Driving Engagement - In conversation with Thirza Loffeld

Thirza Loffeld, WildHub’s community manager, joined me to discuss how to drive engagement in online communities. The interview is broken down into three sub-topics: Building a successful community, The launch and Post-launch, what now?

Interview structure:

  • 00.00 min    Introduction
  • 02.09 min    Structuring your online community
  • 03.52 min    Pre-launch: Thinking about newsletters
  • 06.06 min    Where to find your users
  • 08.32 min    Things community managers should do to prepare for the launch

  • 12.22 min    The launch: Making users feel welcomed and engaged
  • 15.31 min    Converting visitors into registered users
  • 19.53 min    Encouraging the production of organic content
  • 23.31 min    Most popular types of content
  • 19.53 min    Helpful Zapnito features
  • 28.20 min    Initiating room conversations

  • 29.22 min    Post-launch, what now? Furthering engagement
  • 31.28 min    The importance of regularity
  • 34.21 min    Tools to measure engagement
  • 37.10 min    Thirza’s advice to community managers

Video Transcript

00:00
Hi Thirza, thank you so much for joining me in today's call.
00:04
We're going to be talking about driving engagement in your online community.
00:08
This call is going to be structured in three different sections.
00:12
We're going to be talking about building a successful community.
00:15
Then we'll talk about the launch.
00:17
And finally, we're going to be talking about the post-launch.
00:20
What happens then?
00:22
And you are there founder and the manager of WildHub, which is a community of
00:28
conservation professionals that come from over 80 countries and they frequently
00:33
interact with one another in 24 rooms.
00:36
Thirza, would you like to briefly introduce yourself?
00:40
Sure I do Georgina.
00:41
Thank you so much for this opportunity.
00:43
Well, um, so, so I started my professional career focusing
00:47
on the behavior of great apes.
00:50
Um, so mainly gorillas and also chimpanzees.
00:55
And then whilst I was doing, um, a master course on private conservation,
00:59
I gained some experience, um, with the capacity development side of things.
01:04
So looking at those who work in the fields, um, how training can actually
01:10
help them do their jobs even better.
01:13
Um, but also the social support that people need when, um, they work, for
01:18
example, in a very isolated circumstances.
01:21
So that sent me kind of on the path of, uh, looking at the people that
01:24
actually work in conservation more than, um, the great apes or other animals.
01:29
Um, and this was, it was a really fascinating path for me.
01:33
Um, and this is also why I chose the topic of, um, professional
01:37
learning within conservationists.
01:41
As a topic of my PhD research.
01:43
So next to WildHub, I'm still finishing that research and the
01:46
two go really well hand in hand.
01:48
So I'm also the WildHub, the manager, community manager,
01:51
of WildHub at the moment.
01:54
Yeah.
01:54
And it's amazing.
01:55
Just one look at the community and you can just tell so much work has been put
01:59
into it because it just flows on its own.
02:02
So one of the things that I just guess that people ask you
02:07
about is "how did you do it?"
02:08
And what I'm very curious to know, which relates to this question is why
02:14
did you structure the community in the way that you did before the launch?
02:20
Okay, it's a good question.
02:22
Well, so I have to give you a bit of the background origin of WildHub.
02:26
Um, because I was hired as a community manager by WildTeam UK
02:31
and WildTeam UK is, um, a charity.
02:36
Conservation charity that focuses on the capacity development of
02:39
those who work in conservation, but also those who would like to start
02:43
a career in wildlife conservation.
02:45
So, um, Adam and the team, they hired me in this position and
02:50
they had already done a survey among prospective members in 2019.
02:56
And so they asked people what they thought of, um, a prospective community
03:01
that they wanted to start, um, which topics they would like to talk about,
03:05
how to engage, how to interact.
03:07
And if we could get back in touch with them, basically, um, when
03:11
this would materialize a bit more.
03:13
And so when I started in January, 2020, um, I started my journey with the Zapnito
03:18
team and we kind of looked at those results as well as a way of structuring
03:24
the channels and also later the rooms.
03:27
So that was kind of the basis for, for how we structured the platform.
03:32
Um, additionally too, when, when I started, I also looked at other
03:36
providers, so we, we have some communities already in conservation
03:41
profession and I looked at how I can compliment, compliment their efforts.
03:45
So we don't reinvent the wheel.
03:48
Um, Yeah, that's kind of how we structured it.
03:52
Nice.
03:52
And also before the launch, had you set up newsletters so that when, you
03:58
know, people go into the community and they register, they have these
04:02
like emails that are sent out to them.
04:04
Where these newsletters created on the site?
04:08
So our stories may be a little bit, um, non-standard in that.
04:13
Although we started our journey, um, developing the platform or
04:17
tailoring the platform with the help of the Zapnito team, with you, and
04:21
then your colleagues in January.
04:24
We weren't actually, um, finished by the time we, we opened our fair chill door.
04:30
So when we opened registration and the reason for that was because of COVID-19.
04:36
So in March in the UK, the lock down happens.
04:40
And, uh, I noticed so many other platforms of social media, for example,
04:44
that my colleagues in the fields, they, they were asking each other
04:49
for help and advice on what to do.
04:52
Should they send their staff back home?
04:54
Should they, um, continue building donor relationships?
04:58
What, what were the donors be doing in this situation?
05:01
Can they continue to work?
05:03
And so, I felt it was really timely to provide a space for conservation
05:08
professionals to come together, to share information, but also
05:12
to socially support one another.
05:14
And this is very much in line with our goal or aims as, as a community.
05:19
So instead of waiting for perfection, um, to happen on our platform
05:25
we actually decided to open, um, open registration a bit earlier.
05:31
So that was kind of where we started.
05:33
And so when we started registration, the daily digest was already
05:39
available to people, so they could kind of cherry pick what they
05:42
wanted to be updated on via email.
05:44
Um, and then two weeks later we started the highlights.
05:48
Um, so I think the reason for that was that we were already gathering,
05:52
uh, soliciting contents, uh, leading up to opening the registration
05:57
and, um, and we just needed a few more weeks to prepare that.
06:01
So we had a few more pieces to publish in the weeks to come.
06:06
I see.
06:07
And you mentioned earlier that, you know, you were hired by WildTeams
06:11
to build a successful community.
06:14
Um, the more than 1000 conservation professionals that currently
06:18
interact with one another there, did they also come from WildTeams?
06:23
Did you know them or were these new people that registered on the community?
06:29
Well, I was really lucky in that.
06:31
Um, I could build on my professional networks.
06:34
So I felt, as a community manager, what is a better than to actually reach out
06:40
to those that already know me and I know them and there's already a relationship
06:44
in place because those people, you know, there's already a trust between us.
06:48
They know who I am, what I stand for, what my values are.
06:51
And so it's easier then to communicate what our vision is for WildHub, but also
06:55
to invite them to join this and discuss this vision and make it their own.
07:00
So become an advocate.
07:02
And so we started these weekly conversations with, um, a small
07:05
group of members initially.
07:07
Um, and we just discussed what they wanted to talk about, whether, you know, what
07:12
we got from the 2019 survey was actually in line with what they're thinking,
07:16
what their needs, where their needs lie.
07:19
And, um, but also how to interact and how to grow our community.
07:23
So how then to reach out to others that might be in need, um, the technical
07:27
and the social support that we want to provide as a, as a community.
07:31
Uh, and this happened before the launch, this meeting where you d scussed.
07:35
I guess, you know, our launch was not as official, um, in terms of
07:40
when we opened our virtual doors.
07:42
So when registration started in March, uh, we didn't quite, um, call it a launch yet.
07:49
So we were open to, uh, you know, those who knew us, who we reached
07:54
out to and we steadily grew that.
07:58
And, um, I think when we did.
08:02
Um, manage to have like one event that we kind of, we wanted to celebrate
08:06
our community, which was in June.
08:08
So that was our first festival, our WildHub festival, which
08:12
was completely member led.
08:14
And I think that's something that, you know, that was for us the time
08:17
to really celebrate our community, see how far we had come already.
08:21
By that time we had 500 members, so quite a few already.
08:25
Um, so yeah, that's kind of how we grew.
08:28
We grew quite organically, if you will.
08:32
And is there anything that community managers should do in preparation for
08:38
their launch that you found helpful?
08:44
Yes.
08:44
Um, there are few things I think, well, from our perspective, so we're a member
08:50
led, a global member led community.
08:53
For us, um, it's really important that the community members
08:57
feel, um, involved in there.
09:00
That they have a voice is basically in how we grow our community or we develop.
09:05
And so, um, so engaging members and prospective members from the, from the
09:11
first moment was really important to us, um, to become really truly member led.
09:17
And, um, and so think about, you know, I would say as advice, maybe
09:22
think about your community's name.
09:24
Um, does that actually connect with the professional identity of your
09:29
members or prospective members?
09:31
Is that, um, a name that, you know, that kind of inspires belonging?
09:37
If that makes sense.
09:38
So I think that's something I would like to share.
09:42
Um, I think also it's vital to listen to your members.
09:45
So, you know, both the positive and the negative feedback and, you know,
09:50
do they, can you make them feel heard?
09:52
So a big part of my job as a community manager of WildHub
09:55
is, um, to really listen to our members, listen to their challenges.
10:00
Um, How, you know, which technical support or social support
10:05
they could use at the moment?
10:06
Or maybe it's a combination of both.
10:09
And, um, we also received.
10:12
So based on our experience, some concerns on our initial name that we
10:15
suggested, and not everyone felt really strongly connected with that name.
10:20
And then we decided to act on those concerns by starting a brainstorm in our
10:24
community for alternative, um, uh, names.
10:28
And we ended up with a vote so WildHub is very much chosen by our members
10:34
that they feel it's representative.
10:36
They like to connect with such a name.
10:39
Um, and we also adjusted our brand colors based on the member feedback.
10:43
So that's one thing I think, you know, but that's coming from
10:47
the angle of being member led.
10:50
And other thing is that, um, you know, asking for feedback from a select group
10:55
of your members, or maybe when you start small, like we did, you could ask
10:58
them to test your platform and improve the user experience before you launch.
11:03
So this really helped us prepare better.
11:07
And I guess a third thing that I would recommend is to review, really take
11:11
some time to review your terms of use, your community policy, um, uh, privacy
11:18
policy or privacy policy, cookies policy.
11:21
All these documents, they're official looking documents.
11:24
Cause I noticed that, um, because we're a global or international
11:28
community and not everyone has English as their first language.
11:33
Same, like, I, I don't have English as a first language, is, are these
11:36
documents actually accessible to them?
11:39
So I know that in the UK, for example, we are very used to going through the terms
11:43
of use, privacy policies, all of those things, but that's not necessarily in
11:47
every country or for everyone the same.
11:50
So some people might feel a bit daunted by that by, you know, what's this
11:53
text and what does this actually mean?
11:55
So we had help with other community managers, one in particular
12:00
from the conservation community.
12:01
And we looked at their terms of use and also their community guidelines.
12:06
And we adopted some of their work with their permission and it really helped us
12:10
to become more accessible and to not scare people off when they, when they sign up.
12:15
So there's something I would like to give as a, as a piece of advice
12:19
that was really important for us.
12:22
Great.
12:22
So we've spoken about how you build a successful community, what
12:27
you can do in order to prepare.
12:29
Now, we're going to be talking about the actual launch and this question links
12:34
really well with what you just said, which is, is there anything that you do,
12:38
the moment a user registers, to welcome them to the community and to encourage
12:43
them to, as you said, to have a voice and participate and engage with others?
12:48
Yes, absolutely.
12:50
So, um, we use GoSquared and, um, so I see when the new, um, new members sign up.
12:57
Um, and, um, also if there are still certain settings that I need to
13:01
give them, some permissions before they can actually publish content.
13:06
And so, uh, this is part of our verification process.
13:09
That I reach out to them and, um, you know, I welcome them to the community,
13:16
let them know once the registration or the verification process has been
13:19
finished and also that they then can publish content and how to do that.
13:24
So basically, I give them one simple action that I invite them to do.
13:28
And this depends a little bit on the, on the member.
13:31
But in general, it would be, I would ask them to introduce themselves in
13:36
a room that we have set up, which we call "Let's welcome our new members".
13:40
And so it's something simple in a way that, you know, an
13:44
introduction is easily written.
13:47
Um, but it also allows them to try out our platform straight away.
13:51
So they get, they become familiar with how to publish content.
13:55
And then later on when they want to do that again, they've already set, they've
14:00
already, taken that first step, basically.
14:03
So that lowers the threshold a little bit in my experience.
14:08
Um, sometimes, I also ask people to, um, instead of writing an introduction
14:14
blog, to share lessons learned.
14:16
This depends a little bit on their background.
14:18
If I think, oh, if you know, they have a lot of work experience
14:21
in this topic on this topic.
14:23
And, um, that would actually be really beneficial for the rest of our community.
14:27
Then instead of an introduction block, they can still do that, but I would
14:30
then more, um, I would give them the action of maybe inviting them to, to do
14:36
a lessons learned contribution instead.
14:39
Um, and many of these messages I have, um, it's, you know, it's a personal
14:44
touch, but I have, uh, they go out via the automation settings in GoSquared.
14:49
Most of them do so, you know, it would be the invitation for the one action.
14:55
Then following up, making sure that they know how to do that.
14:59
So they get a link with the video in which I show them how
15:01
to publish content, for example.
15:04
Um, and, and I also offer them if they need more assistance in getting to know
15:09
our community and our platform that I can connect them to our WildHub coaches.
15:14
So that, so team of, of, uh, some of our core members who, um, can assist them.
15:21
And, um, publishing content for the first time, going through that process.
15:26
Um, and also making sure that their contributions are aligned
15:29
with our community guidelines.
15:31
This answer feeds so well into what I was going to say actually, is that I
15:37
saw the panel that you did with Charles and with Adam not too long ago, where
15:42
you spoke of converting people that are new to the community, into regulars.
15:47
And I assume the steps, these actions that you just described
15:51
would be really good for transforming visitors into registered users.
15:57
Is there anything else that a community managers should, you know, any other
16:01
things that you would like to add to that?
16:03
If not it's okay.
16:04
Yeah, I think, um, yeah, so for us it was, and this is actually from, um,
16:09
advice given by another community manager.
16:12
Um, so providing that space to welcome new members, I think is really nice.
16:17
And however you, you want to do that, we have a room for that.
16:20
Um, but also then when they post that introduction blog to make sure that you,
16:24
again, welcomed them, um, and build upon.
16:27
So they've taken that first action that you asked them to do, right?
16:31
And then, um, encourage, um, further engagement.
16:35
So, for example, I ask people in that introduction block to also share the
16:40
reasons why they'd want to join or where they decided to join WildHub.
16:44
And so if a member in their introduction block would say, well, I joined WildHub
16:48
because of the network opportunities, then I would connect them to our a monthly
16:52
activity, which is called WildHub FECA.
16:55
It's kind of an informal way for people, um, to meet.
16:59
On a monthly basis basis, they're paired up.
17:02
Uh, and then, you know, they have, um, a chance to, to meet each other
17:06
for 20 minutes or 30 minutes a month.
17:08
And that's, and that's kind of a different person every month.
17:11
So they get to know our community members and, um, so I would then give them a
17:17
welcome, but also another way to engage in our community based on what they shared,
17:23
uh, what their reasons are to, to join us.
17:25
Um, so yeah, that's another thing just to make people feel welcome
17:29
and also to give them the next step of how to continue to be engaged
17:33
And these like meetups that are organized by community managers, how
17:40
many community managers do you have?
17:42
Like, how does this work and are they sort of like trained to do this?
17:47
You mean our coaches?
17:49
Yeah.
17:50
Yeah.
17:50
So that's a new thing that we're, uh, we're starting, we have started already,
17:55
but we haven't actually announced it yet.
17:58
Um, as wildly, cause we're kind of in this stage where we're recruiting
18:04
and that's almost finished.
18:06
Um, but I think, uh, know the WildHub coach is basically I, uh, looked at
18:11
our members and I looked for people that, uh, have already contributed, so
18:17
have shared lessons learned and were really, um, they stood out in the ease
18:23
in which they, um, became familiar with our platform like using the technology
18:28
or the software, but also, you know, how they wrote their contributions.
18:33
That was really aligned with our community guidelines and
18:36
didn't need much moderation.
18:38
Um, uh, have one of our coaches that we already recruited at,
18:42
for example, uh, she also speaks Spanish, so that really is helpful.
18:46
So she can actually, we have some multiple languages now that people can, um,
18:51
so they can use the language of their preference basically to give, you know,
18:55
to get the assistance that they need.
18:57
Um, and she is also a community expert.
19:01
So that was like a, for me, a no brainer to invite her, to this new role.
19:06
Um, and we, yeah, we made sure that we have people from different continents,
19:12
um, that were really motivated.
19:14
They're already actively engaging in our community.
19:17
Um, and then yeah, tick some of these boxes of different languages.
19:21
Ease of, uh, communicating availability of course, as well.
19:26
So we started with a small group and then hopefully we can grow from there, but
19:30
it's all to increase the accessibility of our community, um, to our prospective
19:36
members and our current members, really.
19:39
And it sounds like a great way for these, like, users to now become sort
19:45
of like managers in the sense that they're encouraging other users to
19:50
contribute and engage with each other.
19:52
That's great.
19:53
Yeah.
19:53
One of the things that I noticed from WildHub, is the variety
19:57
and the quality of the content.
19:59
It really seems like everyone is just posting.
20:01
It's not just the community managers.
20:04
So I was just wondering how many posts are commissioned.
20:09
Versus how many are organic.
20:11
So those staff members themselves are posting.
20:14
Hmm.
20:16
That's a good question.
20:16
I only looked at this, uh, in more detail recently.
20:20
So we're still developing our, um, yeah.
20:24
Our indicators basically to see where we can, uh, gather our process or the,
20:29
uh, progress data from, and, um, I think, you know, like you say, most of
20:36
the content is published by members.
20:38
I would say that the majority of the content though is still initiated
20:43
by myself as a community manager.
20:45
So it would be me behind the scenes kind of reaching out to people, asking
20:50
if they'd like to contribute by sharing lessons learned about, you know, the
20:55
job that they're currently in or some work that they did in the past, um.
21:00
But I do see, there's been a change in that.
21:04
Um, in terms of posting opportunities, I think members have
21:08
taken the initiative themselves.
21:10
So that's gone, it's grown more organically in the
21:13
recent two months or so.
21:16
Um, but with the lessons learned, which is, they're a bit more work, right?
21:20
They really require some thought to be put in there.
21:23
The reflections that could actually be beneficial to the wider community.
21:27
So that is still much of it is, um, initiated by myself.
21:32
But I think that's because we haven't really reached that critical mass yet.
21:35
So although we're a thousand members, we haven't quite, um, we're not
21:40
there yet because we only opened our doors, like I said in March.
21:44
And so, although we are quite a few months in, that often takes a bit of
21:47
time to, to really get the ball rolling.
21:51
So I know that you're sort of encouraging your users to publish.
21:55
Is there any other like, um, how to say, action that you're taking
22:01
to encourage self publication?
22:03
Yes, I do.
22:04
I, um, I also circle back to our contributors.
22:07
So those who have already contributed and, um, I kind of encourage them to
22:12
publish the second round of content.
22:13
So it becomes a bit more of a habit for them to engage in our community.
22:18
And, um, I often build on content that they already shared elsewhere.
22:21
So sometimes people share some of their thoughts on, for example,
22:24
LinkedIn or Facebook, and that kind of connect with, uh, the topics
22:29
that we discuss in our community.
22:31
And then I ask them, I say, you know, it doesn't have to be, you don't have
22:34
to start from scratch, but maybe, could you elaborate a little bit on
22:37
these thoughts or these reflections, and would you be willing to share
22:39
them with our community as well?
22:42
And so it kind of, again, lowers, uh, the barrier to, to participate.
22:46
They don't have to start from scratch.
22:48
They already have a direction of how to contribute, which topic as well.
22:52
And often people respond really, um, positively on that, you know,
22:57
they would love to contribute again cause they know how, um.
23:01
And they love how our community is developing.
23:03
It's just, you know, it's sometimes just giving them that nudge of, oh,
23:06
this is actually really interesting what you just shared over there.
23:10
Would you like to share that a bit wider?
23:12
And, and because we have the numbers now in terms of, you know, it gives
23:15
them a bit more exposure as well that we say, you know, this could actually
23:19
be a value to our community, but we're also a thousand members now.
23:23
So, you know, it means some more exposure for you and your thoughts.
23:27
Exactly.
23:28
So it's a win-win.
23:29
Yeah.
23:31
So have you found that, um, specific types of content do better than others?
23:37
So for example, do you find that videos attract more people, more
23:41
engagement, as opposed to posts?
23:44
Um, well, I can't really back this with numbers just yet.
23:47
Cause like I said, we're still, um, looking into these indicators and how, um,
23:52
I have to make that overview, uh, in an adequate way that really helps us monitor.
23:57
Um, but I do think in general, videos can be attractive, um, more attractive
24:04
because I know that's something based on my experience with other platforms
24:08
like, um, Facebook, for example, that as soon as you have imagery, so
24:14
pictures, but also videos, it kind of is easer for people to engage with.
24:18
Um, but yeah, like I said, we still need to look at the indicators
24:22
to, to really back this up.
24:25
I do think that I love how we can do the conversations as a, in our rooms.
24:31
Um, in general, I do think, uh, also that posts can be really useful
24:36
because you can use the pictures in there or the images and, um, and it
24:40
just becomes a bit more attractive.
24:42
So that's why I opted for, um, the introductions to be.
24:46
Not fire conversations, but I encourage people to publish the post basically,
24:51
so they can use some photos and that's always really nice cause then you see
24:55
the person who's actually writing it in their natural habitat, you know,
24:59
in the field working with elephants or with that or something else altogether.
25:04
So, um, yeah, that kind of, um, let's see, that way you can
25:09
get to know the people, really.
25:12
Yeah.
25:12
And also it teaches them how to post so that they can do it again in the future.
25:17
Exactly.
25:17
Yeah.
25:18
Yes.
25:19
So Zapnito, as you know, offers a number of features that
25:22
can help drive engagement.
25:25
Of the following list, which I'm just about to read out to you, which have
25:29
you found to be most helpful to building and driving engagement in WildHub?
25:35
So the list is: channels rooms, the Q&A, directories, newsletters and GoSquared.
25:46
That's a good question.
25:47
Um, I guess, um, I received most feedback I received was, uh,
25:56
about newsletters, for example.
25:59
So, um, I think especially the highlights, people seem to enjoy that a lot.
26:05
And so, um, but equally, so actually the daily Digest, so it depends a
26:10
little bit, it depends on the, on the individual and on the member.
26:14
Some of them really love that daily Digest and they kind of, you know, something
26:18
every day, um, that inspires them.
26:22
It makes them feel connected.
26:24
Um, others, um, they opt for them, the biweekly highlights because it's, um,
26:32
you know, content chosen by myself.
26:35
And, um, yeah, it's a kind of, um, it's a bit less information,
26:40
but good quality as well.
26:42
Um, so we've got some really positive feedback on those and I think, um, the
26:48
directory is also something that people really love, um, like, um, for network
26:55
purposes, they just love how you can select the different countries and with
26:59
our custom fields we have also, um, but you have that as a general one and you
27:04
have the areas of expertise that's really useful for people as well, I've heard.
27:09
Um, and that is also in our rooms.
27:13
So having that directory in a room can be really useful, especially cause we
27:18
decided to also grow our numbers by inviting existing networks to WildHub.
27:24
So we have a few alumni groups on our, uh, within our community
27:29
that have their private room.
27:31
And so they have that individual directory, which is
27:33
really nice for them as well.
27:36
And then it's still connected to the wider community as well.
27:39
Um, and then I, so I would say thirdly, the GoSquared prompts and
27:43
automated messages are really useful.
27:45
Like I said, all the messages to new, um, new users are basically via GoSquared.
27:54
Um, and yeah, it's just really helpful I think to just have a popup
27:58
and, and welcome them instantly.
28:00
Um, and it doesn't matter which time it is.
28:03
So I don't have to be online for that and wherever they are in the world,
28:06
they will automatically be, be welcomed.
28:09
And it's a personal, it's a relatively personal message, right?
28:12
Yeah.
28:12
They have that.
28:14
The, you know, it's signed by me.
28:16
There's a little photo there, so it helps I think.
28:19
Yeah.
28:20
And earlier you mentioned room conversations.
28:23
Are these conversations that community managers initiate or are
28:29
they mostly initiated by members?
28:31
They're mostly initiated by members actually.
28:34
So we have, um, a few, quite a few of our rooms are also, um, open.
28:41
So this is more so for example, our let's welcome our new members room, but
28:46
mostly the rooms are based on the topic.
28:49
So for example, Marine conservation, uh, is one of them.
28:53
And, um, yeah.
28:54
And you just notice that people are asking, uh, for advice from one another,
28:59
by using this conversation tool and, I think that's really nice to see that.
29:05
Um, so I think it's also one of these features that can really help because
29:10
it's just, it's like you're emailing someone, but then actually you're
29:14
addressing the wider community and I've seen members having, you know,
29:18
active, uh, conversations in that way.
29:22
Great.
29:23
So we've spoken about building the successful community.
29:25
We've spoken about the launch.
29:27
Now we're going to talk about the post-launch, what happens now?
29:32
And I'm very interested to know how, what you're doing, what you and your
29:37
team are doing to continue to drive engagement now that users have registered.
29:45
We always are developing in that respect.
29:48
I think it's so dynamic this work environment, and that makes
29:51
my job so much fun as well.
29:53
Um, and because we are member led, it's very much up to
29:56
the members, how we do this.
29:58
So I had, like in one week, I had like two different members reaching
30:01
out to me with ideas of activities that they'd like to lead on.
30:05
Um, and that they want to organize for our community.
30:09
Um, and so one is more on that, on a certain topic that they
30:13
feel very passionate about.
30:15
Uh, the other member, um, said, you know, I really want to, to create this
30:19
space for people, for social, you know?
30:22
And, uh, and it's so nice.
30:24
So I think, um, those things are in the works right now.
30:28
So, so social, like, um, uh, social events basically that will be launched or
30:34
that we'll do at the end of this month, probably or early next and, um, uh, kind
30:39
of a webinar style, uh, expert panel.
30:44
Kind of discussion that is going to happen, uh, soonish as well.
30:48
Um, and I think for me, what I'm focusing on right now are the WildHub coaches.
30:54
So, to really get us set for that too.
30:57
Um, although we're already doing that, um, behind the scene, I want to really launch
31:03
this officially and also introduce the members to the coaches, um, and recognize
31:08
them for this, for taking up this role.
31:11
And that's another thing I guess.
31:13
Yeah, that I think is really important is to make sure that people feel
31:18
valued in our community and recognized for whatever they contribute.
31:21
However much time or little time, you know, everything is welcomed.
31:28
And is there something that you're doing on a regular basis, for example, podcasts,
31:33
or, um, maybe like a monthly meetup, something regular that's always happening
31:39
so that members know what to expect.
31:41
Is that something that you're organizing?
31:44
Yeah.
31:44
So we did in the beginning of, um, I guess starting to from March or
31:48
even February already, before we even registered or opened our registration,
31:53
we had our weekly catch ups.
31:54
So for our communities to add two times in the day on the Thursday, and I caught them
32:00
while took weekly and I was just there.
32:02
I was on the, on a video panel like we are now, and whoever wanted to
32:06
pop by and check in was welcome.
32:09
And then two different times a day I did because our members
32:12
are, you know, globally dispersed.
32:15
Um, and that was really useful to help shape our platform, uh, what you see
32:21
now, how we are now as much as my, um, a lot of it is as a result of those
32:26
discussions early on with members.
32:28
Um, at one point.
32:31
I decided, well, let's restructure this a little bit because as we grow as a
32:34
community, our needs change as well.
32:37
So now, like I said, the social, uh, that will happen at the
32:40
end of this month probably is something that will replace that.
32:43
And it will be, again, it will be a place where people can just check in with
32:47
one another whenever they feel like it.
32:49
Um, I think, um, what else.
32:55
Is there.
32:56
Oh yeah, of course our WildHub fika that I mentioned.
32:58
So that's our monthly activity basically, which is based on the fika,
33:02
the Swedish fika of having coffee and tea and some snacks together.
33:06
And I might not explain it as, as well.
33:09
I'm not Swedish, but I do really like that concept.
33:12
And somebody else in the conservation community, one of our members
33:15
actually, she started out elsewhere.
33:18
It was when it was still possible to meet face to face.
33:21
And I asked her if we could adopt that same principle and she,
33:25
and she helped me with this.
33:26
So we started the WildHub fika two months ago, and members have now had
33:31
two rounds in which they've been paired up with somebody in the community.
33:35
And then they're given the whole month to set a meeting and it's not really
33:39
a meeting, it's just a, um, a cath up.
33:42
Hopefully they'll have coffee and tea and some cake together.
33:45
It's probably virtual now.
33:46
Um, and so, and I just, you know, get to know each, uh, introduce
33:50
themselves, maybe, you know, share something about their work or, or
33:54
just, you know, just hang out together.
33:56
Um, and, uh, I've had some really nice feedback on that as well that people have
34:02
really loved to get to know new people.
34:04
It's good for the networking for possible job opportunities, opportunities
34:09
to collaborate as well, I've heard.
34:11
Um, and although we're still, yeah, we just started, I think
34:15
it's been really positive so far.
34:18
So that's a repeating activity.
34:21
And I was wondering now that you have this vibrant community of engaged
34:26
members, are there any tools that you're using to measure this engagement?
34:32
So, yes we do.
34:32
And I think, um, what Zapnito provides on the platform for statistics
34:37
or analytics is really useful.
34:39
And I really love that.
34:40
It's such a quick overview.
34:43
Um, so we basically have a spreadsheet in which I record all these, um, these
34:48
indicators every month and, uh, and also GoSquared can help with that.
34:52
So some other things that we gained from there and, um.
34:56
Yeah, and I think it's really a, it's been really useful.
34:59
So we've had definitely some of our events have pushed the growth
35:04
and engagement on the platform.
35:05
So I've seen a peak with, um, the first event that we organized, which
35:11
is part of a wider event, um, by, um, a Smithsonian institution in the US
35:18
and which is called, um, um, what is it?
35:22
Earth optimism.
35:24
So they have summits and I saw a massive peak when we participated
35:29
in that, when we organized their event within the wider event.
35:33
Um, but equally, so with our first festival, so we became many more
35:37
members and engagement, uh, as a result of that, which was like four
35:41
days, consecutive days, 10 events spread out over those four days.
35:46
And they were all led by our members.
35:48
Um, so I think it's really useful to keep an eye on your community.
35:52
And we did notice a little bit of a dip after that, but that's
35:55
only to be, um, expected right?
35:58
Because I think having those, those events kind of drives it, drives engagement up,
36:05
and then you have a little bit of a slow again, and then, you know, it will come
36:08
back upwards again, but it's just, it's important to, to keep an eye on things.
36:13
Yeah.
36:15
And these events, where are they happening on?
36:18
Uh, for example, Zapnito video panels or on rooms?
36:22
How, where did those happen?
36:25
Um, I guess with most of these events we used Zoom because there's also the
36:33
opportunity to do breakout rooms, but, um, I, we are really keen to, to start using
36:40
the Zapnito video panels more and more.
36:42
And so, for example, for our WildHub FECA, we have people that, you
36:45
know, meet up using, uh, the Zapnito video panels, basically on WildHub.
36:50
So I think that's, that's really nice.
36:52
Um, you know, for those events specifically, we needed the
36:56
numbers or we needed to be.
36:58
We had like a hundred participants for the first event and which I think a
37:03
few hundreds, um, during the festivals.
37:05
So, you know, it was more people in that respect.
37:10
Now the last question that I want to ask you, um, is what advice would you
37:15
give to someone who is looking to grow engagement in their existing community?
37:24
Mmm.
37:26
I think, you know, like with any community, I think it really depends on,
37:32
uh, on the relationship building aspect.
37:34
So next to having a proactive approach as a community member to build those
37:40
relationships with your members, um, I think it's also important that you allow
37:45
the space for the members themselves to, to interact and build those relationships.
37:51
Um, so it's very much providing the space and the opportunity.
37:57
So whether you, you maybe say, you know, we, we organize a social every now
38:01
and then, and people know that that's a regular, regularly occurring event
38:05
and they know where to go or uh, uh.
38:10
Yeah.
38:10
Or any other activity really.
38:12
So they can really connect with one another, although it's virtual, but
38:17
it's more like direct communication than via posts and comments.
38:21
Um, so that's one thing, another thing, I guess, um, It's kind of
38:26
building on what I shared already is to listen, really listen to people.
38:30
So if they bring up concerns, whether that's via public comments or it's
38:33
in an email yeah, really listening to people, making them feel heard
38:37
also, whenever they contribute, to make them feel valued and recognized.
38:41
So I think, um, yeah, those are kind of my values that I, I work from.
38:48
Thirza, thank you so much for doing this interview with me.
38:52
I really appreciate it.
38:53
And I've learned so much.
38:55
I really look forward to talking to you in another interview or
38:58
having our regular catch ups.
39:00
Thank you so much.
39:01
Thank you.
39:02
Thanks, Georgina.
39:03
And a big thank you to Zapnito's team as well.
39:06
We couldn't have done it without all of you.
39:08
Thank you.

Comments

Go to the profile of Charles Thiede
over 1 year ago

This is such a great interview Georgina and Thirza. Some very good tips here for other clients.