My generic answer: Whether the community is private or public, people will only contribute if there is value. The Community Captains need to understand what these clients want and drive engagement around topics that are of direct interest to them.
Possible concerns: Privacy between multiple clients. Perhaps some clients only want to reveal certain information to your company and not to the other clients.
Why is this community private? Perhaps that it is private is what is causing the clients to be cautious.
What is the purpose of the community? Support, discover best practices? What else?
Why do you think your clients want to talk to each other?
Why not ask one or two of them point blank this question? Maybe you are missing something.
Thank you for the input! We are an online fraud prevention company, so the people who are in the community are all online fraud managers - privacy is inherent to their jobs. We have heard for years that an online community would be a great place where they can converse with one another, but I just am not seeing as much as I thought. We have been live now for a year, so I definitely want to ramp up engagement. I wonder if there is a way to see how often the "direct message" feature is being used - maybe people are more interested in private discussions...
I will definitely take your suggestion about asking a few clients point blank why they may not be using the community as much.
Hi Colette Reid,
I manage a private external community that is used to house training content, official company news and a collaboration forum for our business partners. Although private, we have a SSO from our point of sale platform so anyone with that access has automatic - and easy - access to the community. If we had a sign up and approval process, I can guarantee we'd have a significantly lower adoption - it has to be easy or people won't use it.
Are you able to grant automatic access to your clients? I'd highly recommend doing so and posting content there that they need.
Eventually they will see the value of contributing when they realize the capability of a social platform. Selling points:
- Empowering users to locate answers to their questions without contacting anyone directly - avoids intimidation of appearing ignorant
- (almost) immediate answers to their questions
- Inspires collaboration with other people sharing a common interest
It took us a solid year to gain traction. By advising your clients that "this content is available in the x community", they will gravitate there for content they need. Once familiar with navigating the community, they will begin to see the selling points and start contributing on their own. A beauty with Jive is the design flexibility which does not require a technical background. If it's too difficult to find something, change the layout! Keep playing with it until you hear word that it's easy.
I'd be happy to connect if I can offer any other advice