Top Five Tips for Retaining Online Community Members

A former client recently called to talk about her new role as an online community manager for a children’s clothing company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She explained that the page began losing “likes” a few weeks into her posting schedule. After a look at the company Facebook page, a talk about her content curation style, and some consideration around changes taking place on Facebook’s end, we think we know what went down. Here are our take-aways in five points.
1. Losing Can Sometimes Mean Winning

Loosing fans isn’t always a bad thing. If you’ve recently gone from not working with a social media strategy to consistently scheduling content once a day that aims to engage and inform you audience and you’re still losing people, it could be that those dawdling audience members are simply not interested in your new approach. If you hadn’t been posting¬† that much before and only recently changed up your routine, you have to expect some of your fans to opt out because their expectations aren’t being met. The good news is that from here on in, armed with your engaging content and new schedule, you can hope to connect with fans and community mangers who care about what you have to say and have the potential to turn into donors, customers and heavy-hitting supporters later down the line. In other words, your fan base may be smaller but the fans themselves are more likely to care about what you post.

It’s also worth noting that, according to, Facebook recently began to aggressively deactivate fake accounts and remove those account “likes.” If you’ve noticed your very large fan base taking a plunge, that could be part of the reason.

2. Moving From Likes to Comments to Shares

Likes are great, comments are better and shares are the best when it comes to Facebook. Keep in mind moving community members up this social media engagement ladder takes time and effort or, at the very least, really great content curation. Those fans who comment and share your posts have shown a commitment to you and that commitment should be rewarded with content they want to share with their own, online communities.

3. Schedule Your Content Consistently

Post once a day, even on weekends.¬†Unless you’ve tested it thoroughly and can honestly prove that an audience wants to hear from you multiple times a day, chances are posting once a day is enough. That’s certainly what Darren Barefoot and I learned from our study on Facebook and the kind of content that goes viral.

4. Listen Carefully and Respond Thoughtfully

It’s easy to forget about your fans who post to your Facebook wall with the timeline feature now enabled. Don’t forget to check-in every so often and use the drop-down menu at the top of your timeline to see who’s been tagging and sharing content with you. If you can, always add a little note to the posts that make it onto your wall.

5. Stop Name Dropping and Start Telling Stories

If you’re managing sponsorships on behalf of a non-profit campaign or responsible for mentioning corporate partners in a capital campaign, remember that you have an obligation to your community to curate quality content. In other words, don’t waste your time by posting logos and listing off tags or names (that’s what #ff or “follow friday” is for on Twitter.) Instead, if you need to make a corporate or sponsor mention, first ask the company in question what story they want to share with your community. From there, you can build a story around the mention.

(Blog post photo courtesy flickr user, Adikos)

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