The holiday season is almost upon us. Which means that any business with a community, network or membership base might see engagement decline. This is natural - people’s priorities change for a couple of weeks - but if you don’t want to come back to a ghost town after your vacation, here are 10 of our top tips to keep you close to front of mind:
1. Plan it
As with anything related to your community, planned activity is always more effective than throwing stuff out there and hoping some of it sticks. Be strategic and focused – when you say you want more/ ongoing engagement, what do you mean? Logs in? Comments? Conversations? Attendees? Awareness? Once you know what your goal is, work backwards and start to form a structured plan around what will get you there.
2. Value is in the eye of the beholder
Whatever your activity, make sure your members stand to derive some value from engaging. Remember, it’s about them, not you. This applies regardless of whether what they may gain is intrinsic (so eg they feel they have helped someone, learnt or improved something) or extrinsic (where they might be awarded something for being involved, such as higher access to your service, or a free giveaway.) Whatever it is, make sure it has genuine worth for your members. If you don’t know already what they might appreciate, find out.
3. Happy landings
We often hear about communities running scavenger hunts or quizzes, especially around this time of year. Absolutely fabulous if you have a community who embraces this kind of activity, but if you are at the more serious end of the spectrum, make sure whatever you do will land with that specific audience. And don’t stray too far from topics that your members expect to hear from you on. No need to go off-piste on your messaging just because Santa Claus is snowboarding into town!
4. Early warnings
If you’re looking for engagement when people are potentially not following their normal schedule, make sure you tell people what’s going to be happening before they set their out-of-offices. Build a level of excitement if you can, so members feel they mustn’t miss out. Then, when you are in the midst of the down time, make sure you follow through on your commitment.
5. Jolly (is) good
In the festive season, people don’t only take time off work, they often use the time to relax, catch up with loved ones, and have fun. Maybe you can match this with something shorter and more light-hearted than usual.
6. Put down that megaphone
Whatever you do, make sure yours is not a one-way channel. Think how your activity can get a conversation going. Involve your members, encourage feedback, discussion or sharing. And don’t forget, people are far more likely to engage if you strike the right note from the start. Model the behaviour you would ideally like to see and engineer that outcome.
7. Keep the punch bowl filled
We love automation, and we all want to grab a few days off too. But this is not a time to assume the network will run itself. Make sure you have sufficient cover from your team to keep the party going.
8. Don’t get carried away
Be realistic – there will probably be some drop off. And this is probably not the time of year to expect your biggest engagement rate, so don’t get crazily ambitious (in size, scale or even results) with your plans.
9. Easy over
So we’re definitely not expecting you to introduce any new platforms or initiatives at this time of year, but consider where your community will be and make sure what you are doing is easy for them to engage with over the season. You might want to focus on social media channels, messaging services or, if you have one, your app. Be where people will naturally be, rather than on platforms they might use primarily for work (eg Slack, Zoom etc).
10. To thine own self be true
Your community won’t want you to suddenly appear to be something you’re not. Even in the festive season, authenticity is still the name of the game. Hold true to that and your community will be with you every step of the way.
We have a very simple workbook to help people map out their festive season engagement plans. Click here to have a copy sent to you.
What are you plans over the festive period to keep your community engaged? Please do share them below.