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Tips for Engaging Community Members

Outreach and Communications activities are designed to promote and generate awareness of a community by creating a continuous flow of information from an individual community to its membership and to the workforce. In addition, it is designed to alert community members and users of new functionality as it is added to the community space.

The target audience for communities consists of the defense acquisition workforce, including their industry partners. As we build partnerships with the federal workforce to support their acquisition requirements, they, too, become part of the audience that benefits from communities.

Use the links below to quickly focus on the following areas:

Promote Your Community Externally

Submit news to DAU's internal newsletter Insight. Contact Insig[email protected] with a 600-800 word article.

Submit an article to subject-specific publications, such as professional organization newsletters, trade magazines, and other places where your target audience will concentrate. Locate the publication's editorial email address and request publication guidelines.

Submit an article to the Defense AT&L magazine about your community's features, benefits, and successes. Submit an article of 600 to 800 words. For past issues and examples of articles, see the Defense AT&L Magazine and it's submission guidelines.

Invite bloggers in your field to blog about your community, its features, and its benefits. Email established bloggers and invite them to blog on your community and its events. If your community has a blog, write an article so that it can be featured on your community home page.

Create a Facebook page, GovLoop page, LinkedIn page, or Twitter feed for your community. Post short messages about current events relevant to the community and link to new or interesting community content regularly. Create accounts for your community on any of these social networking sites (or sites specific to your service or agency) and invite community visitors to subscribe to (or "Like/Follow") them from your community. Email [email protected] and ask for examples of communities that incorporate social media like Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to publish new messages ("tweets") regularly to direct them to useful features and content on the community. Be sure to review Social Media policies relevant for Communities.

Submit an announcement to the DAU Alumni Association. Contact the DAU Alumni Association at [email protected].com with the announcement text.

Add your community URL to your email signature block. This is an easy, low-cost way to publicize your community of practice.

Request a memorable shortcut URL for your community that will let users go directly to your site without navigating all of the DAU communities. Use the shortcut URL in publications and brochures. Contact [email protected] to request a specific shortcut URL. If granted, it will take the form, ""

Print and laminate two-sided reference guides that provide the community's URL, purpose, features, benefits, and a quick how-to for features. These laminated sheets tend to be kept when paper publications might be recycled. They also last longer and stand out among other brochures.

Promote Your Community to Its Members

Add a community announcement to your community home page.

Develop briefing demonstrations to present your community's benefits and goals. Highlight the purpose and feature key capabilities of the community, demonstrate ease of use, and provide information for joining and subscribing to the community.

Create Opportunities to Learn and to Connect

Organize and publicize real-time community meetings to strengthen the community network and to build members' trust and willingness to participate in the community. These meetings should allow members to share updates, ideas, and projects in their relevant field(s). Publicize when, where, and why your community is meeting. These meetings can be physical (in-person) or virtual/remote (e.g. phone, Web, or video conference).

Participate in topically related events (e.g., conferences, seminars, and symposia) and share your community's benefits with potential members. Ask event organizers if you can set up a display or booth at the event or even give a presentation or sit on relevant discussion panels. Consider bringing brochures or other handouts and community business cards to events.

Set up an information kiosk or bulletin board to distribute information on the community to passers-by. Print displays with interesting graphics. Clearly outline benefits of joining the community. If you have promotional items, business cards, or brochures, this is a good place to make them available.

Recognize Individual Members

Send an email to welcome and to orient new members, to introduce them to team members, and to invite them to participate. Send links to content that you think might be helpful.

Identify community members who can serve as ambassadors in their geographic region to encourage and to engage other members whom they may know personally.

Celebrate successes by recognizing members who provide helpful content by "Liking" their contributions.

Engage Members Via the Discussion Forum

Check the site regularly to look for new content to ensure that questions are being answered. You can [Set Up an  Alert for New Content] to receive automatic email notifications about new content.

If a question or post has no replies:

  • Consider sending a request to someone who may be able to answer it.
  • Post a reply of your own and @mention another community member so they will get an email about the post.

Monitor the conversation to ensure that the "vocal minority" is not taking over. Using the Inappropriate Conversation Response Protocol, contact individuals who do not appear to be following the community guidelines.

Consider "curating" a featured post by combining conversations into one post that summarizes a topic.

Periodically review discussions to identify content that is outdated or no longer relevant. If some but not all of a discussion thread is outdated or no longer relevant, consider combining the relevant parts of the old thread into a new post and then deleting the old post.

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