Welcome or introduction topics

(Sarah Hawk) #1

I’m interested in your opinion on the structure of welcome or introduction topics.

IMO they tend to fill a community up with a lot of low-quality noise, unless there is a really carefully communicated framework – and even then…

We need some kind of CTA in the onboarding emails, and I think there is value to be had in offering people a relatively low barrier to entry on their first post. I tried to find some middle ground with our So, what are you working on? topic, but I’ve just had some really interesting feedback from @rcpavlicek who found its monolithic nature (45 mins reading time) off-putting.

It hadn’t occurred to me that people would think they needed to read it before taking part, so I’ve learned something.

How do you approach this in your communities?

(Alessio Fattorini) #2

Currently, I have a big topic that I update weekly welcoming new members and asking them to introduce theirself.
I copy such idea from David (CMX) and think it works very well, people tell us about their interests and motivations.
It’s really good for these reasons:

  • I can gather data about them and re-use for a future call on action (for example product comparisons) or mention them in a new topic
  • “speaking about me and why you are here” it’s pretty easy and low barrier to entry on their first post
  • mentioning people personally works
  • asking veterans to welcome new people works
  • new people says me: “thanks for your warm welcome, I’m happy to be here” and that’s enough for me :smile:

Hope this helps

(KiheiMan) #3

It’s really a fit for purpose question and you have to distinguish the “So, what are you working on?” from a “Welcome to community”.

I see the former, to your point, as an open dialog that does not require reading anything before you respond and those more interested can read away (and do so with the hazard of reading a ton of stuff which may or may not interest them). The latter is about what you want a user to know when they enter the community for the 1st through nth time.

We do this by having 2 separate highlighted widgets: Getting Started (on a side bar so it is not intrusive and yet immediately visible for those who need orientation/explanation/help) and Spotlight/News (front and center to inform about the latest/greatest, feature something or someone we want you to know because it is important in some way, product alerts/news as our customers always want to know about the next release or bug fix).

If you read between my lines above, it’s all based on knowledge about who your customers or potential customers are and catering to feedback you get!

(Richard Millington) #4

I suspect this is one of those situations where it’s hard to build a community in the meta.

In the beginning, I think this thread made a lot of sense. You get to see what everyone else is working on. But as we’ve been talking about recently on the blog, this probably doesn’t make sense anymore. It’s either too much, too busy, and just genuinely too noisy. More importantly, I’m not sure it keeps people more engaged in the community.

At this stage, I’d love to start encouraging people instead to create their own discussions. Perhaps share a problem they’re working on, something they’re trying to achieve, or even something they learnt recently from their work - anything that opens up self-disclosure and gives us a chance to help them achieve something. That probably means less people participating, but higher quality and longer-term retention.

(Sarah Hawk) #5

So I currently do both. The big topic has a much higher hit rate. People aren’t comfortable coming in an creating a new topic first up. In fact, not a single person has. All the new topics are started by people in the existing topic.

I’ll play around with my wording.

(Alessio Fattorini) #6

Currently, I’m tagging such topic as “introducing” then I search them better after.

(Charles Hoffman) #7

My experience; I do like the “what are you working on?” thing as opposed to a the general welcome post. The follow up encouraging people to create their own discussions is a tempting carrot although it is interesting to hear that you’ve not had any success with this as of yet.

I was very tempted to act on the invite to start my own discussion but I have yet to do so primarily because I’ve been organizing my thoughts however there is another factor that could be effecting some members - intimidation.

No one wants to be the dumbest person in the room and I think it’s natural for some people to sit back and soak it all in before creating a post that reveals their level of inexperience (hey, I think I’m writing about me).

(Sarah Hawk) #8

I should have qualified that a bit. I’m getting good results from encouraging people that have already posted in that topic to then post a new one if there is something specific that they need help with. I’m not getting results from emailing people with an initial CTA of creating a new topic about what they are currently working on.

[quote=“Tiltworks, post:7, topic:1302”]
…there is another factor that could be effecting some members - intimidation.

No one wants to be the dumbest person in the room and I think it’s natural for some people to sit back and soak it all in before creating a post that reveals their level of inexperience (hey, I think I’m writing about me).
[/quote] I’ve always been of the philosophy that the dumbest person in the room is the one that goes home just as dumb because they didn’t ask their question when they had the opportunity.

But on a more serious note, I’m hearing you. :slight_smile: I’m not sure what the answer is though, outside of being as encouraging as I can. Do you have any thoughts?

The way I see it, we’re all in this together. I manage a community for some of the best community managers in the world, and if that’s not pressure to be good all the time, I don’t know what is! Truth is, I still make it up as I go sometimes. I think that’s what being a good CM is about – trying things, learning lessons, and knowing when to pivot.

(Alessio Fattorini) #9

Great quote, love it! :wink: that’s what I am

(Nick Emmett) #10

I post at the end of each week with a quick, discussion topic and incorporate in to it a welcome message with the people that have joined the community that week. Our Community shows the members name and their company (in brackets) and often draws interest from other members familiar with the company name from an industry or even geographic perspective. I ask people to tell us what they’re working on and what they need help with. My top members generally reply with a welcome and a “give me a shout if I can help” message.

We have also started posting a monthly “welcome” message, on a slightly different angle, to welcome onboard those customers who have gone live that month with our products.

(JeffKRoss) #11

We send each new member of our internal community at work (called Buzz) a welcome email within a day of them joining. We ask them right off the bat to go to the “New to Buzz” group and answer 3 questions in a post (2 serious, 1 fun).

  1. What is your favorite part of your current role?
  2. How do you hope to use Buzz?
  3. What is one thing that you did as a child that got you into trouble?

We really enjoy seeing and interacting with people based on their answer to the third question. It’s fun, the stories are great, and we’re smiling because we just got a newbie to post within their first day or so of having an account.

The email includes a few other links and tips, but we don’t want to make it too long and intimidating as our first contact with them.

4: Confirmation and welcome emails
(Alessio Fattorini) #12

Good point, that’s the BIG problem in every community, especially in technical ones like mine. Ask help or say something that could be wrong is hard, then I tried to face it with a different way. Low-technical questions, generic feedback, comparisons with other products, requests for personal details and skills, etc…

(Kristen Gastaldo) #13

We have a really long “Introduce Yourself” topic. It has provided an easy way for members to contribute, but I’ll agree that it has become really long - and I can’t imagine members scrolling through pages of name/org/role/favorite blah blah blah. Just not a really good use of their time - considering my community is used by people for their jobs, rather than personal interest.

I do still include this in our intro emails, but also include a few topics that could use some love based on their interests. If I know a new member’s role, I’ll include a couple topics that I think they would be able to contribute to (and/or learn from). This makes it a little harder to track whether or not it’s working, being that I’m always rotating topics out. If I don’t have info about a member, I may just include the most popular recent topics or anything conversational, versus how to/product focused.

(Alessio Fattorini) #14

Some trying here, today I split my really big welcoming topic intrigued by @richard_millington and @HAWK’s thoughts, see what happens. I’ll keep you in touch

(Sarah Hawk) #15

Thanks for jumping in here @Kristen_Gastaldo

Do you individually research each new joiner and contact them personally?

(Kristen Gastaldo) #16

We have single sign on with our company site, so I have the email address of anyone who registers. I can just look in our records (or perhaps on Linkedin) to get the full name, org, and role of the new members. Sometimes I’ll go individual, or sometimes segment by role - just depends on how many new joins.

I would imagine that sounds crazy for anyone with a substantial size community, but ours is for customers-only, so we had a big bump in membership when we launched, but they kind of steadily trickle in (30 or so a month) as we sell and implement the product.

(Sarah Hawk) #17

I actually do the same thing. I’ve only just started specifically tracking the links in the personalised vs system emails to see whether it’s worth my time. It feels like they get a better response, but would be good to have confirmation.