This round table suggestion came from
Here's what he wrote:
Looking to all the content generated on our community, we can say for sure that more than 85% is regarding complaints. Also, our users register themselves only to post a question/complaint... they do not help other - we have 23k users and only 10 are very active.
- how can we shift this mentality and encourage users to share solutions and best practices?
- How can we educate user to mark the answers as "best one"?
- Beside using prizes/contests, how can we engage with our users and make them more active?
So let's look at the questions one by one:
How can we shift this mentality and encourage users to share solutions and best practices?
There will always be users who simply want to leave their complaint, and then leave. However I think here you have a great opportunity here to "turn around" negative users by simply adressing their issue. A once very negative user can be turned into someone who really helps. On the TomTom community, a previous complainer has been turned into a super user with now more than 30.000 posts!
I guess that giving those users a little bit of extra attention can do magic and stimulate these users to return to the community once their issue has been handled (or at least recognized by you), as they surely will remember this positive experience. To read more about this specific point, please continue reading here: How to deal with very negative users / Feedback
Regarding normal support questions:
Try to offer a user a little bit of extra information than expected (as in links to other related topics, or general tips & tricks). This way the user is stimulated to discover more on your community. If the user is interested and sees that the community has an added value, he/she will return, hopefully also answering other peoples' questions.
Of course you should also simply ask them to share their experience on the community in the future! Maybe an idea would also be to create a topic called "How we handle your feedback" and give some insights. This way users will have more trust that their activity actually has an impact on your company.
How can we educate user to mark the answers as "best one"?
It's common that especially the users who posted their first question will forget to mark their question as solved. There are some ways to help with that:
- Signature "Did a reply solve your question? Then mark it as the correct answer!"
- Notification emails (1): Include in the "new reply" notification a reminder ("Did you ask a question? Don't forget to mark the correct answer")
- Notification emails (2): In the "welcome" email, instruct the users to mark the answer when they ask a question ("so that others find the answer too")
Beside using prizes/contests, how can we engage with our users and make them more active?
First of all, I am convinced that prizes / contests will not really help your community in terms of activity, at least not in the long run. Contests usually generate a very short increase of activity - as soon as the contest is over, most of these users will not return to the community any more. It can help to generate awareness (especially in the very early days of a community), but they will not bring you active users that come back to the community on a regular basis.
Next to the standard features of our platform (Ranks, Badges, etc.), I think you can do a lot of different things to stimulate activity. Some are relatively easy, quick and cheap, others can be more expensive in terms of time and money that you need to invest:
Small steps to stimulate users could be the following:
- Ask questions back - very simple, but super efficient. Shows the user that you care and want to hear his/her opinion
- Engage in those complex discussions, offering explanations to why things are the way they are (they will see that they can learn more by being on the community)
- Content that directly asks users to engage (e.g. "Share your top 5 most valuable Apps")
- Reward users who give tips to others by thanking them
- When a user becomes more active, thank them via private message and offer them assistance if they have questions
- A Q&A with an expert in a certain category. Announce this also via Social Media.
- User of the month: Highlight a user (or the top 3 users) who has done something awesome on the community
- Super user program (advertise it on the forum and show who the heros are)
- Email notifications which provide new users with all the information that they need to become active and be informed about new questions: Link
Did you miss something here? Do you have more questions? Or do you have a great example how you stimulate activity on your community?