I manage the Avon Beauty Connects community (http://www.avonbeautyconnects.co.uk) and we have been trying some new tactics to engage our community such as competitions, asking them to choose their favorite logos for us upload, starting more middle weight conversations (away from make-up!) just wondered if anyone else had any success we could try? Thanks! 🙂
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Firstly "love the community" design is very clean n fresh I guess my first question is what are you looking to achieve from the engagement, sure engagement is good but if your looking to drive something deeper, longer lasting then your approach may change, is the end game increased advocacy, sales, support or all of the above .
Competitions/giveaways are great for a shot hit however you often find that after the event activity will drop off dramatically also I think given your brand you've got a lot of opportunity to be creative for example, spinning the competition participation around something like best video product review, you get user generated content which you can re-use in your site whilst also having something richer than text.
Do you have a super user program?
If not i'd definitely look at this as its often easier to get greater engagement of that user base and the output from them both in activity and advocacy would be better which also has a positive impact on all other users.
You're a great brand for this and not sure if you do them already but ive found them to be very successful in delivering a quick hit with sustained engagement. Essentially you find an expert in your business and run a live Q&A with them on the community but market it before and also re-use the content from the day after the event to help maintain the buzz. I work for a utility and if we can make it happen im sure you guys could.
I know a lot of brands will do blogger outreach programs however ive not seen any who actually pull this into their own .COM activity "no doubt these youtubers demand a massive premimum". I probably know more about this than I should "dont judge me" but people like Estee Button, Bethany Monta, Ingrid Nilsen, or even Judy from Its JudysLife who may be more aligned with your target consumer would all drive a lot of traffic, buzz within the community. Similar to the expert days. You could try and pull people like these guys into your community for Q&A type sessions or even if they are reviewing your products in their own videos, pull this content into your community drive discussion.
Im in the minority "i think" in that I actually push my community to discussion everything and anything "within reason" obviously you have a purpose "beauty" which is a great core to build discussion around however as you enable users to talk about "stuff" other than your products they will discover and build relationships with other members helping your community become more "sticky" and actually become a community of users which is defined by their activity and interest not just because we call it a community, over time these users even if talking about something else are on your .COM the're building realtionships and an affinity for your brand "Own your conversations"
One way to help users really feel apart of the community and brand is to let them get involved in product R&D, this may actually be limited to a set of users rather than all but again with a brand like yours im sure your customers have loads of ideas of new products, stuff you did but dont anymore and giving them a stronger voice into the brand to really shape the product set can be very powerful and drive engagement however this is a longer term tool and may not give a quick hit. that said you can drive activity around suggesting ideas, voting for them amongst peers and refining the end result.
So i know you have reviews on the avonshop however they dont appear to be linked to community, I guess the shop came before the community so understand why. You have another opportunity here to not only drive traffic to your community from the shop by embedding content into the product pages but also the reverse which is curating content about products in community, linking and tracking that link back to the shop this will also drive more engagement about the product in community
Exploit system emails...
I see that you already have branded system emails which is great but I would try and look for ways you can exploit these "in a good way" and without spamming the user to cross promote activity on the community such as a blog, member, products review of the week etc. You can also use these emails to raise awareness of things like kudos and solutions to drive more of these "if you're using them"
Ive gone on a little more than I intended and im sure others will jump in with some great suggestions... these may not 100% work for your community/brand but are things ive used, using or testing and found helpful.
Good luck 🙂
I see you have more community members than posts. That does suggest a problem to me. It could be the result of offering incentives such as competition prizes to encourage people to register and/or not having clear call to actions for new users to get involved.
I would look at the total experience for new users. Once they sign up, are you promoting a number of easy ways that they can participate on the community straight away? Eg links to casual "getting to know you" discussions, quick and interesting questions that the majority of your community members are going to be interested in and/or have an opinion about. Have a think about some of the most popular discussions on your community and/or community rituals and how you can introduce them to new users.
Also, sharing images can be very easy for new users and is appropriate for your community. It can be less intimidating than posting text for some users. You might like to consider a photo gallery. We've repurposed Lithium's Contests feature for this purpose but Lithium's New Media Experience is going to make it much easier.
Stephen has provided a lot of excellent advice but I would also reinforce the importance of a superuser program. If that seems overwhelming, a first step might be to start writing weekly updates about the past week's activity on the community and the top users. You will not only highlight the best discussions but also recognise and reward your superusers. You could also write profile pieces on your top users. Again, this shows how much you value them and can also be inspirational to others. As you start to identify who your core group is you can start to build a program around it. It can start with very simple things like a private board or a special badge.
WOW, thanks @Fellsteruk 🙂
Yes we have actioned some of the abouve, we have a super user programme called 'Super Stars' where we award them a new badge and engage them to lead by example, post answers etc. We also ask them directly to support us with product reviews etc. They love it!
We have done some Q+A sessions but we don't always find these to be popular but maybe we make them bigger and better!
We have also been posting more off topic convos and some of these get great engagement but some are more tumble weed!
I love your other suggestions, let me create a plan and get back to you!
Thanks, Rene 🙂
Community management is 2 parts science, 1 part madness, 1 part trial n error with a dash of Passion. Actually more than a dash, i guess the point i trying to make is that there isnt a right or wrong answer and you have to test and learn knowing that sometimes ideas wont work but to give it ago..
I recently split a mobile phone board into 4 as it was getting very busy. I created a "wearables" board however after 2 weeks my 3 posts were the only 3 so i got rid... Maybe one day there will be demand for me to bring the board back to life but i wouldn't have know if i hadn't tested it, felt like there was enough discussion in the initial board but just not enough for its own board...
Thanks @JasonHill .. the member number is a bit misleading as we have a single sign on for all Representatives, so we collect that number from all interactions such as a Rep clicking through from our ordering site (she may not realise she is entering another site).
We are launching the Contest functionality this week so I'm interested to see how you re-purposed this?
It's a learning curve but a we love it! 🙂
It certainly takes something to manage a community! However I love the make-up and consumer side of things! We are trying hard to improve our SEO but a large portion of the community is behind log in so is not captured 😞
We were thinking of splitting some of our boards as they are getting quite busy but are also concerned we will lose the engagement.
Splitting boards are needed and a sign things are growing but your right to be curious about if its the right thing to do, if you split it into too many boards and don't have the content to maintain the flow you will have a ghost town but the flip of this is that your single board is so busy your cannot keep track...
I would suggest you review the content in the boards your considering splitting, out of interest how busy are they "post/topics/day" if you find that you have different topics being discussed in the board and its 10's /day then i would suggest you split the board. It will not only help create and curate an area for said topic which will hopefully grow but also help new users discover and navigate your community, it could be difficult for new users to "see whats on offer" if the boards are more generic and have less of a clear purpose but as you've flagged you need to make sure its not a ghost town.
I would suggest you review content, pull a plan together in terms of "what are the new boards" i would also share with your super users and other members to get their thoughts, then I would create one board at a time, move the relevant content into the new board and monitor the activity, encourage your super users to move any relevant content into the new boards and even seed a few discussions as needed, you could go big bang and split them all over night but I've found this less successful than splitting over time to avoid any shock in the community.
I previously managed a support community for a software company and am now about to launch a DIY community for an Australian retailer.
We've repurposed Contests into a simple photo gallery where users can quickly and easily share inspirational photos and/or shots of their projects. We are not the first Lithium customer to do this. One of the best examples is Sony UK who have done a great job encouraging photographers to share their images. That said, you are probably best waiting for Lithium's new Media Experience.
Like @Fellsteruk, I would proceed very carefully with splitting boards. You might find it has a detrimental effect and actually reduces the amount of discussion. People are more inclined to post on a board that they perceive as being very lively, and less inclined if there's little activity. Lithium will say boards typically need at least 5-10 new threads a day to be considered healthy.