New Member Outreach Tactics

User acquisition is traditionally handled by social media managers as well as SEO specialists, inbound marketing, paid lead generation, and excellent product design.  But seeing as how community managers are usually the ones creating content, they play a role in this too.   How are new members found, engaged with, and retained?  The answers below should give you a good idea…

Q1: Where do you find new members for your community?

mbhahn You can find new members by allowing outreach via shares, word of mouth, competitor listening and more

Jmodio We’re mostly WOM, so current members. Then blogger outreach.

amywhiggins I look at who engages with us the most- using tools like @crowdbooster

CorbinKappler  We find new members for our community offline. Trade-shows, Meet-Ups, and casual gatherings are great

debng  Conferences, first and foremost. Face to face is always the best tool for outreach.

DrunkyMonken Everywhere! Social media, contests for users to invite friends, etc. No reason to limit to any one avenue 🙂

TheJournalizer As a CM, find other relevant communities and work with their managers for potential partnerships. No swiping

rhogroupee Customer touchpoints, Twitter, external blog participation…

newsle: We interact with top users from our platform to try to get them talking in our community

JPedde:  For us SEO is the root of this… we make sure a bajillion keywords are organically on top

Q2: How do you welcome new members?

DrunkyMonken  The best welcome for any community member is to have an awesome, solid, supportive community for them to interact with.

amywhiggins  It’s hard to keep up with new members for us- I try to tweet them a welcome

catykobe  Welcoming new members where you find them is always a good start! If you’re lucky, a tweet, personal email or handshake!

corecorina Welcome messaging on all touch points and incentives to participate!

debng  I sent “welcome to the community” & “thank you for registering” (snail mail) cards to everyone who signed up

jadefrank  Building a team of welcome volunteers w/in the comm is key. Ensure each new member gets a hello and is encouraged 2 speak up!

vargasl Don’t just focus on you/your org as resource. Connect person or group with another experienced cmty member.

trishofthetrade  On Twitter,everyone gets a personalized video msg from me. (Disclosure, video is what we do) Will do it til I can’t anymore

JPedde Offer welcome webinars if you have set dates that groups come into your internal community… face to face (ish)

vargasl I do like how @TheCR has office hours and new member calls. Great way to connect and hear the people behind the avatars.

Q3: What are your goals for community growth/new membership growth? How do you set & reach them?

amywhiggins  I have engagement and reach metrics. We reach them with outreach in other networks and contests

clickflickca My guess is to do a year to year comparison on metrics. Set a content calendar. Measure activations and compare.

CorbinKappler Set goals based on current growth, available marketing spend, and time allotted to invest in the community

mbhahn Growth goals should be tied to the quality product and service, if your not updating/changing to the times your not gonna grow

debng Goals are important because otherwise we’re going through the motions without motivating or striving to do better.

vargasl Need to look at metrics as a package. Member growth means nothing if they aren’t active. I prefer focus on levels of eng.

TheMiddle I heavily focus on engagement. Increasing member growth means nothing when there is no engagement.

corecorina Goals that are tied exclusively to quality are ignoring the value of reach and viral spread. Must build quantity through quality

Q4: What is the biggest challenge to member engagement (or retention)?

rhogroupee  So many options for users; you have to make your community crazy good to earn their time.

KellyLux Social media isn’t driving our community member (student) engagement or retention. It’s about the overall experience.

stephawie The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is pushing relevant and interesting content out.

gonewnorth Measurement and understanding of user data, habits and behaviors.

alphamommie Biggest challenge is retention from student to alum. We try to move them over to the Alum community but often just lose them.

vargasl The value is not necessarily what you / org value, but what your cmty values at each level of participation.

vargasl Acknowledge that “response” comes in different forms. A like. A comment. A verbal share. Track the connections, find value.

7Huck members’ needs change with maturity?

This digest is taken from the #cmgrchat held on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012.

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.