How to re-energize your community with #cmgrchat

As a social media aficionado and one of the team members behind Stutter Social, the international online community for people who stutter, I participate every Wednesday afternoon in #cmgrchat, a live Twitter chat for community managers, launched by community managers Jenn Pedde (@jpedde) and Kelly Lux (@kellylux) from Syracuse, New York.

This week’s chat was particularly insightful. The topic was on how to re-energize your digital community, which included jumpstarting engagement during lulls, predicting those downtimes, dealing with potentially difficult community members and maximizing retention in case members may leave during lulls.

Over the course of the one-hour chat, I learned a lot more in terms of engagement strategies, which I hope to apply both in Stutter Social and in my future community management activities. Here are a few learnings that I got out of the chat:

  • Explore previous content. Gabrielle Kur (@GabieKur) noted that “it’s all about trying to read what your audience wants – repurpose content that worked well but add new value.” Was there an especially popular blog post that worked well in your community’s history? Perhaps you can write a follow-up piece to it or even convert it to video. Reigniting your audience’s interest in that particular piece of content may help.
  • It may also be a good idea to change things up once in a while. Adam Britten (@AdamBritten) noted that “lots of people (are) saying ‘repeat successful content.’ I worry then you’ll appear stale.” While using what has previously worked is a good idea, you may also run the risk of sounding repetitive. There’s no denying the power of changings things up. Why not host a different kind of an event for your community. That’s why in addition to our regular Stutter Social Google+ Hangouts, we’ve hosted Hangouts On Air with special guests. One was a Q+A with two comedians who stutter and the other was a Q+A with two people featured on a recent ABC segment about bullying and stuttering.
  • Reach out personally to community members from time to time. Checking in personally with your members can go a long way in engaging them during downtimes. Trish Fontanilla (@trishofthetrade) said she “always schedule(s) in checkins with folks year round. Always good to keep convos going, not just asking when you need something.”
  • If possible, try to think ahead. According to Amy Higgins (@amywhiggins), “downtimes are predictable if you know your market well. Utilize time to reach out to a new vertical.” This is where, as Bill Johnston (@billjohnston) says, having a content calendar can be an advantage if you anticipate a lull. “Having a content & engagement calendar is key to avoid ebbs and to smooth amplitude of participation.”

Fellow community managers, how do you manage engagement during lulls? Please feel free to share your thoughts!

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