Member onboarding is a very important process in community building. Why? Because getting people to participate and come back is very dependent on initial experiences. Ideally, the goal is to create a good impression and encourage members to keep active and connect on their own.
So how exactly can you achieve this? Usually, new members are very receptive to guidance and new information. Take advantage of this time and provide them a great member onboarding experience with these tips.
When someone joins your community, it’s likely that they already have an idea of who you are and what your community is for. Nevertheless, it’s still important that you tell them this, and properly introduce them to the community.
A good way to onboard members is through a series of emails. More than just a welcome message, your emails should properly introduce your community’s goals, and give members the confidence to participate and initiate conversations. After all, the best time to get people engaged is right from the very beginning.
Here are some email examples you can use for your onboarding experience:
Of course, you won’t be able to send those emails if you don’t actually invest time to set up your resources. Start by asking yourself: If I were a new member, what information would I need? These could be FAQs, moderation rules, how-to articles for newbies, a virtual video tour, or recorded webinars.
You can even go as far as creating a group or a subforum where new members can stay and mingle with fellow rookies while they get comfortable. This gives them a much safer space inside the community where they’re empowered to interact and participate without feeling intimidated. Use this to get to know your new members better — who they are, why they joined, what they hope to achieve, and what their expectations are. Their feedback will really help you improve your onboarding process and your community as a whole!
Community managers play a very crucial role in the onboarding process. Onboarding members is basically like inviting an outsider to your party. The community manager acts as the host who welcomes guests at the door, shows them where everything is, gets to know them a bit, and then introduces them to other people. The more comfortable they feel, the longer they’ll stay, and the happier they’ll be with your party.
In other words, community managers are primarily responsible for taking extra care of new members and keeping your community’s churn rate low. They are in the best position to facilitate conversations and connections among members, both old and new. Encourage new users to introduce themselves to the community and let them share something about their lives. Consider creating a post where new people can comment on the thread. For example, “New to the community? Introduce yourself by telling us 2 truths and a lie.”
Gamification is a great opportunity to engage, recognize, and reward members who contribute to your community’s growth and overall success. In terms of onboarding, gamification features add value to your community by constantly introducing new challenges in the form of missions or quests. It’s also a great way to introduce new people to your community, and teach them about your brand throughout the discovery process.
Check out these sample missions for new member:
Of course, there’s so much more to gamification that just missions or quests. Learn more about this by reading our article on How Gamification Enhances Your Community’s Experience.
After you’ve set up all your onboarding initiatives, it’s now time to measure the effectiveness of your process. Set up goals for your members — it can anything from completing their profile, to posting, commenting, or reacting to content. See how your onboarding process is helping them meet these goals by tracking their community stats. It’s also important to keep an eye on new members who stay active and highly engaged. Consider approaching them about getting more involved. Who knows? These people could be your next moderators, content creators, and community managers.
Collecting feedback should be part of your priorities as well. You can do check-ins every month for 3 months. Are your new members satisfied with their onboarding? What resources did they find helpful? Do they have any comments or suggestions? Make sure to ask questions that are relevant to you and will really help you improve the onboarding experience of future members.
Of course, completing onboarding doesn’t mean you should stop engaging your members! Community engagement should be an ongoing process of learning what motivates your members and delivering a good experience. Keep the momentum going by coming up with other innovative ways to keep them active. Read our article on Building Community Engagement to help you get started!