Powering Human Experience

Season 2 | Episode 4 - Emma Clark

Ray Poynter
September 13, 2021
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Episode 4, Season 2 has just landed! Tune in today to Emma Clark, Insights Community Specialist from Potentiate to discover how to engage your insights community members and save you time and money in the long run.

A full transcript of the interview can be found below:

Ray Poynter

Hi, Ray Poynter here, and welcome to another Potentiate - Powering Human Experience - podcast. And today, I'm delighted to be joined by Emma Clark, who is an Account Director and Community Expert with Potentiate, based in Sydney. Today we're going to be focusing on the topic of engagement with insight community members. Emma - why is engagement so important?

Emma Clark

I think there are three main reasons. #1 with an insight community, it costs less to retain your members using engagement than to recruit new. #2 In general, good engagement, helps you build relationships versus transaction. So in other words, making a general effort to understand and communicate with your members will help you get the bigger picture on them. #3 Members who actively participate in your insight community make your business more agile. This is because engaged members are more likely to participate in your studies. For example, one client in the financial space recently implemented an engagement plan with Potentiate. In the first four months, they were able to reduce the number of unsubscribes, increase their average response rate on surveys by 4%,  quadruple the number of views on their articles and increase member comments tenfold, which is pretty incredible.

Ray Poynter

So with that, they're going to get more information. And it's going to be just that little bit more representative?

Emma Clark

Yes, exactly. Ultimately, we all want an easier life. And I know that the life of a researcher in 2021 is really busy. You know, we have to feed the business simple, actionable information, multitask last minute requests, navigate legal questions, while simultaneously being fast in everything we do. Meditating, eating healthily, doing our tax, writing in our gratitude journal. But you know, life is spending more time with your family, it's reading a good book or eating a delicious croissant. And it may seem difficult to take time to nurture and care for your community members, but it will lead to members who stay longer and share more, thus saving you time.

Ray Poynter

That's, that's great. So when a member unsubscribes from activity, they're normally asked, ‘Why did you leave?’ so in your experience, what are the main reasons that people give for unsubscribing from a community?

Emma Clark

The most common unsubscribe reason which I see is that the communications were not relevant. So one way to tackle this is to actually ask members, what topics they're interested in? And regularly update this information and use it to craft your engagement plan. It's also good to state the topic length and close date in your survey or forum invitation, and just make use of the information you have to ensure you sample correctly.

One thing to always remember when you have a high unsubscribe rate, ie. over 10% of your community leaving within a year, is that you need to stop expecting loyalty when you have not created that relationship.

Ray Poynter

Absolutely. So what types of content should you be displaying to members?

Emma Clark

The content, surveys and forums you share and invite members to, should utilize the four key motivators. Those are: (1) membership (2) influence (3) fulfillment, and (4) a shared emotional connection.

By membership, I mean the feeling community members get when they belong to a group of like-minded customers who are treated like VIPs. You want to evoke the feeling of an exclusive club.

By influence, I mean the way members feel useful and heard when they see the results of studies and the changes they've impacted.

By fulfillment, I mean the way members feel valued when your brand acknowledges them, and when they receive prizes and feel listened to.

And by shared emotional connection, I mean the way members feel connected, chatting to others in forums or focus groups or on their member hub.

The content could be anything from exclusive brand news, the results of studies, it could be a recipe sharing exercise, a photo competition, it could be an engaging forum. It could also be anything repurposed from your social media accounts or blogs, as long as it addresses one of these motivators, you are less likely to have poor engagement.

If a lot of the results of studies are not really shareable with members, because they are quite sensitive, you can ask your stakeholders, what did they broadly find most surprising or useful in the data? And that's quite a nice thing to share back with members.

If you can't do that, that's also no excuse, because you can create engaging questions purely for share back purposes. For example, if you are a financial brand, you can ask members if they are spending more or less on shopping in lockdown, or if they've ever paid their rent late, or when they first got pocket money, you know, these types of questions inspire interesting share backs.

Ray Poynter

That's great. Could you perhaps give us another example of that?

Emma Clark

Yes! Recently, one retail brand ran an engagement activity, asking members what emoji best represents their brand for World emoji day. So they also actually asked the members to design their own emoji as part of a competition, which is really cool. They had 69 entries, and the winner was displayed on the insight community hub. And that post has received 344 views. So with that particular share back, members really felt heard. The competition inspired creativity and the chatter on the posts within the hub also inspired a shared emotional connection between members.

Ray Poynter

Okay, I think I get the picture. So how often should we be doing share backs?

Emma Clark

Well, this is a question we get a lot and it does depend on your audience. So I highly recommend asking your community members how often they'd like to receive newsletters, surveys, forums, or other content from your insight community. And you should also do a deep dive into the stats you already have. So things like how often your members are visiting the insight community, and do they find the content interesting, etc.

As a general rule of thumb, though, when a survey or forum activity is high, you should create one share back that month, sharing the results of all the activities. And when survey forum activity is low, the optimal number of share backs is one post per week. So essentially, we're trying to get to one touch point per week.

Another good idea is just to review your metrics and find out what topics, formats and frequencies work best for your audience. And bear in mind that it's always best to allow three to four months of posting to determine those trends, ie. which contents and themes resonates with your members?

Ray Poynter

So could you give us perhaps, an overview of how you might share things.

Emma Clark

I recommend, on a monthly basis, you review your metrics, so things like what topics formats and frequencies work best for your audience, you remove old and irrelevant content. And you have content strategy meetings with your team, just to plan the rest of the month in terms of engagement.

Ray Poynter

I guess we ought to do the planted question at this stage 😊. So does Potentiate offer support on this?

Emma Clark

Yes!. We offer an engagement package, where you can request the support of an expert Community Manager and a management team, to create share backs, newsletters and engagement forums.

We recommend starting with one member hub, post or share back a month, one newsletter a quarter, and one engagement item per quarter. Because these tasks shouldn't get in the way of your lives or your relationships with your members. Reach out to your Account Director for kind of more information on that.

Ray Poynter

Brilliant. I think the key thing I'm taking from all of this is that relationships don't just happen. Somebody has to put the work in. And it's really become a recognized role over the years. Thank you so much for your time, Emma.

Emma Clark

Thank you, Ray. It's been awesome being here.

Contact us today if you would like to discover more about how to create an Insights Community for your business.

About Emma Clark - Account Director and Insights Community Expert, Potentiate

Emma Clark is an Account Director at Potentiate, based in Sydney and has 9+ years of experience managing Insight Communities.  Emma has a keen interest in Community Engagement and Content, so look out for her articles on the Potentiate blog!