How do you get members of a social network to become active, to engage with your site? The pros tell us that you have to consider how different groups behave in your network, and tailor your strategies accordingly. You also need to decide what you want people to do when then first come to the site. Finally, you have to find ways to keep them coming back and referring others. That is the essence of member engagement in social networks.
Groundswell, a company selling social network analysis, has created 8 slides to identify six behavior types in a network: creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators, and inactives. Read these 8 slides for background.
The company’s free tool, pictured above, lets you estimate the percentages of these behavior types in your network, based on your demographics. You specify the age, country and gender of your target market and the tool generates percentages of each behavior, using data from both social networks and other websites. You then tailor activities for your largest groups.
(Jeremiah’s post See Actual % of Community Pyramids with Technographic Data alerted me to this info, which I digest and bring to your attention.)
How to You Get Engagement in Social Networks?
But exactly how do you get social network engagement? Expert Dave McClure of 500 Hats has created a Startup Metrics 101 slideshow, with sections on acquisition, retention and referrals. Acquisition strategies (Slide 16-19) mean thinking about what you want users to do on the first visit. Retention mechanisms (Sildes 21-24) cover how users have been brought back (emails, RSS and widgets). Referral sources (slides 25-27) include sending links to friends, social media, widgets and affiliates. To dive into details, click the above link to his excellent slideshow.
“Engage Communities in Conversation” is also the title of Chapter 8 of Larry Weber’s book, Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business
10 Rules for Member Engagement
Here are its 10 Rules for encouraging engagement in private communities:
1. Invite the right people, keep it private and small.
2. View members as advisors to the community.
3. Find the social glue, make it member-centric.
4. Work at building the community.
5. Be genuine, encourage candor.
6. Just plain ask.
7. Pay even more attention to what members initiate.
8. Don’t squelch the negative.
9. Don’t ask too much, too often.
10. Use the right mix of technologies and methodologies and keep on experimenting.
People are tackling engagement from different angles, offering their insights. I hope these are provocative and helpful as you think about growing your social network.
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