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7 effective ways to attract new members to your community

New users equal a thriving community. So it’s not surprising that, according to the CMX’s 2022 Community Industry Report, the most popular metric of community success is the number of active users. Not only is it the easiest KPI to measure, but it’s also the lead indicator for any other community goal, whether that’s customer acquisition, conversion to premium, content creation… The list goes on. So how do you go about attracting relevant users to your community - and, ideally, fast? In this article, we look at some of the key approaches used by Community Managers and consider some of the potential challenges.

1.     Rely on organic growth

It can be tempting to trust in the power of organic growth and gradual network effects to draw in the right kind of users. Or to wait for the recommendation engines of LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit and other large social networks to show your community to great potential users. But this takes time… so much time. As well as being slow, it’s difficult to predict the relevance of the people you reach.

2.     Invest in ads

Advertising. It’s one of the oldest known ways to bring in more customers, in any context. But whether you decide to use paid or targeted adverts, the broad-brush method has notable limitations. This is because it covers a wide audience and not all of the people who see those ads will be right for your community. And if you opt to generate “lookalike” audiences, you’ll have to rely on the platform’s black-box approach, and won’t know or be able to control exactly who is on the list. Let’s not forget, with budgetary pressures a key consideration, paid advertising can end up taking precious financial resources away from other areas of the community.

3.     Encourage member referrals

Everyone knows the power of word of mouth. And referrals or recommendations from existing community members can be a valuable source of new users. One way to facilitate this is to give members a certain number of invites or incentives to recommend the community to others. This is useful, but it isn’t always practical when the community is small and needs to grow fast.

Example of a referral programme (Pavilion is a private community for high-growth professionals)

4.     Leverage community content on social media

A great way to make new friends is by throwing a party or putting together another type of social gathering. Likewise, one common approach for bringing in new users is to leverage community content and events on social media. This can be achieved by opening some events to a limited number of external guests or sharing interesting and informative content. This is a great practice, but for Community Managers with so much else to do, it’s a time-consuming one too.

5.     Send individual invites

Back to that party we talked about earlier. Who doesn’t love to receive a formal invitation to join a special get together? Individual invites are another way Community Managers can draw in more users. But, as a manual process, it’s slow and is yet another labour-intensive task for busy Community Managers.

6.     Collaborate with a complementary community

Working with another community can be a good way to capture the attention of potential new members. If you can identify a community which doesn’t compete with yours and is willing to partner with you, you can look at options like joint chat rooms or newsletters. Or consider cross-promoting each other through your respective blogs and social media. One drawback is the effort involved with finding communities which complement rather than compete with you. Another is ensuring that they actively want to form a supportive relationship with you. Plus, it’s important not to underestimate the amount of time and work required to make these types of partnerships truly effective.

7.     Use Superlinked’s audience discovery tools

Undertaken strategically, many of the approaches above have value, but they also present specific challenges. From the purely passive, such as waiting for organic growth, to the high effort-low reward, such as sending individual invites or partnering with complementary communities, all these approaches come with potential problems baked in. So Community Managers are turning to another way to attract users: audience discovery tools from Superlinked.

Superlinked’s AI-powered platform allows Community Members to get their hands on a list of highly relevant potential members within days. Its precise AI-driven targeting automates the time-consuming manual tasks associated with searching and filtering potential members on platforms like LinkedIn. Interested? Get in touch here.  

Every community lives or dies by its capacity to grab the attention of potential users. With so many approaches to consider, it makes sense to choose those that offer what every Community Manager wants: the ability to attract the right people with less effort and cost.

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From upcoming events to industry insights to useful online resources, each month we’ll share everything you need to help make your community irresistibly relevant!