We’re still glowing over here from our time at CMX Summit 2017! It was so much fun meeting all of you. A big thank you to everyone who joined us for a Brain Date, where small groups of CMX attendees spun the wheel of community fortune and discussed the chosen topic. We can’t express enough how reinvigorating it was to sit with so many of you one-on-one and engage in an intimate meeting of the minds. We thought it would be fun to recap what we learned from all of the amazing conversations we had. Each group was so different, and so full of unique perspectives. Here’s what really stuck and inspired us the most.
But it’s OK to disrupt that rhythm. In one Brain Date, the wheel landed on “community engagement.” Each person shared different ways to keep their community members engaged—from setting days to for specific shout-outs to designating one day a week allowing community members to promote their own content. This schedule, so to speak, is known as a community rhythm. One Brain Dater said he occasionally disrupts the rhythm though on purpose—for example, he changes the schedule a bit without notifying members. This strategy, he said, is meant to keep people on their toes, and to engage lurkers. Not a bad way to virtually wake everyone up from time to time, right?
During one Brain Date session, we discussed what types of content to share with an online community. There was a large consensus amongst the group that written content isn’t cutting it anymore‚ at least not like it used to. But faces brightened when we started to talk about video content. Whether it’s a silly GIF or a video tutorial, community members agreed videos draw more engagement from their community members.
When discussing what it means to be a community manager, and what that unique role consists of, one Brain Dater brought up a really good point—the goal of a community manager is to become invisible and let the community run itself. Everyone paused for a moment to let that soak in and then agreed. It’s a funny thing, being a community manager.
During one Brain Date, we discussed how communities often become closer after going through a difficult time together. So, when times are tough in your community, remember the silver lining: it's bringing everyone closer together. While you can’t predict when a tough time is on the way, nor do you want to wish for one to happen, you can consistently do things to make sure community members know they are always supported and can come to you for help.
Finally, a big part of what we talked about in one Brain Date is the importance of listening and understanding on a very personal level the needs of your community members. This doesn’t mean sending out surveys, although those can definitely help. Listening means spending time one-on-one with individuals or smaller groups of community members. Even if this can’t be facilitated in real life, FaceTime or Zoom meetings are always an option. Make regular individual check-ins a habit.