Have you ever invited someone to your home?
Unless you have an extremely small cabin tucked away in the Alaskan wilderness, I suspect you probably have. Perhaps your guests were friends, family members or Airbnb renters - regardless of their status, you have set the stage for creating memorable experiences for whatever length of time they are present. In organising your community platform, the same theory applies.
As a host, you want to create a space that is not only welcoming but draws them back whether that’s for the content, engaging people, or memorable events. You want to give them a sense of value and belonging that incite them to turn aside other engagements for the experiences promised in your home or, in this case, community platform.
What does it take to be a good host? You may probably already know the answers but let’s consider three key concepts in moving forward.
Ensure new members receive a warm welcome
From the moment of activation, ensure that your members feel welcomed into the community by having a well planned orientation experience. If you are working with a smaller community, you may reach out to them individually, along with your standard invitation. If you have a larger member base, you could recruit your champions to assist in achieving this goal.
Either way, you can incorporate little touches to make new members feel comfortable such as an online webinar for new users to orient them on the platform, a digital welcome pack with resources on how to best maximize their community benefits, or simply a personalised hello. These acts of consideration will welcome your guests in feeling comfortable as they enter your online home.
A good host always has a plan
As a community manager, it’s tempting to assume your members will drive the content and value they believe is essential to their experience once joined. However, this is often not the case, particularly in the beginning as they are still finding their groove.
Therefore, they are looking to you to guide the party as all good hosts do. Keep a continuous strategy in place that incorporates fresh content on a regular basis, interactive events - whether online, offline, or both - as well as clear opportunities for feedback to assess whether this strategy is meeting their needs.
Ask yourself, would you invite others into your home for a weekend without a plan in place? Probably not, so it’s best to avoid it with your online community as well.
Flexibility is good for all
Have you ever stayed with a friend or family member who was unwilling to try something new or shake the schedule up a bit?
It can lead to an awkward visit and a sense that it’s more about them than you. Let’s make these experiences about your community members by adapting to their needs. Incorporating and keeping an eye on your analytics can be extremely useful. What activities are they engaging in? What posts draw the most comments? Do you provide surveys for regular feedback? Ensure you connect with the vibe of your community and pivot when necessary. While it’s important not to veer off the course of your organisational mission and purpose, you can often do so while also enhancing those experiences clearly valued by your supporters.
So stay flexible - you never know what you can learn from those new to your home!
These are three key concepts you can incorporate in your approach. Of course, there’s always more that can be done to make your guests comfortable whether in your online platform or in your abode, but these are fundamental steps for building the right ambiance and sense of community. What are your thoughts? We would love to hear your top tips for being a good host on your community platform.
Hivebrite is a leading provider of branded community management platforms and helps all size institutions grow and engage their community - Feel free to visit us or request a demo if you would like to know more.