There are many ways to message and communicate digitally. But building a community that is inclusive means everyone in your group needs to be in the same digital space. If the group is spread out across multiple messaging services, emails and text threads, cliques can form and building a consistent community becomes difficult. Imagine an in-person event spread out across multiple physical spaces… it would be challenging to build a unified culture and community!
Gathering your community digitally can be accomplished with the right framing. Some members may have to download a new app and will feel a cost associated with the transfer. It’s critical to articulate the benefit that makes it worthwhile.
Instead of listing a series of benefits, pick one thing you know your members care about -- something that will bring them joy or save them pain. The more relevant and near-term, the better!
Here are four simple approaches to bringing everyone onboard to the same digital space.
Sharing group photos
Take a group picture at your next event and share it in your digital community. As a member, it’s awesome to get these photos and post them to your own social media. Members can also save the pictures to their phones, text them to friends and family, or add them in their photo album.
“There are great photos from the event last night! I’ll share them here so everyone else can download”
Organizing logistics for your next event
Upcoming events often require logistics and planning. Make sure everyone going can participate in the conversation in advance.
Our annual sweater party is just around the corner. Let’s get organized here so we can all plan what we need to bring
Focus on inclusion
Communities often have new members and adding them to multiple digital spaces is confusing and logistically challenging. When new people are being added to a separate email thread or text chain, ask to transition the conversation to where the rest of the community is. Members who value the conversation will want to keep it going, and you can open the discussion up to other members who may have interest. Unwelcoming cliques make community building more challenging.
We are getting more interest in our Saturday library meetups. Let’s move it over so anyone can join!
Onboard through direct messages
When you meet someone new to the group and you don’t have their contact information, offer to connect where your community is conversing.
“Nice to meet! Send me a message on Heylo to connect!”
At the end of the day, your community members are here for your community and ultimately they’ll follow guidance on the best way to organize and communicate.
Have confidence that you are using the right tool for the benefit of your community, and clearly articulate the value. If you get it right, you only have to do it once, and the rest of the group will follow.