We asked our members how they keep things fresh in their communities, day after day, spring after spring. Here are their answers!
What are some simple ways to “freshen up” a community?
“We plan to run a Facebook contest this spring to stir things up a bit on our page. We don’t run them frequently (doing lots of giveaways isn’t really on-brand for us) so when we do a contest it’s a big deal and gets everyone pretty excited. Because of the way Edgerank works, the engagement levels generated from a contest tend to last quite a while.”
–Cindy Meltzer, Director of Community and Social Media at Isis Parenting
“Each month I remind our group owners to delete or archive out-of-date documentation, but I also suggest putting out new content in its place. A poll or a blog post asking the group what more they want can help jump start the conversation. Our consulting team also helps many groups revamp and restyle their overview pages to give it a fresh look.”
–Sarah Scoular, Community Manager at Cerner
I don’t so much have a spring clean, but rather a “closeout” to the proceeding year. We generally have community “best of …..” type polls that run in December. . . This seems to act as a great way to close out the old year and invigorate the New Year. Personally I don’t believe a community needs a specific “Spring Cleaning.” I think that cobwebs and a bit of dust don’t hurt as long as you make sure you dust regularly. Dusting once a year is never a good thing. Too much collects on your duster and you can get overwhelmed and sneeze a lot. So little and often is my motto.
–Sue John, Online community manager for 12 years
Connect with the Moderation team (if you have one!) and get some ideas and input about things you could do like:
- Which forums “aren’t” working? Are they too busy and need to be split? Are they too small and could be merged? Are there tensions in any which could be resolved through better structuring the forums? (Although this should be on-going – not a spring clean!)
- If you have quiet but content forums you might want to extend how many threads are displayed (ie. from 30 days to 90 days).
- Start a new pinned thread for info that has become too long & unwieldy.
- Get your moderator to write a new pinned welcome update that is fresh & relevant (or consider doing this if you don’t already).
- Make sure all your content is still timely and relevant (ie. closing Christmas threads, or new-school-year type of stuff).
- Add some fresh positive threads from the admin/mods/team letting the community know about your year, and what’s going on behind the scenes.
- See if your moderators want to change forums. Sometimes fresh eyes and perspective is good for all! It’s Autumn here so I have six months to avoid the spring clean!
–Alison Michalk, Director and Community Manager at Quiip
Here at TheCR we’re constantly looking for ways that our members’ interests can bring fresh air into the community. Identifying what is relevant and important to our members helps us create programming that keeps things “fresh” and unearths opportunities for new conversations and initiatives. If the community or conversation feels like it needs a breath of fresh air the first thing I do is reach out to members individually and check-in. I look for common threads between member experiences and try to find ways that we can either provide resources to meet their needs or even better, encourage members to spark initiatives and grow engagement around those common topics and experiences. –Hillary Boucher, Community Management Fellow at TheCR
Are you spring cleaning at your community this year or do you do prefer to do a little more often like Sue?
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