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May 26, 2020

I spoke with Randy Farmer about the recent increase in virtual community participation triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this bonus episode (~15 min), I speak with virtual community pioneer Randy Farmer about this influx of new participants, how they are likely different from your current community cohort, how to understand their needs and engage them in helpful ways. 

Highlights from our conversation:

"We've got a bunch of people who otherwise probably would not have come to our communities. What we usually do is count engagement or number of posts. We have these various metrics (which) may no longer be telling the entire story. Are we asking the right questions?"

"(Now) when you get a new member, you really need to understand a little more than just how active they are. Like how did they find you in the first place? What is it that got them to come to you. How can we serve their needs? How are they different than the existing community member base?"

"I'm saying that depending upon the application you have, it's important to understand the new users are highly valuable. Make sure they don't bounce off just because they can't find the thing that you already have that they need. I applaud all efforts to capture the contexts that are important to new users and make them feel like they're welcome."

You can find Randy online: