When you’re running an early-stage community, engagement may be low. It’s easy to start frantically posting in an effort to fill the silence. So exactly how do you get your community members to contribute?
No one voice should be dominant in a community, especially the community leader. When members see a platform dominated by one individual, it can prove intimidating for them to speak up. Members are far more likely to engage and contribute to a diverse eco-system, where they can see their fellow members regularly contributing too.
The issue with this is, it’s easy for your community to fall into the classic catch-22. Nobody wants to contribute, because nobody is contributing.
The best strategy to get your community members to contribute:
It may sound simple, but it takes consistent work.
To make this guide super practical, let me share 4 real examples with you:
1. Small contribution to large contribution
Inside Learn.Community, my community for community builders, I recognise that many of our members have specialist knowledge in areas I do not.
One of our members, Stephen, is a Discord expert, a platform that I have limited experience with.
When Stephen recently shared some good pointers on how to leverage the platform, I privately messaged him, asking if he’d be willing to contribute a longer post on the topic.
The next day, I was blown away when Stephen created a mammoth Discord guide (one of the most detailed I’d ever seen!). This guide has become a go-to resource in the community that I continue to refer people to.
2. Look for specialists within your community
Recently, one of our members, Sara, started a new thread asking about audio/video recommendations:
As well as sharing my 2-cents to help Sara, I made sure to tag members Bobby and Dan, who I knew had far greater knowledge of video than I do:
As a result, Bobby left Sara a detailed text reply and even filmed a custom video tutorial for her. Incredible member generated value, and another pillar piece of content I can refer other members to in future, if they are struggling with their video setup:
Sara was of course blown away, Bobby felt appreciated and glad to contribute, and thus, the community eco-system at Learn.Community got a little bit stronger!
3. Always look for opportunities to tag relevant members
It’s so powerful to get into the habit of tagging relevant members. The natural tendency is to swoop in and provide the perfect answer yourself. However, deferring to other members, particularly when they’re more relevant for the question/situation is vital.
Recently, Learn.Community member James shared his community’s value proposition. Given that his community is for creatives, I saw a great opportunity to tag some vocal creatives within our community into the post.
As a result, several of these tagged members responded. This meant that James heard directly from his target audience (creatives), and that the post got a much more varied and nuanced response than if I had just given the only answer.
Top tip: I use Circle.so as my community platform. Circle actually includes a member directory, so I could easily search member’s bios for ‘creative’ and find our creative members in a matter of seconds. Check out my Circle.so review if you’re interested in the platform.
4. Recognise and encourage active contributors
We have many active contributors at Learn.Community, but one member who has really shone recently is Ronald. Ronald is far more technical than I am, and has been regularly sharing tips around automations, no-code solutions and efficiency hacks. I find his contributions fascinating, and wanted to recognise him accordingly.
I asked for Ronald’s permission to give him the title ‘active sharer’, and once he happily agreed, I announced this publicly.
This strategy serves several purposes:
- It’s important to praise and recognise your most active power users
- Ronald is now more likely to continue to share helpful content
- Other members began to congratulate Ronald, thus reaffirming his positive contributions
- Other members will be more likely to follow Ronald’s lead, as they see contributions being recognised
Get community members to contribute more by regularly including them
The bottom line is, whenever I am answering a question or helping a member, I’m always thinking of ways to include other members. I’m always thinking ‘how could this situation benefit from the power of the collective’?
Your community will quickly become a dull place, if you’re the only one contributing value.
It will thrive when you embrace the diversity of characters, experiences and knowledge within your membership.
Leverage your members. Appreciate them. Connect them.
After all, as a community leader, isn’t that your job?
Want to join us at Learn.Community?
If you want to join amazing community builders like those members mentioned above, you can apply for our next cohort of Learn.Community below:
My promise to you is that this will be the best investment you’ve ever made into building your community.