An important part of building a community is getting new people involved. The goal of this process is to make a good first impression. You want people to come back and take part often. But this important step is often left out. We made this guide to help you give your community the best possible experience when they first join.
A smooth onboarding process should offer an engaging experience that makes members want to do things regularly. If your members don't think the welcome is smooth, they probably won't stick around for long and will leave your community quickly. New members should be welcomed for the following reasons:
Start at the beginning. It would be best if you made joining your community as easy as possible. Signing up is easy, setting the mood for what lies ahead. People may regret joining before participating if it's too hard or takes too long.
Send a clear email with the message "Join now."
The link should take potential members straight to the page where they can sign up.
Save time by filling in any fields based on the user's information.
Members should get a confirmation and welcome email after they sign up.
Send a warm welcome email to people who are joining. It can set the tone for their journey in the community, so you don't want to mess this up. You can get people involved in your community by encouraging them to participate.
Show new members around and explain how things work in the community. Introduce members to the most important functions, features, rules, and the mission and vision of the community. The goal should be to answer their questions before they even ask them. You can even add a video to welcome people. They are very interesting to watch and easier to understand than long blocks of text.
Use an Introduction thread to get people to talk about themselves in the community. It is a great way to get things started and break the ice. Make it more like a game by asking people to share something fun and interesting about themselves.
Tell the people who are joining that you are glad they are coming.
Show off your most active users and moderators.
Introduce yourself and ask a humorous question.
Request assistance from your super members throughout the onboarding process. They should concentrate on novices' needs and inquiries. Engagement is fragile initially, and unanswered questions can easily cause people to leave a community.
Open up a second channel that only new members can use. People who join will feel less scared when they meet a small group of people in the same situation as them instead of the whole community. It will make the experience more pleasant and help people get to know each other faster. You can include the following:
Host an orientation event for new members to teach them about your community, show them how to get around, and meet other members. It can be in person, online, or a mix of both. Invite super members and let them tell the community about what they've learned. Information and getting to know people should be the main goals. Give them useful information about your community and put them in touch with other members. Getting people to talk to each other greatly benefits speed networking.
Look for volunteers in your group, people with more experience who can help new people and answer their questions. You can, for example, give a group of new members, each a superuser. There's nothing better than this to make connections, especially for shy people who find it harder to talk to a large group of people than to a small one.
A (hopefully) successful onboarding process should be followed up with feedback from your members. You can find out what works and what doesn't by asking them. The best time to get feedback is a week or two after the onboarding process to ensure they don't forget anything. After about two to three months, you can do another survey or poll as a check-in where they can say what they like and don't like about your community and make suggestions.
You should also look at your members' activities and see how the changes you made as part of your onboarding process work. Set yourself small goals, like getting people to fill out their profiles, comment on content, or even post something. Check to see how many people have met these small goals.