Understanding Community Engagement Woes

We had discussed the various fundamental issues affecting engagement in online communities. Once you’ve taken a hold of them, you need to work towards making it easy for members to contribute effectively. There are broadly a few reasons why people make their first contribution to a community. Enquiring to solve a problem or a feature, learning, increasing status, trying to fit into the group, or exploring with a group of like-minded friends are the chief ones amongst them.

This can be reverse-engineered to ponder about what makes some people simply stay, but never contribute?

This boils down to:

1) Lack of Insight to Question. This happens when members refrain from asking a genuine question in the community out of the fear of losing credibility or are simply shy. 

2) Lack of Expertise. This happens when the members are simply underconfident or actually ill-trained to contribute to the community. They are probably unable to create witty content or don’t possess the know-how of how to do so. 

3) Lack of belief that engagement will increase their status. A lot many members fear that their contributions or posts in a community may not be appreciated as nicely as they would want and would therefore not increase their social status. This is one of the biggest reasons for the motivational loss and stems from many reasons, including the communities’ own average engagement scenes. 

4) Fear of Nothing. In many communities, there is no danger of exclusion due to inactivity. This simply results in the fact that members don’t show urgency. 

5) Disappasionate Members. This arises when members of the community are simply not interested enough in the topic to indulge in conversations with other community members. This is an issue that is persistent while taking into consideration long-term participation.

A community manager should interview and survey the people who visit to see what stops them from engaging. Alternatively, different ideas can be implemented in stages and based on the outputs, more such ideas can be planned. They may be flash events, quizzes, AMA sessions, etc. Tip: it’s usually best to work from the top down.