We had an awesome time catching up with a few folks today over Google Hangout, talking about what it takes to revitalize a community. The full video of our conversation is embedded below. Some key takeaways:
You can’t force a disengaged community to change. The people who have an existing cultural expectation are really hard to shift by sheer willpower. That being said, there are still some things you can do:
Tips for re-engaging a dormant community
1. Create a diverse set of ways for people to connect.
Not everyone socializes the same way, so you should ensure people have as many different avenues as possible. This includes online discussion groups, social events, one-on-one invitations to connect, and special onboarding meetings for new members.
2. Identify individuals who you can focus your attention on.
By performing a full evaluation of your community and who’s in it, you can find a smaller number of people who might likely respond to efforts to jumpstart activity in your community. Talk to them one-on-one and see what kinds of possibilities emerge.
If you can get just one person to set an example for the others, things get easier from there.
3. Treat people like humans.
It’s hard to over-estimate the value of just talking to people. Getting to know people as people and not just customers paves the way to deeper connection, which provides a critical base of trust upon which greater things can be built.
Talk to people about what they care about. Find out what makes them tick. Get them talking, and then look for opportunities to help them to see how they could use your community to help them.
4. Let go.
Again, you can’t force these kinds of things. Fortunately, every community has turnover, and in this there lies a fresh opportunity. Every time an old member leaves and a new member joins, there’s a chance to shift the community’s culture by ensuring the new member has different expectations about how things work.
You can take this further by planning special events designed to attract new members in a way that sets more participatory expectations right off the bat.
Cotivation is designed for just such a purpose. It gives organizers an easy way to reboot their community using a simple, out-of-the-box procedure that consistently generates powerful new sub-communities inside of larger communities.
Over time, the positive and participatory cultures of these sub-communities pervades in the rest of the community. Then you’re on your way!
Lots more in our hour-long conversation embedded below. Pop it on while you work and of course contact us with any questions! Our next round of training for new organizers kicks off the last week of August. If you’re interested in joining, register now!