Jason Hansman’s network has a welcoming committee — a group of members who roll out the red carpet to brand-new members to see if they need any advice on how to get started. Visit IAVA.
Have you ever walked into a party and not known anyone, or started a new job and didn’t know what to do on your first day? What was your first instinct? To leave quickly and quietly? Some of your new members may feel the same way. You need to make sure they don’t quickly head out the door and not come back. Luckily, it only takes a few steps to turn new members from wallflowers into the life of the party.
- Personalize your welcome email: When a new member joins your Ning Network, they automatically receive a welcome email. It’s easy to Edit the Welcome Message and change the language so it fits your Ning Network.
- Create a welcome box: Use a Text Box to provide need-to-know information for newbies. On Navy for Moms, the welcome box reads “First time here?” and has a list of the steps newcomers should take, like reading the community guidelines and uploading a profile photo. Make it easy for new members to know where they should look first.
- Tell new members what to do: You probably only have a few days to get a new member to contribute and get involved. Otherwise, they’ll become an occasional browser or simply leave for good. So tell them what to do – give them easy first tasks. The Getting Started section on Lost Zombies has a step by step list of what to do, everything from getting caught up with previous activity on Lost Zombies to what specific info to submit to their documentary.
- Have a greeter — or team of greeters: Recruit one or more of your moderators to be part of a welcome group that comments on every new member’s profile page. Kyle, the Network Creator of CheckSwing, comments on every new members’ comment wall, with links he thinks they might find interesting. And if your Ning Network gets larger, you can recruit a team of people to help you do the same thing.
Don’t do this
- Be a robot: When you or your moderators comment on members’ profile walls, try to vary what you post, so each greeting feels unique. Suggest groups and forum topics to check out, based on your new member’s profile info.
- Wait too long to welcome: First impressions are everything. Try to welcome each new member the day they join, so they immediately feel included and engaged in what your Ning Network is all about!