Hylo is designed to help you build engagement and collaboration in your community.
However, if you've never built a community online before, it can seem daunting.
From working with successful Hylo community managers, we've distilled a few simple lessons to help you build engagement on Hylo.
By engaging in a few simple habits, you'll watch your community grow and take action together toward your goals.
Help people feel at home
This is your community's new home online, help your members feel at home. If you're a moderator, you can:
- Upload your logo (click "Settings" on the right side of the screen)
- Add a background image (click "Settings" on the right side of the screen)
- Build out your own profile to serve as a model for others: (Click the round profile image at the top right of the screen to access "Settings", where you can add your: Profile photo, Skills, Bio, Tag Line, and Location.)
Set a clear purpose
- It may seem obvious to you why your community would want to come together, but for people joining, one of their first questions will be, "What is this community about?" and "What do I do here?"
- Create a short "Intention statement" for your community, and save it in the "Description" section of your community, then it will give people a clear sense of why they are coming together. (click "Settings" on the right side of the screen)
- Consider making this a collaborative effort; bring together the organizers and leaders to co-create the foundation of your community.
- Beyond just an Intention statement for your community, many communities will need a set of guidelines and operating agreements so members know how to contribute, how decisions are made, and many other details. If you need help writing yours, you can find guidance here: community-canvas.org
Gather your champions and set culture
Your community might be entirely new, or, it might just be new to Hylo. In all cases, your members will look to you and the other early members to understand the culture of your community.
At the beginning, try choosing a few people who will agree to be champions to help you to build the culture and engagement in your community.
Ask these first members to do a few simple things: You could ask one member to share a link to an article, and make sure that another member comments, as well as commenting yourself.
At the beginning, it can be helpful to send direct messages to your champions through Hylo, emails, or text messages to make sure that they comment and post to build interaction. Getting people to have conversations in a new space can take some reminding until new habits get built.
You and your champions will model the types of activity that you want to see: If you want people sharing links, then share links, if you want people to be posting Requests, post Requests. You will be setting the initial culture by how you and this small group posts and responds to each other.
To invite people, click the “invite” button on the right side of the screen, and follow the instructions there.
To build engagement, set aside at least 20 minutes a day to create new posts, welcome new members, invite your champions to post, and respond to other members' posts.
A rule of thumb for building engagement is that every new post should get a comment from you, or one of your members, even if it’s just a request for clarification. People generally post hoping to get responses, and if they don’t get responses, they usually won’t stick around for long.
Recipes for Engagement
- Remember the mission statement you wrote? Try sharing it as a post, and invite your members to share their personal stake in the success of the group and hear others’ as well.
- Consider hosting an onboarding webinar to Hylo, or making a simple video about why you want people to engage, reviewing some of the features of Hylo. We really like Crowdcast.io
- One simple thing that can help engage people into conversations is to ask people to help you build lists of things, e.g.: "What are some of your favorite podcasts?" or "What articles should we share with new members?"
- Ask questions! If you ask questions, it can give members an opportunity to share their knowledge and contribute.
- Try introducing people to one another by @-tagging their names another on posts to encourage conversations and collaboration.
- Have moderators, champions, and community leaders commit to a posting schedule, ensure they have the mobile app installed, make sure they fill out their profiles.
Using Requests, Offers, and #Topics
Hylo has a few simple features that are specifically designed to build collaboration.
#Topics is a flexible way to create loose sub-groups in your community.
You can create #topics for geographic areas in your community, for interest areas, for announcements, and more.
Consider inviting some of your champions to take responsibility for curating content in the #topic areas.
Requests are designed to help members ask for what they need.
- People often respond positively to having roles and responsibilities. Don't be afraid to use Requests to ask for help to further your community's goals, and help each other out.
Offers are designed to help make more visible the resources in your community.
- Make Offers to help people become aware of important events, resources, and opportunities relevant to your group's mission.
Keep up the momentum!
- Encourage people to step up: take on projects and work together
- Identify leaders in your community to help keep up the momentum: make sure there’s at least one person in each topic area tasked with keeping folks posting and collaborating
- Remember to keep posting “Requests” of your community--encourage people to share what their #topics group is up to.
- Don’t forget to orient new folks coming into the space to what clusters or topics are, and make sure they are able to connect with these structures
- Establish rituals: weekly check-in posts, jobs threads, work parties, etc
- People need to feel that their participation is what will make the group successful--because it will!