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[IPS News] 7 ways to nurture new members and encourage more participation

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There are many different reasons to build a community. It might be based on your business or a hobby. It may be to talk about your favourite sports team. Whatever the content, the key to success is to engage your community.

We've been helping successful communities for over 15 years. During that time, we've picked up a handful of tips that we are going to share with you today.

Pick one to try this week and let us know how you get on.

Welcome every single member
A great way to make members feel welcome at your community is to post a daily or weekly topic welcoming your new members. Post a short message asking them to introduce themselves and tag new members.

This will encourage them to start a discussion that others can get involved with. It won't be long before friends are made and what may have been a passing member will be part of your core community.

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Host a "lurker week"
Every few months, host a "Lurker week" where you encourage non-posting members to join in. You can explain the benefits of the community and encourage them to say hello. It's a great way to get people to introduce themselves.

Suzi Nelson pioneered this over at Digital Marketer. She created a lurker themed week and was able to activate 44% of her previously inactive members in only five days!

Spotlight members you want others to model
Often you will see a member do something amazing in the community. Maybe they posted a really good question or perhaps they have been very active and helped many other members.

Create a topic about it. Highlight how and why they are an asset they are to the community. This sends a positive message to other members that these kinds of actions will be celebrated.

You can even turn this into a weekly or monthly ritual where you celebrate the member of the week or month.

Educate about notifications
The notifications system in Invision Community is the best way to get return visits.

Why not put up a pinned topic in a visible area reminding your members how to get the best from the notification system, and asking them to enable them and follow any interesting forums or topics.

This way they won't miss out of any discussion while they're away and as a bonus, they're more likely to return to catch up.

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Regular Interaction
This is a very simple but often overlooked tip. As the community manager your purpose is to facilitate discussion. Make sure you show up regularly and create new discussions as well as reply to existing ones.

People are more likely to post if they feel they will get a reply. Often your reply will send off a cascade of more interaction as different facets of the conversions come out.

Ask for feedback
Members love to be involved in brainstorms and to share their thoughts. Asking for feedback works on two levels. You get great ideas on how to improve your community. It is also a great tactic to get discussion going.

Taking action on feedback makes that person feel more invested in your community and will champion it to others.

Try and be specific when asking for feedback. Try "How can I increase the level of activity" or "Do you need any articles or topics written on specific subjects". The more specific, the easier it will be for your members to narrow down their thoughts.

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Be persistent
These tips might give your community a short burst of engagement. To build a long lasting and highly engaged community, you have to be persistent and keep at it.

The key to building a community is simple: put in the work and care about your members. If your members see how much you care and that you are showing up every day, they are more likely to show up too.

Which of these tips are you going to try this week?

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