Building member relationships are very very important for every community builder. It is the most important thing that determines the success of a community in the long run. So, why this community relationship building is super important?
At scale, the best thing that you can do for your community is to be not required in the community and your members are able to drive value for each other. And that can only happen if you build meaningful relationships with members of your community. So, one of the things that can help your community exist that way is if you get volunteers who also commit to the mission that you have.
If they are not there, then it will be difficult for your community to exist on its own. And that will also be the most fun part of community building, to get volunteers to help you in achieving your community’s mission. And your volunteer will also help you create your happy space – your community.
The volunteer will help you in everything that you would do in your community. So, basically, member relationships are something that is most important. But, it’s also something that is not like art. It’s a science that a lot of people have already figured out. Of course, there are a few pieces of puzzles that are still unknown for a lot of different types of communities.
And every community behaves differently. But, there are very very interesting activities that people do to build member relationships systematically. And in today’s blog, we will try to understand the activities that different community builders do to build member relationships.
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In today’s blog, you’d learn:
- Different Onboarding Activities For Community Relationship Building
- Post Onboarding Activities For Community Relationship Building
- Examples Of Community Relationship Building Activities
…And much more!
So, let’s get started!
Different Onboarding Activities For Community Relationship Building
So, what we have learned through our research is that, when it comes to structuring member relationships, a lot of communities think of member relationships in 2 phases. The first phase is the onboarding phase, which has to be much more hands-on. Onboarding is probably the most important time for any member to really find value and commit themselves to the cause of the community.
So, a lot of good communities focus on building member relationships right at the onboarding. So, below are 3 onboarding activities that you should include in your member onboarding process to build strong member relationships:
- Personalized welcome message in the introduction rooms
- One-on-one calls to discuss the goals and expectations
- Personalized calls to members having trouble signing up
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Post Onboarding Activities For Community Relationship Building
Now, member relationship building just doesn’t get over with the onboarding process. It is an ongoing process that needs effort consistently. So, below are 6 post onboarding activities that you can include in your member relationship building plan for creating strong bonds with your community members:
1. Innovative Online Networking Events: So, we suggest you do a lot of networking events. That helps in building relationships. So, try to have one networking event every two months, at least. And try to make it a little informal, so that everyone can casually also know each other, and build relationships.
2. Volunteer Programs: The second one is the most important thing that you can do. Run various volunteer programs. So, what you can do is, at least, the events that you do in your community, try to have them run by volunteers. So, try multiple event formats and find the most successful one for your community.
Then make it completely volunteer-led. Right from thinking of the topic to thinking of the format, and how you can improve the format – let everything be done by your volunteers. So, try a few formats along the lines of accountability partners. Do that for a couple of months, find interesting ways to successfully do accountability groups in the community, and then launch the program after implementing your learnings.
So, what we want to emphasize is volunteer programs are the most important thing that you can do to build deep relationships with at least, a few members who resonate with the mission that you stand for.
3. Niche-Based Chat Groups (Sub Communities): Then what you can also do is have a few niche-based chat groups, which can be thought of as sub-communities. And to create these sub-communities, observe what is the interest of your community members. Analyze the discussions happening on it in the community.
Then try to add more and more sub-communities along the lines of those discussions. Let’s say, if there are certain community consultants, you can probably create a sub-community of those. If there are certain healthcare-specific community builders, you can create a sub-community for them.
So, over the next few weeks of creating these sub-communities, you’ll start seeing more action there. But again, make sure it is volunteer-led. And having these smaller, niche, micro-communities, helps in building member relationships a lot.
4. Shoutouts On Social Media: One more thing that you can do is, give a lot of shoutouts on social media. Not only to the volunteers but also to some of the members who are doing great work in their journey of community building. That will also help and give you a way to have a conversation with them.
They will also feel a little bit more rewarded. So, that’s another thing that you can do.
5. Gamification Of Online Events For Member Bonding: This is an excellent way of building member relationships in your community. Whenever you host an informal online community event, you can make use of the various online tools to gamify the whole event. And the best part is that a lot of these amazing tools are available for free!
6. Regular Feedback From Members: Another thing that you can do often is to take regular feedback from members. Especially in events. You can share a link to a Typeform through which you can try to understand what could be improved in your community events.
So, these are some of the things that you can do and it shouldn’t stop at just taking feedback. If you’re doing, let’s say, named feedback, you should actually reach out to these members. Try and understand what can be improved. One of the biggest learning that came out from our research was – the earlier you are able to give ownership, even at a small level to your members, that is the best way to build member relationships.
Because they get committed to the success of your community. And if they get committed, you’re not alone in the journey. That DNA spreads. They will get more members excited about the mission that you stand for. So, this is one learning that you should take away from this blog.
Also Check Out:
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- Online Community Rituals: How To Leverage Rituals To Boost Engagement?
- Online Community Membership: Tips For Building A Paid Membership Community
Examples Of Community Relationship Building Activities
So, now that you have a good understanding of different types of onboarding and post-onboarding activities, here are 9 examples of how you can create these activities for your online community:
- Introduction Rooms: So, as mentioned in the blog above, create introduction rooms in your online community. This way, you can give everyone a personalized welcome to the community. So, there is one way you can give a personalized onboarding to the members.
- Personalized Welcome Messages: This is like a one-on-one message that will go from the community manager to everyone who joins the community. Try to just let them know that you are there if they need anything. Give them the assurance that you are happy to understand and help them in their goal.
- Semi-Formal Chatroom: Then create certain semi-formal chatrooms in your online community too. These chatrooms could be a room where members share good news and updates about their personal or professional life. Or it could be room for something as simple as sharing memes.
- Niche-Based Chatroom: Along with the semi-formal chatrooms, also have niche-based chatrooms. This could be something like a wellness club within the community.
- Collaborations And Help: Have a chatroom that is specifically for collaborations and asking for help. Such chatrooms are usually the most active chatrooms in a community and they help in creating great member relationships too. So, such chatrooms are very focused on people wanting to network with each other, seek help, or give help.
- Fun Community Activities: There can also be certain topic-based chatrooms where topical discussions can happen. This chatroom can be on anything and everything community building or specific to the niche to which your community belongs.
- Benefits Of Volunteers: Having discussions with volunteers about events can change the structure of your events completely, and for good. So, that is one of the real ways to build member relationships. Try to be informal with at least, your core set of members who are passionate about the mission that you stand for. Try to give them ownership.
- Shoutout On Social Media: As we mentioned earlier too, give shoutouts on social media. And you can create different formats to do that. You can have something like a community quote or something called community manager spotlight. So, keep finding excuses to interact with your members and recognize their efforts. So, you could also try that to build relationships.
- Feedback: Take feedback. A lot of feedback is generally given after events. So, you can create an event room where people can drop in their feedback after each community event. Also, keep taking anonymous feedback through a survey. But, if someone wants to give named feedback, you can give them the option of event room to do so.
Onboarding Activities For Community Relationship Building In Various Communities
Now, let us talk about some of the community activities that various online communities are doing. So, below are 5 onboarding activities that various online communities are doing to build strong member relationships in their community:
1. Creating WhatsApp Groups: So, the BlueLearn Community is a fairly large online community. They actually keep creating WhatsApp groups as their community increases. And every WhatsApp group becomes like an onboarding mechanism for new members. They educate them about what to do, and how to use the community through that WhatsApp group.
So, in the same way, you can also do a platform walkthrough, a one-on-one video call, or use automation tools to onboard new members.
2. Weekly Or Monthly Orientation Calls: And then, there are communities like HEN, where they do a welcome call. They do it every month. So, in their case, for a few members, the onboarding goes on for even 30 days. Whereas some online communities like MyCaptain, have a very defined onboarding for 7 days.
So, they do things like weekly orientation calls to make sure everyone who joins, within the first 7 days, knows what is the platform, and what can they expect from the community.
3. Community Introduction And Welcome Message: Then a lot of people use community introduction rooms and welcome messages. This again, as mentioned in the blog above, is a great way to provide a personalized onboarding experience to the new community members. And it also gives the older members a way to keep engaging in the community.
4. Brief About Periodic Events Where Community Members Can Be Contributors: So, a lot of communities use this activity for member onboarding, where within the first week, or the first month, whoever contributes the most, they actually recognize their efforts in front of everyone. So in MyCaptain, what they do is, in the second week, they would ask one of the members in the first week to onboard other members.
And they ask the members to talk a little bit about what their experience has been and what they have seen & learned from the community. So, that is a very very helpful way to make your members feel belonged to the community. And we cannot emphasize more why this is important. Having a sense of belonging and ownership is the best way to build member relationships.
5. Share The Community Playbook: The last one on the list is sharing the community playbook. So, Leap.Club does this. They have a Notion document, which they share with everyone about the best practices of the community, what can they expect, and some of those things.
So, you can use some of these ideas to improve the experience of your community members on the onboarding side.
Post Onboarding Activities For Community Relationship Building In Various Communities
Just like onboarding activities, there are various post-onboarding activities too that are being executed in online communities consistently. So, below are a few post onboarding activities that you can use for building member relationships in your community too:
- At HEN, they believe strongly in the concept of listening and then responding. So, they take a lot of feedback from their members and then make improvements in the community based on the same. They reflect on challenges and opportunities in a collective way.
- Whereas at Let’s Make Stories, they use celebrating achievements and efforts of the members as a post-onboarding activity to build stronger member relationships. After all, who doesn’t like to be celebrated?
- On the other hand, community and members-related weekly & monthly updates are BlueLearn’s mantra to build member relationships after the onboarding process is over. And a simple way to do the same is to create a room specifically for these updates. And it can become a community ritual.
- Community builders of Let’s Make Stories also like to use rewards and recognition of community members for building relationships with members. So, basically, they try to keep members at the center of all their member relationship building activities.
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