Welcoming community members

When creating enterprise communities, it’s important to welcome each new community member that joins. Generally, it’s important to share with them information about what they can expect from the community, how they can interact with other members, the resources available to them, and what (if any) action items you’d like to request that they take immediately (e.g., set up email alerts, introduce themselves to the community).

The method that this message is delivered will vary, given differences in technology and resources. While it would be ideal to get to know each community member individually with a welcome conversation (rather than message), that often isn’t as feasible internally as it is in external communities (given time restrictions for both parties). So, most enterprise communities tend to rely on an automated message after a member joins, or manually copying/pasting a welcome message template and sending this to each new member. This is fine; however, what often happens is that community managers get bogged down with the other details and demands of managing their community, so this message (often drafted when the community was first developed) gets stale.

To keep your welcome message fresh, consider:

 1) Keep it short, keep it simple

Nothing will make your members hit delete on your welcome message quicker than a wall of text – especially if it even has a whiff of being outdated.

 2) Update quarterly, include key dates

Try updating your message quarterly, and even including a brief message about recent community successes or upcoming community events/plans for the current quarter. Members want to know how your community will be relevant to them now. Tell them.

3) Action items, less is more

When asking your new member to do something additional after joining, be considerate of their time. Focus on asking for only what is most important to you, and let them know why you’re asking them to take an additional step. If you want them to sign up for email alerts to your collaborative tools, tell them what benefit that will give them. If you’re asking them to take a survey to collect demographic information on your members, explain how you’ll use that information and what’s in it for them.

4) Personal follow-up

Especially if your welcome message is generated from a generic community mailbox (or worse yet, a no-reply email), consider sending each new member a quick, personal follow-up. Even if it is just a one sentence, “thanks for joining, look around and let me know if I can help” email, that makes a world of difference between your member being onboarded to your community vs. being welcomed to it.

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