Context matters: How to engage users on your community app
Context. It’s the most important word to know when reading between the lines and it can mean the difference between a rewarding interaction and a major blunder. Any work that involves dealing with people is an area where a frame of reference benefits all parties. That’s why mobile apps should always make user contextualization a key part of their online community engagement strategies.
Contextualizing your online community
The more familiar you are with your target audience, the easier it will be to create an online community engagement strategy that resonates with users and improves retention. Other benefits include the time and money saved on advertising to the wrong people—resources that can then be redirected towards building products catered to your target audience.
All online platforms—from long-established to newly launched—need to have a deep understanding of their audience in order to build the best products and features. If you feel like community engagement is dwindling and you’ve lost touch with your user base, here’s how to get to know them better:
1 - Examine your user analytics and existing data
With a mobile application comes a wealth of user data. But the mere existence of it isn’t beneficial if not resulting in useful insights.
If you don’t know who is using your app, the data is the first place to look. Google Analytics or another similar tool can help you understand the number of users in your app, their characteristics, and where they come from. Qualitative data from focus groups, interviews, surveys, and observations can also help.
If your app has been launched for quite some time and you’re just looking to reacquaint yourself with your users, examine how the demographical data has changed over time and whether you are missing any audience segments that did not exist before. These insights can reveal opportunities for service solutions to cater to a new set of users.
2 - Approach your audience personally
If your data is limited or you’re toying with product ideas for a different segment, the best way to gather information is by approaching your community personally. This is a great way to seek answers to specific questions or gather general sentiments.
Depending on your time and budget constraints, here are a few feedback collection methods to consider:
The discussions for many products start in focus groups. Since this collection method puts many potential customers in the same room, it’s a good way not only to gather answers to specific questions but also to identify pain points that people may raise.
One-on-one interviews may cover similar prompts to group discussions, but they are often more costly and complex to run. That said, they yield more opportunities for in-depth analysis and are less biased than focus groups.
The cheapest and most common way to gather general customer sentiments is through a survey. You can administer one in a variety of ways, including via a chatbot on your very own app. The disadvantage of surveys, however, is that you may not gain as much thoughtful insight compared to personal interviews.
3 - Create buyer personas
Segmenting your audience into a few clearly fleshed-out buyer personas helps product teams personalize the user experience and meet the different needs your audience may have. It turns insights into clear representations of who you’re selling to.
Buyer personas are also important to community leaders because it helps them develop engagement strategies. Each micro-segment typically has different expectations and needs, so knowing how to captivate them at the perfect time can drive conversions and interactions.
4 - Monitor audience feedback
People’s needs and tastes evolve over time, and your customers are no exception. Monitoring any changes in their habits will prove invaluable in helping you continue to support their needs.
As you observe your community's response, you might find it helpful to keep an eye on a few key metrics. Monitoring user sentiments is an ongoing task. While there is a time and place to gather information using surveys, focus groups, and conversations, frequent requests for comments are unrealistic and rather irritating for users.
Along with a tasteful amount of manual data gathering, track these app engagement metrics:
- Daily Active Users (DAU) & Monthly Active Users (MAU)
- Retention Rate
- Stickiness Ratio
- Average Session Length
- Churn Rate
- Exit Rate
The numbers can help you understand how useful or engaging your app is to those downloading it. With them, you can monitor community engagement in response to changes and note areas of improvement.
Building authentic connections by framing every engagement
Creating an online community engagement plan that contextualizes each user’s journey can be complicated, but it’s necessary for crafting the best products and services for your customers. It also ensures you’re releasing content that resonates and contributes to a strong brand community.
People respond well to feeling understood and spoken to in their language. Paying attention to the context will, over time, turn your community members into loyal advocates who enjoy engaging with each other, inviting people to participate, and improving your bottom line.