Personalize your messages each time you communicate with specific community members.
For example, reference them by name, ask follow-up questions, and use the same language they used in your response.
Engage with members in a friendly way that acknowledges their mood, uses an informal tone, picks up on social cues, and identifies shared traits.
Demonstrate knowledge by providing useful information in a digestible context, using terms and phrases they use.
Focus on getting members the resolution or outcome they need from the discussion, or invite further questions until you achieve a resolution.
Make members feel important by thanking them for bringing an issue to your attention, asking them what they want to happen next, or telling them the impact of their contributions.
Include a context and some background for why you’re asking when asking questions so contributors know how they’ll be helping and interactions yield a real emotional payoff.
Avoid discussions that ask members what they think. Instead, create discussions that make members feel great about answering:
- Would you set aside a budget for [widget] in [year]?
- I’m trying to work out whether it’s worthwhile to set aside some money in my budget for [widget] like this article seems to recommend.
- Does anyone have any insight into whether [widget] is likely to be important to [industry] in the future? I could really do with some case studies or examples…
Write simple, concise messages about your community that focus on your core points. Avoid clichés like world class, best practice, and empowerment.
Clichéd and complicated: [community] is an exclusive group dedicated to empowering leaders by sharing world-class expertise, exchanging insights, and revamping industry best practices.
Simple and concise: A private place to solve your toughest problems.
Watering down with a weaker argument: This community is where the top experts share their best advice. All members also get a free SWAG box and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Simple and concise: [Community] is where the top experts share their best advice.
Use every interaction as an opportunity to learn more about your members.
The insights you gain from your interactions can help you learn their language and preferred communication style, which you can use to improve future messages.
Review your past community contributions for common trends and mistakes to avoid in the future.
For example, this initial response to a member post in the AMD community:
Thank you for the report. Can you provide us the source code of your application for further investigation?
does not encourage a second post or further engagement because it is dismissive and misses the purpose of engaging people in a community and lacks friendliness or
empathy in tone.
Likewise, the response in this example:
You can try updating your internet browser and installing the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. If that doesn’t work, please use the “Report a Problem” link on your account to let us know more about what you’re seeing when you try to view a video. Learn more about troubleshooting tips and how to report something in our Help Center:
would be more personal and empathetic written as follows:
Sorry to hear you’re having trouble playing the videos. I can imagine that’s fiddly and frustrating. However, I wouldn’t resort to the hammer just yet. We don’t want things to get messy… If both GoPro and Quick updated fine, you might also want to update to the latest version of your internet browser and update Adobe flash too. Have you tested this on another computer and with other videos?
Finally, this notification of a post removal in the community and how to correct it so it can be reposted:
Your post has been removed
Hi, we’ve hidden your post because it includes personal information. For your safety, we ask you to post again and refrain from including personal details such as email address or phone number, credit card information, or images of your ID.
can be modified to communicate the details of how to correct the post, while remaining human, empathetic, and engaging.
Great question! But would you mind reposting it without any of your private details (especially things like your email address, phone number, credit card information, and images of your driver’s license/passport? In the wrong hands, people can do bad things with your details. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back! We’ve hidden the old post for you. Just publish the post again without any private details and we’ll do our best to get an answer.
As you audit your messages and find ones that are not personalized or use common clichés, use the information you gain to improve your future contributions.