Your Guide to Building and Engaging an Online Community

Your Guide to Building and Engaging an Online Community

Before we jump in, let’s talk about engaging an online community. Anyone working with digital channels probably hears the word “engagement” a lot. So, what exactly is it? Some define it as a goal. Think number of followers, likes and shares you receive from tweeting out one article versus another.

But engagement is more than a metric. According to Viafoura’s product director, Daniel Seaman, it is the “expression of appreciation by your audience for the content and experiences that you are providing them.”

Gone are the days of traditional one-way interactions with audiences. These days, it is absolutely vital for brands to create positive, two-way relationships with website visitors. Ignoring your community is a great way to lose trust, content consumption and revenue.

As brand representatives, here’s how to ensure the work you are creating is not only speaking to your online community, but also encouraging website visitors to interact with your company.

The value of engagement

After gathering data from over 85 million non-registered and 2.5 million registered Viafoura users (see the chart below), we were able to conclude that registered users are more invested in the content they consume.

These individuals want to be a part of the community by interacting with others, sharing content, and opting in for real-time updates. It is also clear that the more opportunities there are to engage with a media outlet, the higher number of users there will be who are interested in registering.

In other words, an engaged and optimized digital community will lead to more website registrations and, therefore, more revenue for your company.

Per user per week Sitewide Pageviews Attention Time per visist (mins)
Registered Users* 52 98
Non-Registered Users** 4 5
Average Lift 14x 23x

Data collected Jan 2019 – May 2019
*sampled 14 unique media brands
**sampled 85M unique non-registered and 2.5M registered users

Commenting makes a difference

For the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the commenting feature is critical to its vision: giving Canadians a place to discuss their opinions. Jack Nagler, the director of journalistic public accountability and engagement at CBC, explains how commenting has helped them become a better newsroom because their readers improve the stories being told. CBC also found in a survey that 70 percent of respondents said that comments were important to them and spent at least 15 percent of their time onsite just reading comments. 

In addition, Carrie Lysenko, the head of digital at Pelmorex Media — which owns The Weather Network — says that when they tested turning off comments, there was a significant drop in pageviews and attention time. Online commenting in a safe and moderated space is, after all, a great way to drive engagement with your brand.

Getting involved

We’ve all seen it. A comment section that quickly turns into a volatile, troll-infested mess of rude comments that go against the community guidelines and has nothing to do with the article resting above it. Anyone would be happy to sit at the sidelines and read in horror instead of engaging with a troll.

But guess what? Getting involved with your brand has actually been proven to help keep the comment section relevant and civil. In a study conducted by The Engaging News Project, when the reporter interacted in the comment section of their article, the chances of an uncivil comment dropped by 15 percent.

As engagement specialists, we know how trolling can be a major deterrent for getting involved in the comment section, or enable one at all. But luckily, Viafoura can automatically moderate inappropriate and offensive comments, keeping your digital community clean and safe. Get in touch with us here for more information.


Author: Jesse Moeinifar

Founder & CEO of Viafoura, is a serial entrepreneur with multiple successes spanning a range of industries, including real estate, digital media and software. Dedicated to disruption, Jesse is passionate about game-changing ideas and credits his accomplishments to assembling teams of smart individuals committed to solving challenging problems.

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