Feeling at home in an online community

Is your online community welcoming to members?

The clue’s in the name. If members don’t enjoy interactions they won’t come back.

This week I’ve been examining how online communities such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Ning create a sense of community for their members.

Keeping members happy:

Those in charge of the community need to make their members feel valued. When a change occurs, it is important to obtain feedback from members.

An example of this is the blog promotion and blogger networking site Entrecard’s close consultation with its members over advertising changes to the site.

Entrecard has a clear area where members and those in charge of the site can communicate (the Entrecard blog), and this has proved to be very fruitful.

The site’s owner, Graham Langdon, has made some significant changes to the new advertising rules as many community members were concerned about the initial terms and conditions.

You don’t have to refuse to implement a change because users are unhappy,

Running an online community is a balancing act.

While some changes are vital to its smooth running, it is also important that members are listened to, so they feel happy.

Unhappy members may leave the Online Community, which defeats its purpose.

Members will also feel valued when their contributions are highlighed. Angela Connor has started interviewing community members for special profiles. While this may be time-consuming, another possibility is to have a post rating system, where useful comments can be highlighted.

Richard Millington of FeverBee highlights the importance of members feeling appreciated by the community in a post on nonprofit online communities.

What do you enjoy about the online communities you visit? How are you made to feel part of the community?

One Response to Feeling at home in an online community

  1. Thanks for the mention! I work hard to make members feel valued. But I also belong to several online communities and post on lots of blogs on a regular basis. So, as a visitor I expect some of what I provide my visitors. I like the sheer amount of information in blog posts, forums and comments. It’s the collective knowledge that keeps me active in any online community.

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