Reward the type of behavior you want to encourage.
Think about what behavior you want from your members. Maybe you want more comments on your blog or forum? Then think about how you can reward people that leave comments. Find ways to put the spotlight on them and make them feel (and look!) special for leaving a comment. That way, others will look at how you are treating the people that leave comments, and it will encourage them to do the same thing!
One way I do this sometimes is by ‘spotlighting’ a great comment. What I’ll do is edit the end of the post, and add something like: “UPDATE: Jim made an amazing point in the comments, and I wanted to make sure everyone saw it….” Then I would add Jim’s comment, plus add a link to Jim’s blog on his name. This is a great way to thank Jim for leaving an awesome comment, but it also alerts everyone to the fact that there’s a great conversation happening in the comments! Which only further increases the chance that there will be MORE comments!
Model the type of behavior you want to encourage.
When I started #Blogchat, I wanted to make sure that the community was helpful and friendly to everyone. But most importantly, I wanted to make sure we were welcoming to newbies, or people that were just joining for the first time. Because the chat moves SO fast, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. So whenever I see someone tweet that they are joining for the first time, I always respond to them and welcome them, and encourage them to ask any questions they have! I also make a point to constantly remind everyone that if they are new to #Blogchat, that they should feel free to ask any questions they like, because the group will be glad to help them. By being helpful to others, especially newbies, I am modeling the type of behavior I want to encourage with other #Blogchat members. And to their credit, the #Blogchat community always steps up and helps out other members!
Hey, all the cool kids are doing it!
The great thing about rewarding and modeling the type of behavior you want is that if you do your job, you’ll begin to see that several members of your community are engaging in the type of behavior you want to see. This helps encourage even more members to engage in the same type of behavior, because they see that everyone else is!
Now the one problem this can create for you is laziness. Just because your blog is now getting comments on every post doesn’t mean you can now afford to not respond to readers that are leaving comments. At some point if you stop rewarding and modeling the type of behavior you want to encourage, your members will pick up on this, and they will also stop engaging in that type of behavior. This also forces you to prioritize your time and really consider which activities are best for the long-term growth of your community, and how you can encourage that.
So are you rewarding and modeling the type of behavior you want from your readers, on your blog?