Have you ever wondered how to make new members feel welcome in your online group? It’s all about improving your community’s onboarding process to make them feel like they belong.
Keep reading to find useful tips, some ideas, and a step-by-step process to perfect your onboarding strategy. We will also show some examples from community builders who host Slack and Discord groups.
How to Make New Community Members Feel Welcome
New members are usually very excited to join a group of people with similar interests. You can leverage this initial motivation with a welcoming onboarding process. It should clearly suggest some first steps new members can take to begin to integrate into the community.
The onboarding process usually includes information about the community and the group’s purpose. Additionally, you could add login and membership details (if applicable). Community builders also commonly suggest some things to do (like introducing yourself or participating in community events).
Keep in mind that it’s not possible to have a perfect onboarding strategy. The most important thing is to be authentic and let your community’s values and core beliefs shine through your onboarding process.
Also, remember that new members most likely joined because they feel aligned with those values and beliefs. You can reinforce their decision to join by showing new members how the community may help them reach their goals.
With that said, you can always have a minimum viable onboarding process. Then, it’s only a matter of improving it over time as you collect feedback.
The most common way to welcome new members is by creating a personalized welcome message. Let’s see how to do that!
Crafting Your New Members’ Welcome Message
1. First, think about what experience you want new members to have. You surely want them to feel welcome and comfortable. How can we achieve that?
A first suggestion would be to show new members how and where they can ask for help.
On the other hand, it’s a great idea to make you visible and approachable. Show new members how to reach you. You can also take them to explore the resources section or explain community guidelines.
Make a list of all the activities you want to incorporate in your welcome message.
2. On the other hand, make sure you include links. Links are important to help members navigate your community.
Show them which channels to use to introduce themselves, where to find resources, and where they can register for events.
3. Additionally, think about why members are joining your community. What goals do they have? What transformation do they want to experience? Your welcome message should highlight how the community will help them.
4. Now, it’s time to collect feedback. This will only work if your community already has members who have gone through the onboarding process. Ask them to think in retrospect: what could you have done differently to make them feel more comfortable when they were new?
5. Lastly, write that welcome message! Now you have all the information you need. Don’t try to make it perfect, just write a rough draft. You can always edit it later.
To make it easier, let’s see how other community builders are approaching their onboarding processes. Take note of how each welcome letter is unique and dependent on that specific community’s values.
In this example, Crowdsourcing Sustainability‘s founder first explains what’s the purpose of the community. Afterward, he suggests some channels for new members to start integrating into the community and connecting with others. Lastly, he makes sure new members feel welcome by encouraging them to post questions or message him directly.
Now, let’s see how WritingPrompts crafted its welcome letter:
This welcome message is longer and it explains all the community’s rules. Additionally, they also share some resources and channels for new members to ask questions and introduce themselves.
Now your brain has some food for thought about how other community builders manage their onboarding processes. Let’s see one last example.
Creative Huddle uses lots of emojis and an informal tone and style. Their welcome letter includes some links and suggestions for new members about what to do when they first join the community. Additionally, they encourage users to share the community and follow their social media channels.
Feel free to use all these examples as a starting point if you find yourself looking at a blank page for too long. You can customize your welcome message in many ways. The goal is to align it with your community’s values, tone, and style.
Following up on New Members
Once you crafted a welcome message for your community, don’t be tempted to think it’s all over. It’s a good idea to follow up on new members. This will help them to adapt to the community, contribute, and feel comfortable.
For example, if a member doesn’t update their profile, or doesn’t send a message for 1-2 weeks after joining, ask yourself: why is that happening?
You may want to reach out personally to those members. Ask them if there is something you can do to help or if something is impeding them to engage.
After all, community builders’ main goal is to make all members feel welcome in the community, find their peers, and engage.
Creating a successful onboarding process for your online community it’s easier if you engage with other community builders to learn their tips and tricks. Check these awesome newsletters to learn more about community building.