuable trait. 

By Tracy Brower

The Role of Online Community in the Consumer Path to Purchase


Amid all the shifts in consumer behavior ushered by the pandemic, it’s become clear that online communities are an integral, Reddit's Jack Koch writes.

By Jack Koch

 

🙌 Community Jobs

A few job opportunities, sourced from the community.
 

Community Operations Manager @ Zapier

Associate Manager, Community @ Away

Community CX Specialist @ Discord

Developer Community Manager @ Catchpoint

Director of Community @ Tiny Organics

Community Lead (part-time) @ Fiveable

Community Programs Manager, Inclusion @ Google

Community Manager @ Data Community Fund (DCF)

Community Manager @ Sermo

Community Manager @ The Scalable Company
 

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View more roles and join the Talent Network

👋 We Want to Meet You

Have you joined our Meetsy yet? Meetsy is a platform that helps communities create meaningful introductions and connections, and we're using it to help The Community Club network — Community Managers, execs, folks just starting out, moderators, and more!

Once you fill out your profile, you'll be matched with other people in the community every two weeks. You can always adjust your preferences to meet more or less frequently — and you can browse the member directory to make direct connection requests, too. We hope to see you there soon!

Connect with us!

😎 Share This, Get Cool Stuff

If you have any friends who might find the content we create helpful for their own community-building journey, we'd love it if you'd let them know about our newsletter. We've got some pretty cool swag to give away (including our famously cozy Community-Led sweatshirt) to make it worth your while. 

Head over here for more info.

Ready to get sharing? Just copy and paste this unique referral link: https://community.club/newsletter?rh_ref=<<RH_CODE>>

This week brought to you by...

our Content Creator, Kirsti, who is considering migrating south for the winter.

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