If you have a group that seems to be diminishing in spirit and flatlining despite your efforts to keep it active, know that you’re not alone — far from it. With millions of groups and professional networking communities, set up both online and offline, many group owners are feeling the strain of sustaining a thriving tribe.
Keeping your tribe alive and excited isn’t a task to be taken lightly. It requires work, and it’s easy to wonder whether things will get better when your group becomes unresponsive.
Take a deep breath and remind yourself, the world still needs the message only you can deliver, and your tribe really does want to continue receiving support and solutions. As the pace of our world increases and priorities shift, it’s ever more important for you to set up strategies that’ll unify, excite and engage your tribe. And yes, it can be done!
It turns out that even the most well-intentioned communities can be susceptible to a laundry list of common pitfalls, sabotaging chances of success and sustainability. Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself in this position. Take action! The following are proven, actionable steps and best practices you can use to overcome typical obstacles and breathe new life into your group.
1. Focus on improving your communication.
One of the best and simplest tools you can leverage immediately is Facebook Live. Almost everyone in your tribe knows and spends some time on Facebook. Why not leverage that to the max in the next seven days?
Connecting with your people in a live, real and raw setting will instantly remind them why they belong to the group. The more they can connect with that and get clarity on why they need to keep participating, the more they’ll make time for your group.
You can also use Twitter or Facebook wall chats – depending on which social media platform your tribe prefers. You can quickly and easily set this up with intentionally chosen hashtags (“#yourhashtag”) and topics that are relevant to your group.
Schedule a short, daily recurring time for this over the next seven days and promote it to your group as well as people you want to join it. It can be super effective to pick a theme and tease a reveal for something new and useful each day. Can you arrange for a special guest to hold an “Ask Me Anything” session for one or more days? What else could you do to make each day’s event special, exciting and highly relevant to your people?
Tip: Don’t forget that effective communication should be a two-way street, not a promotional exercise. Your communication style should include a means for people to provide feedback and make further suggestions. With this feedback, you’ll be collecting a powerful idea bank and database for future activities and programs. And members will feel their contributions to the conversation are valued.
2. Curate or create and share high-value content.
We’ve all heard that content is king. These days, every B2B and B2C company invests heavily in content creation efforts. Whether your tribe is a non-profit community you started or a professional group, adding value through useful, helpful content is a great way to rekindle your connection.
Everyone has a pressing problem or frustration they would love resolved. Imagine if your group perceived you as the go-to for inspiration, motivation, and solutions. Wouldn’t that naturally ensure your group engagement was always high? Set yourself a reasonable goal of sharing something of value, either created or curated by you, on a regular basis. It can be daily, once or week or every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Just make sure you can stick to it. There’s almost nothing as powerful in this world as consistency.
Tip: Be generous with the knowledge, experience, and information you have, personally. Organize it intelligently and let it circulate within the space you’ve created for your people. This can be done digitally or physically depending on the nature of your group. There’s nearly an unlimited amount of published content online on almost any topic under the sun. So don’t think you need to create everything yourself — just be open-minded and get creative. Curation is just as valuable as creation when it comes to knowledge sharing.
A good kickoff this week could be to organize and schedule a free training or webinar that either you or someone you admire has created and use that as an initiator for engagement.
3. Create a seven-day challenge.
Challenges have become common in recent years. No doubt you’ve seen a 30-day challenge or something similar and possibly even participated in one (they’re almost a requirement in fitness programs, for instance). That’s because they’re an extremely effective way of boosting productivity, motivation, and results within a group.
This one idea alone can dramatically change your current group state if done right.
Competition (even if only with ourselves) often brings out the best in us. Leveraging the spirit of fun and friendly competition can be great way to kickstart participation and rekindle the fire within your tribe.
Tip: Be sure to create a challenge that is relevant and exciting for your members. It’s worth the extra thought and effort to craft something that will hold deep meaning for participants. Not sure what to do? Ask some of the more creative members of the group for ideas!
The purpose and mission of the group must always align with any group activities, programs and challenges you offer.
4. Pump up your email strategy and integrate stories.
Email is still a powerful way to build personal relationships. Adding value through enriching content or setting up that seven-day challenge via email is super simple and highly effective. It can also save you lots of time because you can create something evergreen that can continue to serve your tribe for weeks to come.
So consider injecting everything we just shared into your email communications with your group.
Another powerful way to integrate email within these seven days is by leveraging Facebook. As you host those short, fun, motivating Facebook live sessions and that free training, encourage a conversation to happen within your Facebook page or group. This will create interesting, provocative and enlightening content that you can then share via email with group members who might not be active so much on Facebook.
Tip: Highlight specific discussions on your Facebook page or group wall that you think your group will find useful. Email these out every two days inviting the rest of your group to come join in the conversation.
5. Incentivize participation.
Sometimes your tribe just needs a little nudge in the right direction, and rewards for participation in specific challenges or activities can do the trick. There’s no better way to get your people back in engagement mode than offering some incentives as part of a challenge or whatever else you choose to do.
Don’t think it has to be something big or expensive. If you get creative enough and present it the right way, you can offer something very simple for free and get amazing results. People love free stuff. Are you an expert in something? Offer an hour of free consulting. Great cook? Offer to cook dinner. Be generous and giving to your group and you’ll see just how fast it’ll come alive once more.
Tip: Incentives can take the form of anything from gift cards to discounts on your own products or services. Think outside the box on this one and find free things to gift to your tribe without taking a huge hit to the wallet. Often times, professionals in your community will be happy to offer an hour of their services or free samples as a prize. It’s a great way for them to gain exposure affordably.
Now is the time to take a step back and focus again on the bigger picture. Make sure your tribe feels appreciated, important and part of something worthwhile where they continuously receive engagement and support.
It’s your turn now to share nuggets of wisdom. We’d love to get your thoughts on this. Help fellow group owners with your wisdom, in the comments below.