Chart from "The Rules of Community Engagement: A Study of Motivations for Participation in Online Communities" by Brian J. Baldus and Manila S. Austin.
I’ve become increasingly curious about the creation and maintaining of online communities recently, having had a taste of it myself through Youtube, and have been reading up.
Their “Six Rules” for online engagement (and my thoughts on them) are as follows:
1) Create an environment that invites and inspires self-expression. i. e. your users/followers must have the opportunity and motivation to engage creatively with you - that’s how your brand/medium has staying power. (And, incidentally, one of the reasons why I’m interested to see how the interaction-spare Pinterest progresses.)
2) Close the loop. You have to interact back!
3) Foster a genuine sense of community to deepen engagement. But, like, without canned responses. Meaningfully. With occasional cat-centric gifs.
4) Embrace one strategy to recruit and another to retain. Something I actually hadn’t considered before, but makes total sense.
5) Tailor the engagement style to the industry. Taco Bell’s method of engagement, though admirable, should not be copy-and-pasted by mortuary services.
6) Reward members in multiple ways. Yes and yes.
They all resonate with me as accurate to my experience as a social media user and creator, and some I’ve even remarked on before without the benefit of having a study to back me up, but I appreciate the statistically-backed prescriptiveness of them. Do this, not that. Pioneer away.