Are you feeling the LOVE in your online community right now?
Whether you host free or paid groups (on or off Facebook), you have to care for your members if you want them to care for you in return.
In this article, you’re going to learn how to care for your group and make your members feel seen, known and loved.
Before we go too much further, do this exercise: Think about the online communities you participate in, the ones you love, the ones you don’t and the ones that fall somewhere in between — the ones that are “meh.”
Are you thinking about them?
Now, think about what sets them apart. What is it about the ones you love that make you love them so much?
Ideal online communities provide members with an opportunity to connect with the leader, the content, and each other.
But connection is subjective. Too often, I hear from exhausted community leaders who feel like running their group takes more work than pushing a boulder uphill. They feel like they are suiting up and showing up, providing their absolute best and getting absolutely nothing in return.
We have all been there…it’s normal for groups to experience quiet seasons.
But when it stretches beyond a season, you have a problem. And if you have this problem, you know you need a solution.
The Love Languages of Online Communities
Take note: Details Matter.
More than a hat tip to the Amazon Original series, Reacher, this is the honest truth.
If you want a highly engaged online community, you have to pay attention to the details. The problem is most community leaders don’t pay attention to the right details.
If you’ve read The Five Love Languages, you know that there are five different ways for humans to feel and express love:
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Physical touch
Though you can’t directly apply the five love languages to online groups, you can use the concept to understand what will and won’t foster community and engagement among members.
The first thing to do is figure out what motivates most members to join and stay in your group. If you don’t know, ask.
If you lead a Facebook Group, you can make it one of your three screening questions members have to answer before they join. You can serve them better when you know what pain they are trying to soothe when they join. You can also post a poll in your community, asking either why folks joined or what keeps them around.
Once you know what attracts members to your group, you can align your offers in the group with what is most appealing.
No need to martyr yourself for the group. Look for overlap between what you want from your group and what they want from you. Then, show up in ways that benefit you AND them.
Case Study: The Secret to Thriving Online Communities
In The Secret to Thriving Online Communities, my free Facebook Group, I know members show up because they want authentic relationships with their group members. Though they want to expand their reach by increasing brand awareness, growing their email lists and developing a bigger social media presence, they don’t want nameless/faceless followers. They want to connect with followers as much as they want their followers connected to them.
Knowing that about my community means I also know they won’t stick around if they feel nameless or faceless to me. It matters to them when I remember details.
Details like Meghann Guentensberger’s nonprofit devoted to the memory of her daughter, Rylie. Or that Jen Mackinnon lives in Nova Scotia and typically watches my weekly workshops on replay because the live broadcast takes place after she’s in bed.
Members feel loved when they see how I pay attention, and that’s what keeps them coming back for more in our group.
What keeps your members coming back to your group?
How to Increase Engagement in Your Online Community
Here are some ideas to make your members feel seen, known and loved — and to increase engagement while you’re at it:
- Host live workshops
- Lead Q&A sessions around topics of interest to your members
- Facilitate connections between members by tagging members in comments to invite them to share their thoughts
- Respond to members’ posts and comments promptly and offer helpful suggestions relevant to their specific situations
- Create resources for the group based on common questions
- Celebrate members’ accomplishments, especially when individuals are stretching outside of their comfort zones
- Recognize your most engaged members each month, celebrating their contributions to the group
Making group members feel seen, known and loved isn’t a hit-and-miss endeavor. It takes consistent time and effort, but by following these tips, you can create a thriving community that your members find too valuable to ignore.
Need Help with Your Community?
Team Kubo specializes in online community design, development and growth. Whether you need help with strategy, training your admin team or day-to-day management of your group, we can help. The first step is to complete our no-cost community health assessment, so we can identify your needs and customize a plan to get the results you desire.