Engagement plays a large part in the desired future direction of DAU's communities. So how do you get community members to become more engaged in the community, what is the value proposition for communities, and how do we foster communities as a true collaborative resource for the acquisition workforce? These are some of the questions we hope to explore in this forum. But we need to start with the basics. First, does the workforce know the communities even exist? If not, how do we raise awareness? What role can our online courses and classroom activities play in raising awareness and promoting communities as a valuable resource for the workforce? Using the discussion forum, please feel free to post a reply or comment on any of these questions or other ideas that you want to share with the community.
Building a Vibrant Community of Practice
Communities of Practice are one way that DAU is proactively extending its reach and connection to the acquisition workforce by providing a venue to build connections, share information on acquisition topics, and learn from each other. Implicit in this description is the engagement of community participants. A quick Google search finds that the Merriam-Webster definition of "engage" includes "to bring together", "to hold the attention of", and "to induce to participate". All three of these meanings clearly articulate the objectives and desired end state of a vibrant community. In our communities, we absolutely want to bring people together, to hold their attention, and to encourage them to participate.
Creating engaging and value-added communities of practice requires concerted effort on the part of those managing the community to build a trusted environment where members feel secure contributing content, asking questions, and sharing what they know. An underlying aspect of building engagement is members finding value in participating in the community. Community value and member engagement are intertwined, and part of the community management role is to create value by offering up quality content on topics of interest that attract members to the community and make them want to stay and to engage.
To facilitate our community-building efforts, we have created tools and documented best practices to support our community managers (i.e., moderators):
- DAU Community Engagement Best Practices Guide
This guide provides proven practices and activities that promote member interaction, membership growth, and vibrant communities.
- How to Engage Your Community Members
This Infographic summarizes 4 key tips to engaging community members. The infographic supports the key themes of the Engagement Best Practices Guide and is available for download.
Watch this video on the secrets to a thriving community; it contains some great tips on fostering engagement and the psychology of engagement (around 13 minute mark).
Sunsetting Communities - Sometimes It's Needed
An important part of CoP strategy is knowing when to grow and engage your membership, but also knowing when to sunset a community that is no longer viable or needed. If you would like to discuss either revitalizing your community or possibly sunsetting it, please reach out to us with your concerns about sunsetting your site.