Sharing an experience for extra thoughts: a one-to-one contact to ignite users

reading

(Laleh moli) #1

I’d like to share one of our recent experiences in a small community.

background:

it’s a small QA community, where people talk about problems not directly related to themselves but needed by them.

e.g. food waste problem in the large scale.

test:

Last week, we were testing how would it affect the community if we ask them personally to think about a particular theme, and talk about the problems they face in the forum.

the particular theme: “books”, for two reasons:

  • more or less everyone has experience in this issue.

  • the past month was the book festival, and people were more exposed to “books”.

purpose of the test

to help the regular visitors to create a topic (increase the rate of visitor/creator).

results so far:

  • we’ve contacted only those who were visitors during the past month and has a time-read of at least 15min in our forum, ~ 40 people.

  • 10 of them has visited the forum afterwards,

  • 2 of them have responded to the task: to create a topic about challenges they face when reading or shopping books.


what now?!

we’re now thinking about the way we may improve the result.

if the messages were automatic, the results weren’t so bad. but in a one-to-one contact, the efficiency can be better.

any question or comment is more than welcome as it helps us think about it from others perspective. :smile:

p.s.: I tried to make the post as short as possible, but it’s still so long! :flushed: thanks for reading it.


(Piper_Wilson) #2

What a fantastic idea. I’m going to be watching this thread with interest.


(Sarah Hawk) #3

Firstly, thanks for sharing. I love hearing about other peoples experiments.

So to clarify – you set a specific theme and personally contacted people asking them to share an experience?


(Laleh moli) #4

exactly, and based on the results it didn’t work great.


(Sarah Hawk) #5

So in essence your goal was to convert lurkers into posters by finding a low barrier to entry? I’ve tried the same many times but I think those sorts of things are always a bit hit and miss, and probably in vain.

You either find a topic that resonates with people or you don’t. If they don’t have a compelling reason to be a part of the community anyway, they’ll probably respond if they have a particularly personal connection to the topic (or it allows them to show off in some way) but not come back.

@Suzi_Nelson had some initial success with this kind of thing but I’m not sure it panned out long term. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this Suzi.


(Suzi Nelson) #6

Thanks for tagging me in @hawk!

We did do a lurkers week last year with posetive results (case study is here). Basically I tried to figure out some broad reasons a subset of our lurkers weren’t participating and created content to address those obstacles. Do to limitations in measurement, it’s difficult to report with confidence any substantiale long-term effect that links directly to that initiative.

That being said, I took what I learned from that theme week and applied it to a daily community content calendar - that means routinely posting successful content that was tested during Lurkers Week. We’ve found that using branded images and gifs with Lurker’s Week-esque content has had a measurable effect on our participation levels (but that result is probably specific to the Facebook platform).

@richard_millington posted a great article on watching for spikes in activity - it feels great, but it’s important to recognize that it’s a short term solution. Community strategy should focus more on long-term results.

I’ve tried other theme weeks in the group that center around what our community likes to talk about - specifically, marketing strategies. I’ve found it’s incredibly difficult to get these super dialed in. I think it’s because our community comes from so many different areas of expertise and our members are in a varying degrees of business success. The subset that would participate in theme weeks is tiny.

For example, I tried to host an “Email Marketing Week” that failed pretty miserably.

However, “Traffic Week” got much more activity. That’s because learning how to get paid traffic is a SUPER sexy topic for our members - it’s one of the huge ways they make money as a business.

So I guess the moral of the story is, you have to keep your community’s priorities and movitations tippy-top of mind when working on discussion themes (and community content in general). Work hard to diagnose the “why” when people participate or they don’t.

Then, adjust and try again :slight_smile: Don’t get discouraged! Keep on testing, and use the info you get during short-term tactics to inform your communtiy strategy as a whole.


[29 May] What are you working on this week?
(Laleh moli) #7

we had a one-week “talk about your book reading experience”, it was fun and somehow inspired by lurkers week case. more importantly it was a very active week for our members, we also had adsorbed several new users/posters!

number of posts and replies got increased by a factor of 7-8 in this week.

but after the week, the forum has became so silent!

does anyone have any experience about such silence?


(Richard Millington) #8

@lolmol Unfortunately I think that’s pretty common.

Novel ideas get a short amount of activity but because they don’t tend to fundamentally add enough value to the audience, they fade in popularity quite fairly quickly. I remember us doing an exercise week a year or so ago and activity spiked for a while.

But over time it died down because (i suspect) it doesn’t really add enough value or is relevant enough to our day to day work. I’m a bigger fan these days of working on specific projects that are both novel and useful - then moving on to the next relatively quickly.

Book reading groups are actually a common example of this. Very useful in short-term, but not fundamentally relevant over the long-term.


(Laleh moli) #9

thanks @richard_millington for the support/confirmation :heart:

2 questions to find out more; why do you think they don’t add enough value to the audience? and what kind of value do you mean?


(Sarah Hawk) #10

Because they’re ‘flash in the pan’ fun but they don’t help people get smarter, or more connected, or richer (or whatever is valuable to them). You might pop by a forum and see one of those kinds of posts and think ‘heh, I’ll jump in with an answer there’ but you’re never going to think ‘I must go back and check that topic every day because it’ll make my life so much better.’

That’s dumbing it down, but you get the gist.


(Laleh moli) #11

:thinking: , some data that may help:

  • during the past month (i.e. after our book week) more than 200 users have logged in to the forum.

  • let’s say 3/4 of which are new or have been active during that “book-week” (our campaign week).

  • the rest 1/4 are those users that have been active beforehand. also among these 1/4, there were a small community of 7-8 people who were our top users and had an amazing contribution during time.

  • after the book-week the forum came back to normal subjects, i.e. lifestyle/environment/economics/… problems.

  • before & during the book-week, the top users were the ones who had the most contributions and answered to most of the questions/discussions.

  • after the book-week, the top users became like other users, silent most of the time.

  • after the book-week, we kept the pace, i.e. the two moderator of the forum had the most activity.

I don’t agree with “they don’t help people get smarter” , during the book-week, the discussion were very supportive (our top users support the week and the contributors very well; and that was the only fun part!).


some questions:

  1. is there any way to have the short-time campaigns for the growth of the community, and keeping the current ones?

  2. what are other alternatives rather than short time campaigns, to bring people in (and make active members)?

p.s.: of course it’s soon to judge and perhaps we need to wait little longer to see if we really lost our previous contributors or not. but I’m just thinking of a way to make the balance in our campaigns as we will have some other campaigns for our growth, if we don’t find any alternatives.


(Sarah Hawk) #12

I wasn’t specifically referring to your book week – I was generalising about tactics to bolster engagement. :slight_smile:


(Laleh moli) #13

I guess I rushed in :dizzy_face: and raised my guard not in the right way … .