The dead weight strategies that deserve to be left behind in 2016
Successful organizations are never satisfied.
They constantly reevaluate and optimize their approach. They're able to do this without crashing and burning because they devote a great amount of resources into measuring and analyzing every move they make.
How can associations adopt the same approach within a realistic scope and budget?
We can start by asking more questions. Many member engagement strategies that are "assumed" or "commonplace" either no longer cut it or actively work against us. So as we wrap up 2016 and take a look ahead, here are 4 overused and ineffective member engagement strategies to ditch moving forward:
1. Requiring a login for all of your content
All of us have faced the walled content roadblock before: "Login to view." "Enter email to view." It's a little deterring, isn't it?
Associations have to let go of the idea that everything needs to be kept behind the member wall. They are missing out on ample opportunities and exposure for their brand. By allowing people to view some of your content without mining them for their information (we call these "Anonymous Users"), you can engage with a broader audience and communicate your value more effectively.
You can learn more about the benefits of making more of your content available to everyone in our Anonymous User Infographic.
2. Overvaluing the number of discussions
Too many associations are appeased by the total number of discussions they see in their community. This over evaluation of content is built on redundant discussions and inactive groups - a huge turnoff for a first time user.
It's like having 100 tv channels, but 50 of them are white noise, and 30 are playing the exact same show.
You can combat this problem by consolidating discussions (and even groups) based on their focus and relevancy. For content that is "old" (a definition that will vary from org to org), archive those conversations to clear the air at the top while still allowing members to access them for future reference.
3. Clinging to ineffective features
There are a lot of bells and whistles associated with online communities. What better time than the new year to take a good hard look at which ones are actually serving their purpose vs. wasting space?
By trimming the fat of old or underused features, you will be able to devote more human and financial resources to the features that are actually being used, and in turn, improve those experiences even more.
We've talked about measuring the ROI of online communities as a whole before, but now let's consider the ROI of certain features. By giving value and measuring each one by metrics such as usage, referrals, contacts gained, or engagements, you can take a more micro approach to what you focus on next year.
4. Overlooking the lurkers
It's easy to focus your efforts and conversations on your most active and vocal community members. The big issue with that is the majority (90%, in fact) of your members are lurkers. Lurkers do not post or interact in your community but rather are constant consumers of content.
Much like walling off content, engaging with a certain "clique" in the association portrays a different, but equally off-putting idea of exclusivity. While lurkers might not be the most obviously engaged users, they are still users - they have the power of spending, word of mouth, and in-person engagement.
No two associations are exactly alike. However, there are clear trends among outdated strategies that once your individual association deems ineffective, should be retired. Your own analysis may even result in your own hit list of strategies to ditch, which is also a fabulous way to start the new year.