Community engagement refers to the involvement of members in an online or offline community and their willingness to participate in discussions, activities and decisions. Engaged members are usually actively involved in shaping and growing the community and feel connected to it.
A high level of community engagement can help increase member satisfaction and loyalty and strengthen the community. An active and engaged community tends to be more vibrant and attractive and can also help to increase the visibility and influence of the community.
For companies and organisations, high levels of community engagement can also be of economic benefit, as engaged members are more likely to recommend and purchase products or services and act as brand ambassadors.
In an online community, diverse people from around the world come together to engage in a common cause or share a common interest.
Tips for increasing and maintaining community engagement
There are many different ways to maintain and increase member engagement in an online community. By considering members’ needs and interests and trying different approaches, you can build and maintain a vibrant and active community. We have summarised the ultimate tips for you.
- Create a positive atmosphere: make sure the community has a positive, inclusive and supportive atmosphere. This can be achieved by following community guidelines and encouraging respectful communication.
- Encourage members to actively participate in discussions and events. You can also set up special forums or areas where members can discuss specific topics. The more interest members of your online community have, the higher the level of engagement will be.
- Encourage member participation by regularly posting interesting content and asking questions that get members thinking and participating. Offer your members the opportunity to actively work on specific topics.
- Recognise and reward active members by giving them recognition, for example through special events, special awards or access to exclusive content. Use gamification elements, such as awards and badges for particularly active and loyal members of your online community. This will sustainably increase the community’s engagement.
- Integrate social media features into the community platform to encourage interaction and engagement, e.g. by allowing members to follow other members, send messages and share, like and comment on content. The best way to do this is to provide your members with a timeline, as known from other social media platforms. This tip will increase the engagement of your community enormously, and sustainably!
- Provide opportunities for members to get involved in the community and take responsibility, e.g. by offering them the opportunity to serve as moderators or mentors.Mention who the moderators and mentors are in a prominent place within the community so that they are publicly visible and feel valued. Appreciation virtually increases community engagement on its own!
- Keep members informed about news and upcoming events in the community and encourage them to participate. For example, organise online conferences or games that can be participated in through a network. When members do something together, they have shared experiences to look back on and report on. Community creates engagement.
- Be attuned to members’ needs and concerns and try to address them. A community that is responsive to the needs of its members is likely to perform better, have higher participation, more engagement and also loyalty.
- Try to make the community experience as pleasant as possible for members by providing a user-friendly platform and fast loading times. Forums and other features must be quick and easy to access via simple navigation. In addition, the community should generally be very clear and simple.
- Conduct regular surveys and feedback sessions to find out what members think of the community and how it can be improved. Measure engagement regularly and find out what specifically you can improve. It is important that you actually implement the relevant improvements, otherwise community members will not feel taken seriously and engagement will wane.
- Actively engage with members and show that you are interested in them and value their contributions. Stay visible as a community operator and give valuable impulses.
- Be transparent and honest in your communication with members. You should respond quickly and sincerely to members’ questions and concerns and be open about challenges and changes in the community.
- Use different channels to inform members about news and activities in the community, e.g. through emails, social media platforms or in-app notifications. Post something regularly on the Timeline or in forums.
- Provide opportunities for members to engage in the community and develop their skills, e.g. through training, webinars or workshops. Offer information that moves your members forward and encourages them, then they will keep coming back and actively participate.
- Encourage collaboration and exchange between members by providing the opportunity to create teams or working groups. Also provide the possibility to create sub-forums for this purpose.
- Encourage members to get involved in the community and to create and share their own content. This can help motivate and encourage members and make the community content more diverse and interesting.
- Enable members to network and socialise in the community. This can be achieved by integrating features such as a member directory or the possibility to follow other members.
- Organise regular meetings or events that give members the opportunity to meet and interact with each other in the real world.
- Provide opportunities for members to personalise their profile pages and customise their user experience. This can help members feel more connected to the community.
- Be open to new ideas and suggestions from members and show that their opinions and concerns are important. A community that is responsive to the needs and ideas of its members is likely to have higher participation.
- Create a strong identity and brand for your community that allows members to identify with and support it. This can be achieved by using a unique logo, colours and fonts that fit the nature and purpose of the community.
- Promote the emergence of leaders and opinion makers within the community by encouraging them to share their ideas and perspectives and to inspire and lead other members.
It is important to note that there is no single ‘right’ way to sustain and increase engagement in an online community. It can be helpful to try different approaches and see what works best for your community’s specific needs and goals. Try an engagement mix from the many tips above.
There are different ways to measure the engagement of a community. Here are some possibilities:
- Number of posts: The number of posts made in the community is a good indicator of member engagement.
- Interaction rate: The interaction rate indicates how often a post is commented on or liked in the community. A higher interaction rate could indicate that the community is engaged and that the posts are well received by the members.
- Number of active members: The number of members who regularly post or interact can also serve as an indicator of community engagement.
- Retention rate: The retention rate indicates how many members the community is able to keep over a certain period of time. A high retention rate could indicate that the community is attractive to its members and that they feel comfortable.
- Member satisfaction: Another way to measure the engagement of a community is member satisfaction. Surveys or feedback mechanisms can be used for this purpose, for example.
- Number of events or meetings: If a community organises regular events or meetings, this can be a sign that it is engaged and that members want to meet each other.
- Network activity: In an engaged community, members are often connected and share content and resources. The number of connections and activity within the network can therefore also serve as an indicator of engagement.
- Number of followers or subscribers: If a community has many followers or subscribers, this could indicate that it is attractive to many people and that it has a broad reach.
- Number of members engaged in special actions or projects: If many members engage in special actions or projects in the community, this could indicate that they are committed to the community’s goals and values and that they want to actively participate.
Always measure the level of engagement of your community to keep it going as long and successfully as possible. Because only when the level of engagement is high will all members enjoy the community. And you as the operator of the online community will get the best out of it!