How to nurture new members and turn them into super members.
If you’ve ever watched a finale episode of Survivor, you know that fire-making is tricky.
Too much oxygen too quickly can extinguish the fire, but gentle blowing can turn an ember into flames. (Cue disapproving look from Jeff Probst.)
It’s exactly the same with new community members.
You want to welcome new members, and make sure they feel “noticed,” but if you swarm them with too much attention, messages, and onboarding activities, they may feel overwhelmed.
There are a couple of simple actions you can take to turn timid new members into active participants.
First, reply as quickly as possible to their first post. You never want to leave a first post unanswered if you can possibly help it.
Second, make sure the reply draws out a further response from the new member.
A deep, thoughtful back-and-forth is more valuable than 10 existing members jumping in to say “welcome.”
After the first post, you can’t drop the ball. There should be a clearly defined path from newbie through obsessed community ambassador. Set up your incentives, behaviors, and content to encourage members down that path.
- Encourage self-disclosure
The more you can get members sharing about themselves, the stronger those relationships will be. We wrote an article about this.
- Recognize their contributions (special badges, titles, access, or callouts)
Pretty simple, people need to feel appreciated. A quick note from you, a special title, or exclusive access to something are all easy ways to make a member feel like an insider.
- Give them a way to identify with the community
Does your community have a special name? Do everything you can to get members to make the community part of their identity with swag, unique branding, or shared marketing materials they can access to help spread the word.
- Down the road, ask them to volunteer or be a moderator
Try to create opportunities for active members to take the next step and actually help run the show. This type of activation cements the trust relationship, and can harness the energy of your superusers in a way that helps you and the rest of the community.