Have an online community, discussion group, forum, or bulletin board project? Whether you are the moderator, client, observer, or all of the above, these quick tips below will optimize engagement and fluidity of your online community topics, especially when using QuickCommunities.
1. Mix it up: Avoid repetition, ask different questions, add videos and photos to the topics, and in your responses.
2. Break it up: Instead of asking multiple part questions, create multiple topics
3. Use conversational language: Talk to these participants like you are talking to new acquaintances. They are going to be your new friends for the duration of the event. Be casual but not too casual. Don’t use big words or market research language.
4. Keep topic descriptions short/avoid long text: Participants don’t need long explanations within a topic, nor do they want to read a long explanation.
5. Include instruction: Be specific as possible.
6. Avoid yes/no questions, or questions that garner one-word answers. Instead of “how many fruits do you eat in a day” ask “Which fruits are consumed most often in your home, and by whom?”
7. Have the last topic each day be instructional. For example create a topic called “Day 2 Info – Come back tomorrow for 5 more topics. Remember you earn more each time you answer a topic.”
8. Insert surveys: It’s another tool for you to gather more information, and on the flipside, it’s a fun activity for the participant.
9. Number each topic as they are added. It makes it easier for the participant to follow in an orderly fashion, as well as keep track of participation for both the moderator and participant.
10. Post multiple topics over a longer period of time: If you have 6 topics on Monday, then post 1 topic every 10 minutes to keep participants for a longer timeframe.
11. Allow topics to be “biased”. In QuickCommunities, there is an option to create topics and launch them as biased or unbiased. Biased allows participants to see others answering the topics in real time. Unbiased will only show other participants once that particular participant answers first. Not everyone likes to the be first to talk in a group, so allowing participants to see others participating, will encourage the more shy ones to open up.
12. Start General: Start the discussion topics more general and move onto more conceptual, deeper, and specific topics as the community progresses.
13. Schedule all topics ahead: Take advantage of the “close topic” lock button by adding all your topics ahead of time and “closing” them. This allows participants to see what topics are coming up and think about their answers ahead of time, as well as setting expectations to overall participation for the duration of the day, or the entire event. You can close and reopen topics as you please.