Now that you have established your community, and its goals, you will want to focus on expansion. How to greet new members, what information to share, how to encourage them using your resources and super members are all part of this multi-step progression. Creating and maintaining one-on-one relationships with new members is wonderful, but standardizing the welcoming procedure is only beneficial as your community grows.
Depending on the specific type of community, members may have discovered your group in various ways or have varying levels of familiarity with the community concept, so the process of bringing them up to speed is crucial to the community growth. This process is known as community onboarding. From creating a simple registration and welcoming new members, to sharing information and encouraging relationships with other members, onboarding new community members can be an undaunting, worthwhile, and rewarding process if done right.
Keep It Simple
The beginning of any new stage, including that which is straightforward and exciting, can seem overpowering. Especially in an age of rapid technological developments, navigating online spaces can be confusing for some. It is imperative, therefore, that the onboarding process includes registering in a way that’s as smooth as can be.
Not only should your instructions be clear, but the process itself should be as straightforward as possible. Minimal forms and complicated steps contribute to an easy registering process, but screening questions are beneficial to ensure the community is continuously expanding with fitting members.
Welcome New Members
When your new members are joining, it is important to establish an online connection with them as soon as possible. For this reason, sending a welcome email is a great way to create a rapport with new members. A personalized email especially, helps to form a personal relationship.
The content of your email should include instructions for how to update their profile and encouragement to add details such as pictures, where they’re from, hobbies, etc. It is important for the email to include this call to action, as it encourages involvement in the community right from the start. Similarly, including a way to contact you will only reinforce the welcome message- that the community is excited to have the new member join. In this vein, maintaining a warm, friendly, and energetic tone in the email is crucial.
Provide Information About the Community
In addition to a warm and welcoming email that includes practical instructions, it is also important to convey the community details. Despite the fact that they are already in the community because of a shared interest, position, or passion, new members may find the specific community new and overwhelming. Whether it’s sharing rules or how moderation works, or sharing a bit more about the purpose of the community, additional information is welcome, especially if it simplifies or explains what may seem complicated. Forums such as a ‘FAQs’ or links to earlier introduction posts can be of tremendous help. Your new members will appreciate your thoughtfulness and efforts to bring them up to speed.
Although it is possible your new members have been involved with other communities, don’t assume that the role they have played or the level of engagement was the same. Some members may not realize the culture of your community, and therefore encouraging them to post, to use polls, to update their profile, to engage with others’ content is a critical step. It allows for new members and more veteran members of the community to connect and network. Whether sharing an introduction post, commenting on other posts, or even liking them, new members can integrate and become a true part of the community with this step.
Engage community ambassadors
Not only does recruiting your community ambassadors to help with onboarding make the process more efficient for you, it can also be meaningful to your ambassadors. When you ask them for their help, it sends the message that you have noticed all the effort and investment they have put into the community, a message everyone likes to receive. Through giving these devoted members responsibility, you can make them feel a part of something impactful, in an area they are passionate about. Ambassadors’ engagement with new members’ posts or responses to their questions will make the new members excited for their journey and glad to be supported by someone from their new community.
Taking the time to ensure that your onboarding process is as straightforward, valuable, and simple as can be, communicates a powerful message to new members. Not only are you telling them how glad you are to have them join your community, but you are showing them as well. When you take time to communicate with them, send them helpful instructions and information, put them in contact with community ambassadors, and more, you are showing your new members how valuable their presence in your community is. This powerful message will, in turn, make them eager to create content and engage in the community.