Building Community Engagement: Practical Activities, Metrics, and Tips for Success

Building Community Engagement: Practical Activities, Metrics, and Tips for Success

Community engagement is the cornerstone of any successful online community, whether it be a community forum, Slack channel, or Discord channel.

Achieving meaningful engagements with your community members can be challenging, but it is essential for the growth and sustainability of your community.

This blog post will explore practical activities, metrics, and best practices for community engagement, focusing on various aspects of community engagement work, such as community engagement organizations, community engagement theory, and community engagement framework.

We will also touch upon community engagement opportunities and principles, as well as intentional communities looking for members.

Understanding Community Engagement

Defining community engagement can be complex, as it encompasses various elements such as community service, interaction, and contributions.

A general definition of community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with community members to address issues that affect the community, fostering partnerships and shared decision-making.

Community engagement examples can include volunteer opportunities, community events, and online discussions. The goals of community engagement are to build trust, increase participation, and create lasting, positive change.

Want a video overview? Check this one out:

Types of Community Engagement

There are several types of community engagement, ranging from passive involvement to active collaboration. These types include:

  • Inform: Sharing information with community members to keep them informed about issues, plans, and opportunities.
  • Consult: Seeking community members’ opinions and feedback on specific topics or proposals.
  • Involve: Actively engaging community members in the decision-making process, usually through workshops, focus groups, or surveys.
  • Collaborate: Partnering with community members to develop and implement projects, programs, or initiatives.
  • Empower: Supporting community members in leading their initiatives, making decisions, and implementing solutions to issues they identify.

OK then, so how do you build engaging and drive these different types of engagement? Let’s explore…

Practical Activities for Community Engagement

Creating opportunities for community members to engage with your community is crucial. Some practical activities for community engagement include:

  • Hosting virtual events, such as webinars, workshops, or panel discussions.
  • Creating a community newsletter or blog to keep members informed about community news and events.
  • Encouraging member-generated content, such as articles, videos, or artwork.
  • Organizing volunteer opportunities or community service 101 initiatives to support local causes.
  • Developing mentorship programs to connect experienced members with newer members.
  • Creating subgroups, channels, or threads for specific topics or interests, fostering smaller, focused conversations.

The key here is experimentation…try lots of different ideas to explore different ways in which you can add value.

You should also check out this video which some more practical tips:

Community Engagement Metrics

I remember once being at an airport bar and I got chatting to a guy next to me. He said, “If you ain’t measuring it, it doesn’t exist.”

He wasn’t wrong.

Measuring the success of your community engagement initiatives is essential for improvement and growth. Some key metrics to track include:

  • Active users: The number of members actively participating in your community (posting, commenting, reacting, etc.).
  • Retention rate: The percentage of members who remain active in your community over time.
  • Content contribution: The number of posts, comments, or reactions generated by community members.
  • Event attendance: The number of community members attending your events or participating in your programs.
  • Member satisfaction: The overall satisfaction of community members, usually gathered through surveys or feedback forms.

Depending on your community platform, be sure to measure all of these metrics to constantly evaluate how your community is growing.

Not just the how, the why: some best practices

The key to great engagement isn’t just about adding value, but it is how you participate. Make sure you focus on:

  • Be inclusive: Ensure that all community members, regardless of their background, feel welcomed and valued. Actively seek out and address barriers to participation.
  • Prioritize clear communication: Keep communication channels open, transparent, and accessible to all members. Provide information in multiple formats and languages, if necessary.
  • Build trust: Develop genuine relationships with community members by being transparent, honest, and open to feedback. Show that you genuinely care about their opinions and needs.
  • Foster collaboration: Encourage community members to collaborate with each other and with your organization. Promote a sense of shared ownership and responsibility for the community’s success.
  • Continuously evaluate and improve: Regularly assess the effectiveness of your community engagement efforts using the metrics discussed earlier. Make adjustments as needed to better serve your community’s needs.

There are many ways to engage with your community, whether through events, programs, or communication channels.

Try some of the following:

  • Organize a virtual town hall meeting to discuss pressing issues and gather community input.
  • Host a community-wide contest, such as a photo competition, with prizes for the winners.
  • Create a community calendar to keep members informed about upcoming events and opportunities.
  • Establish a community ambassador program, where dedicated members help promote the community and welcome new members.
  • Organize a hackathon or ideation session to tackle specific challenges within the community.

Challenges and Opportunities in Community Engagement

Building and maintaining an engaged community can be challenging, but there are also many opportunities for growth and development.

Some common challenges include:

  • Member retention: Keeping members engaged and active over time can be difficult. Regularly evaluate your community engagement initiatives to address any issues and improve the experience for members.
  • Diversity and inclusion: Ensuring that your community is welcoming and inclusive to all members can be an ongoing challenge. Continuously assess your community’s demographics, culture, and policies to identify areas for improvement.
  • Time and resources: Managing a community and its engagement initiatives can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Prioritize your efforts and seek additional support, such as volunteers or community engagement organizations, when needed.

One of the main goals of community engagement is to address the potentially negative issues that affect your community.

This requires you to be proactive in identifying and understanding the challenges your community members face.

Some approaches to addressing these issues include:

  • Conduct regular community surveys to gather feedback and insights from members.
  • Encourage open dialogue and discussions on pressing topics, creating safe spaces for members to share their experiences and perspectives.
  • Collaborate with community members to develop and implement solutions to the identified issues.
  • Seek external partnerships and resources to support your community’s efforts in addressing these challenges.

Celebrating Success and Recognizing Contributions

Acknowledging the achievements and contributions of community members is crucial for maintaining engagement and fostering a sense of belonging.

By celebrating success and recognizing the efforts of individuals and groups within your community, you can create a positive, supportive environment that encourages continued participation.

Some ways to celebrate and recognize your community members include:

  • Share success stories and testimonials from community members on your communication channels, such as newsletters or social media.
  • Organize awards or recognition ceremonies to honor outstanding contributions and achievements.
  • Provide badges, certificates, or other tokens of appreciation to members who have made significant contributions to the community.
  • Encourage peer recognition by creating channels or threads where members can express gratitude and appreciation for each other’s efforts.

In summary, building community engagement in a community forum, Slack channel, or Discord channel requires a strategic approach, practical activities, and ongoing evaluation.

By understanding the types of community engagement, implementing best practices, and leveraging the support of community engagement services, you can create a thriving, engaged community that addresses the issues affecting its members and celebrates their achievements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is community engagement?

Community engagement is the process of involving community members in decision-making, problem-solving, and collaborative efforts to address issues that impact the community. In online forums and chat channels, it involves creating opportunities for members to participate, contribute, and connect with others.

Why is community engagement important for online forums and chat channels?

Because it fosters a sense of belonging, encourages active participation, and helps to create a vibrant, thriving community. Engaged members are more likely to contribute valuable content, share ideas, and support one another, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of the community.

What are the different types of community engagement?

There are several types of community engagement, including informing, consulting, involving, collaborating, and empowering. These types range from passive involvement (e.g., sharing information) to active collaboration and decision-making (e.g., partnering with community members to develop and implement projects).

How can I create an inclusive and welcoming environment for community members?

To create an inclusive and welcoming environment, ensure that all members feel valued, respected, and heard. Encourage diversity, establish clear guidelines for behavior, and proactively address barriers to participation. Provide accessible communication channels and be responsive to the needs and concerns of members.

What are some practical activities to increase community engagement?

Practical activities to increase community engagement include hosting virtual events, organizing community challenges or contests, encouraging member-generated content, creating subgroups or channels for specific interests, and providing opportunities for members to volunteer or contribute to community projects.

How can I encourage collaboration and interaction among community members?

Encourage collaboration and interaction by fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, providing clear guidelines for communication, and creating opportunities for members to work together on projects or discussions. Offer tools and platforms that facilitate collaboration, such as shared documents, project management software, or designated discussion channels.

What are some examples of successful community engagement initiatives?

Successful community engagement initiatives can include organizing virtual town hall meetings, hosting webinars or workshops, creating mentorship programs, developing a community newsletter, and establishing a community ambassador program.

How can I measure the success of my community engagement efforts?

Measure the success of your community engagement efforts by tracking key metrics such as active users, retention rate, content contribution, event attendance, and member satisfaction. Regularly evaluate these metrics to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments as needed.

What are some challenges associated with building community engagement?

Challenges associated with building community engagement include member retention, diversity and inclusion, time and resource constraints, managing conflict, and ensuring the relevance and quality of content and activities.

How can I address the challenges of maintaining an engaged community?

Address these challenges by continuously evaluating and improving your community engagement efforts, prioritizing inclusivity, providing clear communication and guidelines, seeking external support (e.g., community engagement organizations), and celebrating the achievements and contributions of community members.

What are the best practices for managing an online community?

Best practices for managing an online community include fostering inclusivity, prioritizing clear communication, building trust, fostering collaboration, and continuously evaluating and improving your community engagement efforts.

How can I create a sense of ownership and shared responsibility among community members?

Encourage a sense of ownership and shared responsibility by involving community members in decision-making, providing opportunities for members to lead projects or initiatives, and promoting collaboration and support among members.

How can I ensure that my community remains relevant and engaging over time?

Keep your community relevant and engaging by staying informed about members’ interests and needs, adapting your content and activities accordingly, and continuously seeking feedback and input from members.

How can I effectively moderate my online community to maintain a positive environment?

Moderate your community effectively by establishing clear guidelines for behavior, consistently enforcing those guidelines, and providing channels for members to report any violations or concerns. Train moderators to handle conflicts and issues in a fair and respectful manner, and create a transparent process for addressing any disputes.

How can I leverage community engagement services or companies to support my efforts?

Community engagement services or companies can offer expertise, resources, and support to help you manage and grow your community. They can assist with strategy development, moderation, analytics and reporting, and training or workshops.

What role do community engagement organizations play in supporting online communities?

Community engagement organizations can provide guidance, resources, and support to help online communities build and maintain engagement. They can offer expertise in best practices, strategy development, and implementation, as well as support for specific initiatives or projects.

How can I use events to foster community engagement?

Events, such as virtual town halls, webinars, workshops, and contests, can provide opportunities for members to connect, learn, and contribute to the community. Promote and facilitate event participation by providing clear information, accessible platforms, and opportunities for interaction and collaboration.

How can I promote diversity and inclusion within my online community?

Promote diversity and inclusion by actively seeking and welcoming members from diverse backgrounds, addressing barriers to participation, and creating a safe and supportive environment for all members. Encourage diverse perspectives and provide opportunities for members to share their experiences and insights.

How can I encourage members to contribute content and ideas to the community?

Encourage content contribution by creating a supportive environment, providing clear guidelines and expectations, and offering incentives or recognition for quality contributions. Provide platforms and tools that facilitate content creation and sharing, and actively promote member-generated content within the community.

What are some ways to recognize and reward community members for their engagement and contributions?

Recognize and reward community members through public acknowledgment (e.g., in newsletters or social media), awards or recognition ceremonies, badges or certificates, and peer recognition channels. Offer tangible incentives or prizes for contests or challenges to motivate participation.

How can I effectively handle conflict and negative behavior within my online community?

Handle conflict and negative behavior by establishing clear guidelines for behavior, consistently enforcing those guidelines, and providing channels for members to report any violations or concerns. Train moderators to handle conflicts and issues in a fair and respectful manner, and create a transparent process for addressing any disputes.

What are some tools or platforms that can help facilitate community engagement?

Tools and platforms that can facilitate community engagement include project management software, collaboration tools, shared documents, communication platforms (e.g., Slack, Discord), and event hosting platforms (e.g., Zoom, Webex).

How can I use analytics to inform and improve my community engagement efforts?

Use analytics to track key engagement metrics (e.g., active users, retention rate, content contribution), identify trends, and uncover areas for improvement. Regularly evaluate these metrics to inform your community engagement strategy and make adjustments as needed.

How can I create a sense of community identity and pride among members?

Foster community identity and pride by developing a shared vision and values, promoting community achievements and successes, and encouraging members to contribute and collaborate on community projects and initiatives.

How can I encourage members to take on leadership roles within the community?

Encourage leadership by providing opportunities for members to lead projects, initiatives, or subgroups, offering mentorship or training programs, and recognizing and promoting members who demonstrate strong leadership qualities.

What are some ways to maintain member interest and engagement over time?

Maintain member interest and engagement by continuously adapting your content and activities to align with members’ interests and needs, seeking feedback and input from members, and providing opportunities for members to connect, learn, and grow within the community.

How can I ensure that my community remains a safe and respectful space for all members?

Ensure a safe and respectful space by establishing and enforcing clear guidelines for behavior, addressing any violations or concerns promptly and fairly, and providing channels for members to report issues or conflicts. Create a culture of respect and support by fostering open communication and promoting inclusivity.

How can I involve community members in decision-making and problem-solving?

Involve community members in decision-making and problem-solving by creating opportunities for input and feedback, such as surveys, polls, or discussion forums. Encourage collaboration on projects or initiatives, and provide platforms and tools that facilitate group problem-solving and decision-making.

How can I leverage partnerships and external resources to support my community engagement efforts?

Leverage partnerships and external resources by seeking collaborations with organizations or individuals who share your community’s goals and values, tapping into external expertise and resources, and exploring grant or funding opportunities to support specific community projects or initiatives.

How can I continuously improve and adapt my community engagement strategy to meet the evolving needs of my community?

Continuously improve and adapt your community engagement strategy by regularly evaluating your engagement metrics, seeking feedback and input from community members, staying informed about new trends and best practices, and being open to change and innovation. Use this information to refine your strategy and make adjustments as needed to better serve your community’s needs.

5 Things I Would Do To Fix Twitter

5 Things I Would Do To Fix Twitter

So, Elon Musk has purchased Twitter.

I don’t really want to get into the politics of whether this is a good or bad thing (other people are already debating this), but it got me thinking about what needs fixing in Twitter.

There is little doubt that Twitter has a number of challenges facing it with bad behavior, trolling, misinformation, and more…and much of these problems stem from a broken incentive model.

So, I decided to put together a video with five practical recommendations of what I would focus on if I was in Elon’s position to deliver practical improvements to how Twitter works.

I cover solutions including:

  • Building a better incentive model that focuses on reading, content, collaboration, and more.
  • Integrating citations into Community Notes to provide clarity around news-related topics.
  • While people can pay $8 to be verified…provide a pathway to earn verification at no cost (especially important for low-income users, students, etc.)
  • Creating better features for content creators (and raising visibility of content based on key metrics.)
  • Opening up how the Twitter algorithm works.

Check it out: ?

Should you use Facebook Groups for Your Community?

Should you use Facebook Groups for Your Community?

Yeah…yeah…I get it…Facebook…

…even people who use Facebook don’t seem to be huge fans of Facebook as a company…but let’s put that to one side for a moment.

Thousands of companies, interest groups, support groups and more use Facebook Groups every single day, so, here is the question: are Facebook Groups a good platform for building an awesome community?

You know what, it is a fair question.

There are a billion people on Facebook, and Facebook Groups are totally free…so does it make sense to dip your fishing rod into the communal fish pond (so to speak?)

Well, unlike people on Twitter complaining endlessly about anything to do with Facebook (or Meta), I decided to remove emotion from the equation and explore if Facebook Groups are any good.

In my video I explore the good and bad of Facebook Groups covering features, capabilities, insights, data, notifications and more…while also demoing a live community in a Facebook Group.

Finally, I will let you know what I would do if I was in your shoes and whether I would use Facebook Groups for a community…

Spoiler alert: there is a lot to like, and there are some things that really suck…give a watch and let me know what you think!

How Developers Stay up to Date in 2022

How Developers Stay up to Date in 2022

Developers are a really important demographic for a lot of companies. Front-end, back-end, QA, cloud architects, mobile devs…every tech company needs clarity on how to engage with developers.

But…how do you know how developers like to stay up to date? How can you be a voice in the places they are listening?…

…well, I reached out to my friends at SlashData and they shared some super-interesting 2022 data that shines a light on how thousands of developers have chosen how to stay up to date.

I not only walk through this 2022 to help you to make sense of it…but I also provide some super-practical recommendations of how you can build engagement with developers TODAY.

You should definitely check this out if you are:

  • Wanting to engage more effectively with developers…
  • Want to better understand developer habits and interests…
  • Want to reduce the amount of content that doesn’t get seen…
  • Want to optimize your overall developer engagement and developer relations…

Check it out:

Also, be sure to check out my other video sharing the 2022 data for how developers like to learn and problem-solve here:

How Developers Consume Content in 2022

How Developers Consume Content in 2022

Developers are in high-demand for technical companies and communities, but getting developer attention is harder than ever before…

…so, a lot of companies and communities create enormous amounts of content to attract developers…but a lot of it doesn’t get any traction.

Bummer.

So, how do you figure out how to create content that developers will love?

Well, we start with data.

I reached out to my pals at SlashData and asked them if they had some insight on how developers like to learn and solve problems…and boy did they deliver…

They sent me data from surveying thousands of developers that is enormously helpful in helping to guide how we structure and developer content developers will love.

So, I put together a video I walk through:

  • An overview of the data from Slashdata that sheds light on what kinds of content developers prefer for learning new technologies and problem solving.
  • An analysis of these trends and what it means for you (especially how it impacts your community platforms.)
  • Based on this data, I recommend 3 practical things you can do today to optimize how you create content for developers.

Where you work in AI/ML, cloud, mobile development, game development, open source, infrastructure, web3, or any other industry where you need to grab developer attention…this video is a must watch.

Check it out:

This data is powerful, so be sure to share it with others who are building developer enagement.

How to Deal with Internet Trolls

How to Deal with Internet Trolls

Did you know that 5.6% of people self-identify as Internet trolls?

This isn’t particularly surprising…but there is a broader challenge…

…I believe that a much larger group of people are not Internet trolls…but they are generally anti-social when online.

This still presents a problem for us…how do you deal with these people so you can not only limit their damage and manage them…but also so you can sift out useful feedback from the noise?

Well, I decided to put together a quick video guide.

In it I cover:

  • The science of Internet trolls and the “dark triad” of personalities.
  • How to judge if and how you should respond…with examples.
  • How to “Stay Classy” when dealing with difficult people.

You can think of this video as your go-to-kit for dealing with the difficult. Check it out:

Dean Baratta On Intelligence and Security

Dean Baratta On Intelligence and Security

Dean Baratta comes on to talk about his fascinating career in working in intelligence, security, and protection.

Communities are changing the way we do business. Discover a concrete framework for building powerful, productive communities and integrating them into your business. My new book, ‘People Powered: How communities can supercharge your business, brand, and teams’, is out now, available in Audible, Hardcover, and Kindle formats.

As usual, thank you to the fantastic Marius Quabeck and NerdZoom Media for mixing the show!

Sam Aaron On Live Coding Music

Sam Aaron On Live Coding Music

Sam Aaron, creator of Sonic Pi comes on to talk about live coding music.

Communities are changing the way we do business. Discover a concrete framework for building powerful, productive communities and integrating them into your business. My new book, ‘People Powered: How communities can supercharge your business, brand, and teams’, is out now, available in Audible, Hardcover, and Kindle formats.

As usual, thank you to the fantastic Marius Quabeck and NerdZoom Media for mixing the show!

David Spinks on Building Communities

David Spinks on Building Communities

David Spinks from CMX comes on to talk about how to build amazing communities and his brand new book.

Communities are changing the way we do business. Discover a concrete framework for building powerful, productive communities and integrating them into your business. My new book, ‘People Powered: How communities can supercharge your business, brand, and teams’, is out now, available in Audible, Hardcover, and Kindle formats.

As usual, thank you to the fantastic Marius Quabeck and NerdZoom Media for mixing the show!

5 Things I Would Do To Fix Twitter

David Jenyns on Building Amazing Business Systems

At the heart of every business is people. People though, need to work together to get great results, and this requires the magical balance of business processes, systems, and workflow.

The question is: where on earth do you begin in building these systems and workflows?

David Jenyns is an expert in building world-class business systems, having written multiple books and hosting his popular Business Processes Simplified podcast.

He comes on Conversations With Bacon to dig into the role of these systems and processes and how to optimize them. If you are running a business, or want to improve the place you work, be sure to check out our discussion!

Communities are changing the way we do business. Discover a concrete framework for building powerful, productive communities and integrating them into your business. My new book, ‘People Powered: How communities can supercharge your business, brand, and teams’, is out now, available in Audible, Hardcover, and Kindle formats.

As usual, thank you to the fantastic Marius Quabeck and NerdZoom Media for mixing the show!