What does your community look like now that it has been going for a while? To grow your community, don't focus so much on numbers but the type of activities and interactions you can implement to create a viable and sustainable community.
Consider the following strategies for optimizing the growth of your online community:
- Ask members to invite friends. Very simple, yet often overlooked.
- Keep score of top recruiters. If a member gets 5 friends to join, reward them. If they invite 10, give them a super reward. Better still, keep score and reward the best each month. If each new member helps you generate a profit, share it with whomever recruited them.
- The "share this" page. Whenever anyone adds content, use the confirmation page to let them tell their friends by e-mail, MSN, Twitter or by sharing it on their blog, etc.
- Competitions. Competitions work, especially ones where the winners are decided by popular vote. This means participants rally their friends and colleagues to visit and get involved. Be sure to keep these newcomers involved.
- Birthdays and celebrations. If someone's in your community, it's a safe bet they care. So let them create a birthday wish list of products they would love from your company, and offer their friends discounts/bonuses if they buy from that list.
- Interviews. When you interview someone, they're likely to get their friends to read. So keep these newcomers in your loop, at the end of the interview ask them to participate in a poll on a topic that came up during the interview, or discuss the interview in the forums.
- Appoint recruiters. Find the true evangelists in your community, and put them in charge of recruiting new members. It's like outsourcing your marketing, only to people who love to do the work.
When you started your online community you knew that a lot of hard work would be involved in order to attract visitors and convert them to members. You planned for this stage of your community's development. Don't stop planning once things are working well - continue to plan, and continue to listen to your members at all times. Be patient, it will take some time for your community to be truly successful, but you will be rewarded for your efforts and focus.
Check out our tips and tricks to grow your community in our intranet engagement guide.