Published by Angus on 03 Sep 2009 at 05:00 am
In many online communities, it’s just too difficult to figure out how to contribute – there are too many options and no clear hierarchy of choices. Community managers need to light a single path to show the way.
Managing a community implies that you know what your community goals are and that you’ve designed your online site to support those objectives. Taken a step further, you need to develop an engagement pyramid that makes a pathway for casual visitors to eventually become community evangelists and leaders. How do you do this?
- Make an “audit” of all activities on your site: What can a user of your community do on your site? When a visitor first lands on a page, what happens until he/she becomes a power user?
- Whittle down the list of activities: Are they really critical to getting the goals of your community achieved? Or are they just fluff and distraction? Alternatively, are you missing any critical activities?
- Build your pathway: Design specific activities that you want people to take at each stage of their lifecycle within the community. How do you turn a visitor into a member, a member into a contributor, a contributor into an evangelist, and an evangelist into a leader?
- Increase your yield: At each step along the pathway, you will naturally lose people. For example, not all visitors decide to sign up. There are three ways to improve your conversion rates. First, increase the perceived benefits of taking the next step – e.g. something as simple as new copy explaining the benefits. Second, reduce the cost of taking that step – e.g. fewer fields to fill in. Finally, consider reordering or eliminating steps. Do you really need visitors to sign in in order to contribute? For example, anyone can show up and edit a Wikipedia page without a login, but if you want to join the editor community you need to sign up.
- Increase the numbers arriving: After you have increased your yield at each step, look at ways to increase the number of people arriving at your starting point(s) – this could be Search Engine Optimization but also a well-thought-out social media strategy.
- Measure your baseline: How many people do you get each week taking each step?
- Set goals and measure your performance: What conversion rate do you want to achieve? How many people do you need to take a specific action per week? How does your performance fare against the baseline? The post Metrics for the Busy Community Manager may give you some ideas on how to do this.
- Iterate and improve: To improve your community performance go back to steps 4 and 5. Test alternative approaches and see which works best. Use data, not intuition, to make your decisions.
This post draws from a talk by Alexa Andrzejewski of Adaptive Path, given at the Web 2.0 conference earlier this year in San Francisco.
|If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.|
5 Responses to “Light your Community Path”
Leave a Reply