Very good question. Imaging you have a community which is as addictive as Instagram, Fb, or other social media. This addiction is the key to have a high retention in the community, which is one of the primary goals of any community builder.
Based on what I have learned from a youtube video, a speech by "Richard Millington", there is a secret in all online communities: "most of the online communities are waist of time and money".
It applies specially to the online communities started by bigger organizations. Well it may sound silly to post it here, but the truth is most of the companies do not have return on investment in their community projects, unless they have figured "one thing" that makes the community addictive. That key feature is the "sense of belonging".
The sense of belonging in a community bring:
- Customer Retention: Your users are loyal to your community and your company
- Customer Advocacy: It is the sense of community that makes users to have more advocacy
- Knowledge Exchanging: It makes people to will for sharing their knowledge with others
- Higher Level of Productivity: Specially from your employees and your end users as well
- Higher Employment Retention
Users have healthier, happier, and wealthier life when there is the sense of community. So, the sense of belonging make any group stronger and is the key element to make the community addictive.
Now, let's see how we can create this sense of belonging and addiction in our communities?
- Create boundaries:
separates insiders from outsiders. Boundaries make any community stronger. Boundaries create a sense of exclusiveness, which makes people greedy to join the community. It works for any kind of exclusive clubs, like golf clubs, and it works online too. So, you need to create a sense exclusivity.
How to create those boundaries? how to distinguish the insiders from outsiders?
-Demographics: Who we are, age, gender, locations, etc.
-Habits: What we have done, what we can do.
-Psychographics: What we like, what we don’t like
What are the feature on Tribe that allows you create those boundaries? Either have your entire community "Private" or use the "Private Groups" feature.
- Create your groups in a way that it shows the potential of each group’s members:
Like, if you have groups for experienced, you can promote that group as a place where they can share their valuable expertise with others and get recognized among other experts. Or, if you have a group for new members, promote the group as a place where new ideas can be shared. So, seeing and promoting the potential of each group makes users willing to join and contribute in that group.
Remembers that more boundaries, harder to get to each groups, more likely your users will have the sense of belonging in a community.
However, in creating and launching each group, one of the most common mistakes is that many people are starting with big launch. Remember, always start with a small group to get successful. You better activate a group with 15 friends in that sector. If you don’t have enough friends in that sector, make friends in that sector.
- Make Rituals:
Create emotional and cultural connection between the community members. It makes the bonds stronger and make your community more addictive.
- Have a "Place":
If different groups of people know the place to gather, they are more likely to come back to the community. You need to have a common space for all community members and a specific place for each groups of people. You can use Tribe "Group" feature to create those places for each group.
- Create a Shared Narrative:
Do the story telling and share the history of each group with the members of that group. The purpose if that people know why they belong to this group. Also, if there is a new members in a group, they can learn that history too.
- Shared Emotional Connection:
Share emotion means that your community members have the same feeling about the same thing and at the same time. For example, when there is a soccer match, if your team wins, all the fans will celebrate together. They share the same feeling around the same event. This shared feeling created the sense of belonging to the group.
- Find small victories:
Find small victories and turn it to a big victory. Have a massive celebration for the good things happening in the community. This can create the shared emotion, explained above, that makes stronger bonds between the group members.
- Initiate Deeper Discussions:
Even if needed, steal some discussions from other sources. It is ok to still, just like what I am doing right now :) Have discussions that let users to talk about themselves and their thoughts. Ask your members about their experience and expertise. This way, they feel they are not only consumers, but providers. Create opportunities for your users to be seen positively by peers.
That is what I have learned and experience in my own community as well. Thanks for reading it and leaving comments. I am open to any feedback.