I always talk about Community, Content, and Technology as three pillars that need to work together in order to build and manage a really great community.
Many Community Managers are responsible for driving engagement and getting their members to be more active in their community. But a lot of Community Managers overlook the value of technology and how it can be used to build a more robust community.
Technology can be a great asset to enabling your community, but it can be confusing to figure out how to use digital tools and software to your advantage. Here are a few ideas on how to use technology to enable your community.
Use Chat Bubbles to Help with On-Boarding
We know that on-boarding new members to your community is one of the most important parts of the member’s lifecycle. But when these new members enter your community they need help, guidance, and some direction. To do this, I recommend that you use chat bubbles to allow for a guided on-boarding. I work with Mobilize, a platform that provides the technology you need to build and manage your community, and they have a feature called “Custom Flows” that allows you to give a guided walkthrough/tour to newly on-boarded community members.
In the above example, we’re using a Custom Flow to highlight a specific post. Each of these posts provides some sort of call to action for the newly on-boarded member to take. This helps them not only navigate their way around the community, but also gives them direction on what they should do as a new community member.
The Custom Flows are also great because they show you how your new community members are engaging with the content that you’re guiding them through. This can be very useful to help you identify the most valuable content that you need to put in front of your community members when they’re in the on-boarding phase.
Integrate Your CRM with Your Community Platform for Better Segmentation & Personalization
Your CRM contains a lot of important data about your community members, especially if they are paid customers. This represents a great opportunity to integrate this data with your community platform, so you can build more personalized experiences for your members.
For example, let’s say that you have a premium product/service that only your best customers buy. Your community platform should be able to integrate with your CRM so that you can identify the customers in your community who have purchased this premium product/service. Then once you’ve identified this group of customers, you can create a special sub-group in your community and auto-enroll them. Through this sub-group, you can have a Product Specialist or Customer Success team member communicate directly with these customers.
Because we can integrate these systems together and set up workflows/automation, a lot of this personalization and segmentation can be done in an automated way. This is just one example of how you can leverage the data from your CRM to enable your community, but you could also use this data to identify and reward your most loyal customers in the community.
Leverage Technology Tools to Create a Frictionless Experience
Part of enabling your community is creating a frictionless or easy experience for your community members. You need to make it easy to log-in, view content, post content, and engage with community members.
That’s why using technology like Single Sign On (SSO), so your users don’t have to remember another username/password, are so important to implement as part of your overall technology stack. You should also take the time to think through how you can leverage existing data (i.e. from your CRM) to pre-fill their user profiles BEFORE they sign into the community for the first time. And finally, you should set up optimal subscription preferences for all the emails that your community members are going to get, BEFORE they sign up for the community. This cuts down on the unneeded digest and informational emails that can get triggered once someone enters a community.
All of these are examples of small, but important, details that you need to think about in creating a frictionless experience for your community members. Many times, the technology platform that you use can help create this frictionless experience.
Use Technology to Create More Video and Rich Media
We live in a video and audio first world now. This implies that you need to start developing more video and other types of “rich” media (i.e. podcasts, short form video etc) to engage your community.
Video and audio used to be difficult, time consuming, and expensive to produce, but there have been a ton of new technology tools that allow you to create rich media for your community. Maybe you’re creating an on-boarding video for new members. Or maybe instead of doing a static/text-only post in your community, you’re actually posting a video update. Using audio and video puts a face and/or voice to a name and it will help you strengthen the relationship you have with your community.
In terms of tools, I’d check out VidYard or Wistia as simple, easy to use video recording tools that allow to use your existing webcam and computer microphone. You can even edit video within these applications and then embed the video directly in your community. That’s right, you don’t need to be a video producer or editor to create rich media for your community!
These are just a few technology strategies that you can use to enable your community. I’m curious, do you have any technology strategies or tools that you use to manage your community? What works? What doesn’t? I’d love to get your feedback in the comments!
Need more ideas on how to acquire and engage new members to your community? Check out my monthly Members Welcome (Spotify) podcast.