From research conducted Nonnecke, B., Andrews, D., Preece, J 2006 suggested that only 13.2 % of those questioned had no intention to post from the outset.
Historically participation levels have followed a pattern.
On Wikipedia it is suggested that participation levels will follow the 1-9-90 rule. This is based on the idea of creator, contributor and lurker.
Socious suggest its 10-20-70 whereas Community Roundtable (with full time facilitation) says it can get towards 15-30-55.
So what happens to all the rest in the middle? What can we do as facilitators to increase participation and member engagement?
That’s what our latest online chat focused on. How do we engage members especially the new ones?
We asked four questions to help guide the discussion. Below is a summary of the discussion.
1.What are your key elements of your acceptance/welcome messages that help engage new members?
- Introduction to the group
- Introduction to the facilitators
- Reminder to set up notification
- Direction to key content
- Direction to key discussions
- Links to welcome pack
- Link to walkthrough video
It was also noted that a large percentage of groups with low activity and low participation rates, did none of the above.
2. When and how do you follow up with new members?
- Follow up after a certain period of time to ask if they need help (time dependant).
- Follow up after first participation.
- Encourage a second participation as quick as possible after the first one.
3. How do you help new members participate without feeling overwhelmed?
- Tip from an external community was to provide a hotline number for members to contact the facilitators.
- Include your email address in your group description.
- Simple message reminders asking for help or input to discussions to all members.
- Encourage people to people interaction. Don’t hide behind FAQs.
4. How can other community members help engage new members?
- Encourage a buddy system between members from the same or close by organisations.
- Build a core group of members (Champions to assist new members).
- Member referral. And the person who referred the new member will be the buddy and introduce them to the group.
A big thank you to Ken, Melissa, Yvette and Dimple for taking part in the discussion who provided some great insights.