Having an active online community is one of the best ways to help your business grow. But, are you actually getting the most out of your members?
While your community will no doubt be advocates and supporters of your business, they can also help you create amazing content that will help you reach out. As Tom Schwab explains on HubSpot, user-generated content is effective because customers know what other customers care about. Furthermore, customers are creative, trusted, and passionate.
In addition to the reasons mentioned above, online communities can also boost your SEO campaign. Joshua Paul states on Socious that online communities not only add more content to your website or blog, they can also increase traffic, decrease bounce rate, and help you earn more natural links.
While getting your community involved definitely has its perks, how exactly can you get your members to create and submit SEO-worthy content? Here are six ways you can accomplish just that.
1. Make it Easy to Submit
This is a great place to start if you want your community members to submit quality content. After all, if your community doesn’t know how or where to submit content, chances are they won’t contribute.
To prevent this from happening, you should create “multiple entry points and ways to access the online community and use actionable language to turn observers into contributors.” Angela Connor, author of 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online, adds on Mashable:
“I’ve gotten feedback from people who didn’t quite know how to participate and if it seems to be a problem for many, we reevaluate how we’re displaying the message. Sometimes you need to put out a call for action: ‘Post your own blog,’ ‘Upload photos,’ and the like. Sometimes the registration process is just too cumbersome”
2. Create Comprehensive Profiles
Geoff Kenyon states on Moz “If you give users a self-serving reason to link to their profile, they will be much more likely to link to it.” He goes on to suggest converting the typical membership profile into something more useful like a portfolio that highlights “their achievements and their top contributions to the site.” You can take it one step further and even allow your community members to find freelance work by including something like a “hire me” button in their profile.
If you’re looking for an example on how to accomplish this, CodePen has done an excellent job of utilizing the “hire me” button for members to include in their profiles.
3. Offer Incentives
Another tried and true method of motivating users to participate is by offering them something in exchange. This can include a wide range of offerings. For example, you could offer a discount to your products or services, free subscription to your site, quality backlinks to their site, or even the opportunity for them and their work to be seen on your homepage or social media account.
Just keep in mind, the incentive shouldn’t be the main reason your community members are submitting content. Instead, this tactic should be used when members need a little push.
4. Contests and Social Sharing
Similar to offering an incentive, you also could launch a contest to get your community more involved. For example, you could have members submit an image or video of them using your product in a creative way. You could also have members explain how your product or service has made their lives better. No matter what type of contest you use, people will be motivated to create quality content when there’s a worthy prize at stake.
Remember to share your contests on the social media platforms where your community hangs out, and don’t forget to take advantage of hashtags.
5. Highlight Top Contributors
Another way to motivate people is by making them a star within your community. For example, you could create a ‘Top Contributors’ leaderboard. The Cisco Support Community’s All-Time and Monthly leaderboard is a perfect example of this since they show the name, points, and amount of correct answers on the support forum. There’s also bios and links to the questions top contributors have answered.
You can also highlight their contributions by including recently created content in a ‘best-of’ community newsletter or blog post. And, don’t forget to give your top contributors a shout-out on social media as well.
6. Just Ask
Sometimes all you have to do is just simply ask your community to submit content – whether it’s asking them to review a product, write a guest blog post, or model for your latest campaign. If you have a passionate and engaged community, you shouldn’t have any problems securing quality content from your members.
Building up content on your website can be hard, but using these tips you should be able to work with your community to produce some amazing content!
What other tips have you used to get your community to send you content?
All images are created by author for SEJ.