What Motivates Community Members To Stay Engaged In Online Communities?

(Richard Millington) #1


At some point, almost everyone looks at their community and wishes they could increase engagement. This usually leads to clever ideas that members might find interesting, but soon the novelty wears off and engagement returns to the same level.

The problem is a failure to properly diagnose why engagement decreased. Much like medicine and engineering, it’s far harder to diagnose the problem than to identify the solution. If you properly diagnose the problem, the solutions usually present themselves.

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(Matthew Mezey) #2

My engagement situation is probably a bit of a ‘social density’ nightmare. We already have a couple of dozen separate groups on a Buddypress site: [https://q.health.org.uk/get-involved/online-q-groups/]

We’re giving lots more offline groups an online space at the moment, so by the end of next week we’ll have around 40. The overall community is relatively new, and the groups mostly small (but growing).

I decided that the single 5am ‘Daily Digest’ notification that Buddypress offers is not the greatest way to encourage responsiveness and engagement in a group.

I tried changing the notifications to ‘All’ (a message whenever there’s a new post) with one small group and it clearly helped.

I think I’ll do it with all of them, unless a group lead doesn’t want to. None of the groups are getting so much activity every day that it would become irritating - and if I did get to that situation we could always change the group default. (And individuals who don’t like notifications can always change their own, even to ‘no e-mail’).

Does shifting the notifications to show all content as it happens (while the groups are still small-ish) seem sensible?

Matthew Mezey
(London, UK)

(Richard Millington) #3

We tried this briefly as I remembered, I think it did have an impact but it
caused some complaints so we stopped doing it. A better option is always to
give members the opportunity to ‘opt out’ - and make it VERY clear how they
can do that.

I’d say though if there are a lot of inactive groups, you might want to
take a more drastic step of shutting some of them down and following a new
approach similar to Nextdoor/StackExchange for group creation. Making sure
that each group is thriving before moving on to the next. My take at the
moment is you probably have too many groups.