By Brittany Lieu, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing
If you haven’t heard, we’re officially in a new era of “we.” As online communities continue to thrive in a post-2020 world, B2B marketers have leaned into the power of community-led growth to cultivate trust and credibility.
In fact, according to a research study by GWI and Reddit, 66% of respondents value belonging to online B2B communities because it allows them to connect with others of relevant interests.
As you begin to build or reinvigorate your online community, here are 3 strategies to inspire member engagement and drive meaningful conversations.
1 – Flaunt your “PhD”
Unlike content marketing, online communities not only educate but create an open channel of communication between like-minded individuals. The best ways to garner interest and inspire engagement starts with creating a space for conversation or people’s natural “Ph.D.” aka “Passion to have Discussion”.
Consistently pose relevant questions alongside current events or editorial content to spark conversation and encourage members to share their unique stories. The value of a community is not in the size of its member base, but in the quality of connections it creates.
Here are some tactics to prompt connection:
- Ask Me Anything Sessions: Find internal community experts and identify topics of interest with community data (ex. Common search terms, tags, or top discussion topics).
- Tip Tuesday/Thursdays: Engage incoming members by offering helpful tech-related how-to tips to ensure they get the most out of their community experience.
- Seed Content: Help foster more organic member-to-member engagement by posting on behalf of members that may be hesitant to do so themselves.
- Member Spotlight: Find your community’s top contributors and celebrate them! This allows other members to learn about each other and helps you spot community champions.
2 – Spotlight Superusers
A superuser is what you would consider a community golden child. They are members of your community who are invested in the mission, consistently active, and helpful to others. As you begin to identify your community champions and ambassadors, celebrate them! Recognize and reward those users to make them feel valued and appreciated within the community.
3 – Limit the Shameless Plugs
The last thing your members want is to be sold to. Create guidelines and engagement rules around excessive self-promotion. As members begin to see your or your brand’s value, they’ll come to you for a sales pitch. This allows you to preserve the trust and credibility amongst members without creating a sales floor out of your community.
Consistency is Key!
The key is always consistency. As you put these best practices into action, remember that developing and sticking to a planned engagement strategy will establish a foundation for your purpose-built community to organically bloom and mature on its own.