By Ted McEnroe, Head of Research and Content, The Community Roundtable
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
I try not to take too many words of wisdom from old shampoo commercials, but that Head and Shoulders Shampoo tag line does resonate for me when we think about communities. Joining a community is a major step for a member. In external communities, it often means they have an issue about which they need to learn – or a resolution. In internal communities, it can mean something as basic as a new job or promotion that brings them into the community.
Regardless, joining the community marks the moment when they have to walk into the room and say hello.
How do you think they feel when no one even notices?
Bottom line – the research backs up what intuition tells us. Communities that create new member programs to get members settled, help them understand expected behaviors and navigate the community have higher levels of engagement than those that just leave the front door open for people to come in.
Another piece of this we should note – and will write about more later. When building out your new member program, think about making the most human connection possible. Program elements that feature real people having real conversations have a greater impact on engagement than handing out a new member guide or automated welcome message.
But if you’ve taken time to create a community – the research shows, it’s worth taking time to give new members the best possible first impression.