It might sound obvious, but often, just showing up and participating is enough to encourage positive engagement.
In some cases, it may even turn the whole sentiment of the community around, which Andrew Claremont, former Senior Product Manager, Community at GoDaddy, can attest to.
“We have a group of customers whose activity mostly happens outside of our owned community platforms,” says Andrew, who now manages Community and Ecosystem at Glide.
“When I started working on engagement with them [in a Discourse community], there was a lot of negative sentiment, within both the community and the organization. There was a sense that these folks would never be happy with us.
"But the root cause was that they felt ignored — so when they did engage, they felt like they were just yelling into the void.”
The answer turned out to be simple. “My strategy was just to show up and contribute. ‘Always be helpful’ is my mantra for community participation.
"That includes making announcements, asking questions, running polls, replying to members, and chatting over DMs,” Andrew says. Eventually, the hands-on approach started showing results, albeit slowly.
“Like most things in community, it was a gradual process over weeks and months. The negativity eased up, more customers proactively defended or supported us, and formerly vocal critics quieted down.
“Where I really noticed the difference was when my team was being proactively tagged by members, or we had members coming to our defence, saying the equivalent of ‘Hey, yes, the team is here, they’re listening and following up.’
“The community is now the place to go for this particular group of customers, even though it’s not an owned platform.” Andy worked hard to change the perception of the community internally, too.
“Issues that we uncovered through the community got escalated to the appropriate teams, and we closed the loop by following up, publicly, within the community. Other customers saw that and were more inclined to participate.”
“Show up where your members are. Contribute and participate. Be helpful. Be positive. Then keep doing that. It’s like you’re tending to a garden. Small actions add up over time.”
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