So you’re building a community and it’s getting active and there’s interest from new members. But do you really know how your members view your community? What difference does your community make in their lives? Have you ever sought community feedback? Community management will be more effective when you take into account the views and inputs of your members.
Why you need community feedback
Even with the best of intentions, the real-life structures and interactions in a community could be different from what you had initially designed. Community operators need honest feedback as they may not be aware of the discrepancies between their objectives and the end results.
Secondly, community management is a process of continuous improvement. Some frameworks may have worked when you had fewer members. But as the community grows, your processes would need to change and the best way to do that is by listening to the members about what they want.
The third reason is that community feedback questions get the members to participate in the functioning of the community. With empowerment, there will be greater participation, which will create a livelier and far more productive community.
Finally, community feedback strengthens community management by helping you spot potential problems early on. If there are things that negatively affect or limit members, even if it’s a small group, community feedback questions will bring them to the light and help you take corrective action.
Now that we know its importance, here are the three most important steps you should take while seeking community feedback.
Know your objectives
Before you start writing community feedback questions, you should know what you’re trying to learn. Come up with questions that will give you greater clarity about your objectives. Some of the most common and effective questions include:
- How will this feedback exercise help you?
- What’s the most important thing you want to learn?
- What do your members feel about the community?
- What do they like and what would they like to change?
- What new features would they want in the community?
- How can you deliver a better community experience for your members?
1. Ask as few questions as possible
It would be tempting to ask a lot of questions because you want to get comprehensive feedback. But this would be counterproductive. The process of community feedback will be better if you limit the number of questions.
Why? Because nobody looks forward to a long survey with too many questions. Members might get exhausted and not give honest community feedback. The respondents should see at the outset that the feedback form doesn’t run into several pages. So, focus on a few areas and ask pointed and relevant questions.
2. Make it fun
Unfortunately, the word feedback conjures up boring and bland images. That primarily arises from people’s experiences of giving feedback in the corporate world. But if designed and implemented well, community feedback can be a fun exercise.
Allow your community members to network and meet each other as part of community feedback. Let them know more about each other. Make it casual and encourage open-ended conversations. You can also give your members little ‘thank-you’ gifts for participating in the community feedback exercise.
3. Bonus - Questions we love to ask
We’re constantly striving to improve community management by asking questions and implementing the suggestions of our members. Along with the usual queries, we’ve found that the following questions can work remarkably well:
1. What inspired you to join the community? This will tell you why your members join your community. By helping them remember the reasons for joining, you’ll be reinforcing their belief in the community.
2.What’s the one thing you know you can rely on in our community? This is how you know what your community is good at and also, how you can improve it.
3. What’s the one piece of content/advice/interaction you’re missing in our community? These suggestions will help you improve the member experience.
4. What motivates you to come back? Want to know the difference your community makes to your members’ lives? These answers will tell you that.
By conducting structured community feedback exercises, community operators can make good calls on how to improve their community member experience and make their communities more inclusive, fun, and participatory.
November 1, 2022
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