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How to use the “Network Effect” to Increase Topic Participation

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PlaceSpeak Banner - Speech BubblesOnline community engagement doesn’t end when you set up a topic page and click ‘Publish’ or ‘Notify.’  Any online consultation requires an outreach strategy to maximize participation. While PlaceSpeak offers a built in user base that will be notified about your topic, our user base by no means represents the entirety of the population that may be interested in your topic.

To truly engage your community and maximize topic participation, proponents need to think about your outreach efforts. Here are two things to think about as you launch a topic.

Existing users are only a start

PlaceSpeak’s database of users is a unique feature of our platform, and can give your outreach efforts an initial boost, especially if you host several topic in the same community. However, this is only a start. Having a PlaceSpeak account isn’t an obligation of the participation to connect with your newest topic, only an invitation to do so. To get users to connect with your topic, you need to think carefully about your initial messaging, on both the notification email that is sent out, but also on your topic page.

Moreover, existing users only represent a fraction of people that could be potentially interested in your topic. To help attract new users, PlaceSpeak has integrated the ability to share your topic pages on popular social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Not only should you share the topic with your followers on other platforms, you should encourage  people already connected to your topic to share it on their networks as well.

Help participants help you

The key to a successful topic page is engaging with participants, especially those who connect early. Throughout your campaign, you’ll discover that some connected participants who are willing to help promote your topic and share your messages to their respective networks,

After you publish your topic, you may discover that participants who are willing to push your message and share information about your topic with their respective social networks. With every new Facebook post, tweet, or blog post your topic benefits from the network effect as it is shared with a larger pool of potential participants. Be sure to thank these participants publicly on the networks that they post information about your topic to.  Even a simple ‘like’ on a Facebook post can go a long way in encouraging participants to engage with your topic.

One way to help the network effect to flourish is by creating a stream of new and engaging content to share, not only on your topic page, but also on your other social networks. Engaging online isn’t a one time activity, it requires regular updates and reminders.

More Ways to Increase Participation

If you are interested in other ways of increasing participation with your topic, check out these popular posts:


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