Cultivating your digital community to be a great experience for members is a constant, dynamic process. Not only should you seek to engage customers, but truly delight them. Today we’re diving into what that looks like in great Web3 communities.
We are all members of communities, where we gather and connect with others, usually around some sort of shared interest or mutual center piece that unifies members. These communities can take the form of a church group or sports team, or a more modern format such as an online social networking group.
In-person interaction amongst members in local communities is a lot more intuitive, with dynamics that have evolved over hundreds of years: conversations, gatherings, laughter, and idea sharing characterize these settings.
It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine a group of churchgoers having brunch together after a sermon, or the local high school’s football game on Friday night — two settings that inspire tons of genuine connections and conversation. All of these members are given a place to connect with others and have their voice heard.
Digital communities present a unique challenge: they’re not bound by geography, time zone, or language — just common interests. Most online communities resonate for one reason or the other: fans of an artist/sports team, Italian food lovers, JPEG enthusiasts, or Sneakerheads.
However, these online communities can become very large and overwhelming for new members or those not yet comfortable with projecting their voice across the world. For community leaders to create an inclusive environment for participation, it’s crucial they actively engage their members: newbies and old-timers alike.
Identifying new members and making a conscious effort to hear and acknowledge them is one of the most important ways to break the ice and make people more comfortable in a new environment. It can be as simple as reaching out to them personally to welcome them to the community, or reacting to their first message with an encouraging emoji.
This is similar to the way a good coach makes an active effort to get to know each one of their players and families — a merit to tight-knit community sports leagues.
As a new member who can be shy and hesitant to send my first message, I want to know that my contributions will be well received and welcomed. I would know this by seeing other people take that same leap of faith with positive results, or being nudged in that direction by someone I trust and respect.
How nice would it be if every time I joined a new community, a team member or group leader reached out to welcome me in with open arms and get to know me on a personal level? Anonymity can be (and is) a good thing for a lot of reasons, but there’s a personal element needed with online interactions that should deepen connections and open up conversations to scratch below the surface.
The more personally a community leader knows their members and peers, the more receptive and willing the community is to provide earnest feedback, attract new members, and make deep-rooted personal connections with others. This is the first step to making Superfans.
Not only is it important to reach out to new members to inspire them to converse and participate, but long standing contributors need to know that their participation is highly valued. Without those core members dedicated to hearing new voices and welcoming others, the community may struggle to create a strong foundation of loyal supporters and brand champions*.*
Those that go out of their way to spread the good word and go out of their way to build the brand’s reputation need to be recognized for their active participation and should be actively acknowledged for their contributions. Furthermore, they should be incentivized to continue this behavior.
Rewards can seem arbitrary, but their main purpose is to signify appreciation for those going above and beyond to help your community/brand grow. Some community managers may choose to airdrop a custom NFT or digital collectable, others may choose to appoint them to a paid position or governance board, some may just reach out with a kind hearted message. All can be equally as powerful.
Active acknowledgement of your dedicated community members is fundamental practice to keep your members engaged, and should be practiced early and often. At their core, rewards should be used to express genuine appreciation. It is merely a consequence of genuine appreciation that these members will become champions of your brand.
Some communities and leaders tend to overuse rewards, which dilutes their value tremendously. No one feels special for getting something that everyone gets, largely why participation trophies have become a meme.
There are few “bad” times to show appreciation, but some times are more opportune than others. Once you start to “take notice” of members and their continued participation, that’s the right time to reach out and thank them personally. If you find yourself thinking, “wow, I’ve seen @pwalnuts.eth in the discord and Twitter a bunch this past week” it’s probably the right time to reach out.
This gesture doesn’t have to be grand in presentation or monetary value, but should be personalized and genuine to the greatest degree. Who knows, you might even make their day. Humans thrive on reinforcement of behavior and deserve to feel good about their day to day endeavors.
In sum — communities should pride themselves on having their members actively engaged with each other. To do so, it’s important for community leaders to take the first step of initiative to reach personally to members and make them feel welcome and comfortable projecting their voice across the forum.
Equally so, leaders should make it a priority to recognize those that go above and beyond, and reward them for their outstanding efforts. It doesn’t have to be much, but letting your community know that no good deed will go unrecognized will incentivize them to create an inclusive community that grows together. In fact, it might even make them Superfans :)
All of the ideas that we suggested on making members feel known and appreciated sound exciting and useful, but how do we make sure each individual feels this way? The simplest way to ensure each user feels seen by your team is to link member engagement with onboarding. As we mentioned, some ways to do so include sending new followers/holders a quick message saying “so excited to have you, love what you’re doing with xyz.” You could also try to reward members with additional value, items, or resources when they join your community. We give new members shoutouts, as well as sending them our exclusive CBN resource page.
Don’t underestimate the value of a Twitter space or member gathering at a Web3 conference as a way to engage members. For each new cohort of CBN OGs, we host a zoom where we can engage with members and they can meet each other — this is an efficient way to ensure new members get spontaneous engagement, as opposed to more formulaic outreach.
Now that we’ve completed the foundational steps of member acquisition & experience, it’s time to think about how you can go above and beyond in building a community experience. In other words, how can you delight your members by exceeding their expectations?
If it wasn’t clear already, one essential step in the flywheel is turning new members into brand advocates so they can, in turn, attract new members. While education & engagement may turn users into members, delight turns members into brand champions.
Beyond the importance of delight as a way to intensify member enthusiasm, it also is essential for retention. If you put in just a bit of extra effort into delighting current members, you will be able to retain them, which is much cheaper than having high member churn and having to spend resources acquiring new users to replace the old ones.
So with that being said, the million dollar question is how do you actually delight members?
Remember that we are humans first. When thinking of ideas to delight members, think about what naturally brings humans joy and what humans love. Here are three broad categories of ways you can bring delight.
If you’ve built your community correctly, your members should be delighted with amazing points of connection quite often. Say, you give a shoutout to a member you’ve been noticing in spaces all of the time. That’s an easy form of delight, and so is facilitating events where members can immediately hit it off and form a new friendship.
Take stock of the most fruitful moments of communication within your community over Discord, Twitter, and other group or individual messages over the past month. Actually write down what the best moments of communication are and try to find common themes within them. Last month, community members loved a few of our more informal posts, including ones where we asked them about their life before Web3 and showed them some fun merch we were making for TokenTag.
Obviously, it’s important to bring value to your members. This isn’t necessarily criteria for delight, because it’s expected. However, if you can over-deliver value intermittently, you can really delight your community. Remember, unexpected rewards are the one of the largest sources of dopamine for humans — whether that’s hitting the jackpot in a slot machine, supporting members’ social media on your larger brand accounts, or randomly being airdropped a piece from your collection. Be sure to think about delivering extra value to users when they least expect it.
Here at TokenTag, we believe it’s critically important to delight our most loyal and passionate community members. We want members to feel like they belong, and that TokenTag is a place where they have shared values with fellow community members. Once again, these characteristics are somewhat cursory to a community, but really doubling down on your ability to make members feel like family will create the positive feelings necessary to compel them to advocate for their brand. Supporting members’ own projects, and broadcasting moments where your brand is living its values are just a few ways to do so.
Deploy a new type of reward that holds value for members of your specific project. Think outside of the box — if you usually give members resources or airdrop NFTs, give them a personalized shoutout or exclusive session with an expert in your project’s industry. Here are some categories of rewards that users generally find most valuable.
Make a goal to delight one member per day. At the end of the work day, ask yourself, have I delighted any members today? This can be more informal than your other delight strategies, but even sending a profile a bunch of Twitter likes and messaging them some positive feedback can make a member’s day (it’s not spam if it’s genuine!)