I've been asked a few times about how to get community members talking to each other, so I thought I'd share some ideas here.
If you've had success in your community, and want to share you own tips, please comment!
- Use mentions to tag in other members (like Quora's ask to answer feature). If you think a specific member has the expertise to answer a question well, tag them in. This will also help surface that feature for your other members.
- AMA in a forum. Invite interesting members to do an "Ask Me Anything" in a forum, where the other members can pose questions during a specific time frame. (You could also use a chat event to do this, if you want to do it live.)
- Set up searchable interest fields (custom profile fields). If you make these public fields, your members will be able to use Advanced Search to find fellow members who have similar interests.
- Celebrate "wins" for peer to peer (Joe got his solution...). You can highlight these in a widget, or even add this type of information to your regular newsletter.
- Reward when people engage (use Recipes to kudo people who do it). Add points for commenting. Anything you incentivize will happen more often.
- Add social integrations to encourage external socializing. Enable as many of the social integrations as you can, so that your members can meet each other "off-community" as well. That may solidify relationships within the community.
- Hold an in-person event (use calendar w/RSVPs), then give everyone who attended extra points.
- Make private spaces to encourage self-disclosure (sometimes people are reluctant to share in the public spaces, especially if your community's subject area is sensitive).
- Use a survey to surface opportunities for folks to engage with each other (fun or business oriented). Quick surveys are a great way to offer a low-barrier entry point for discussion. It's easier to vote in a survey than to start a conversation yourself.
- Enable the recommendation engine, and it will recommend similar members. This allows your members to get to know each other too!
What are your ideas and past successes with sparking peer-to-peer engagement?