#TipTuesday: Get Started Guide

JSaghbini HLV Staff
edited May 2023 in Talk Community #1

Hello Vanilla community!

Welcome back for another edition of #TipTuesday.

This Tuesday I want to highlight the importance and best practices when it comes to creating a Get Started Guide for your Higher Logic Vanilla Community.

A Get Started Guide acts as a critical part of your online community for a number of reasons and serves multiple purposes:

  • It makes new community members feel welcome and allows them to introduce themselves to fellow members.
  • It communicates the purpose and what to expect by being a member of the community.
  • It guides them and provides a hand holding like experience of what to do once they join your community.
  • It can aid in a retention strategy to ensure that you have community members returning over time (not just one-time visits).
  • Acts as a knowledge/reference guide for new community members and returning community members.

It is a best practice to separate sections of your Get Started Guide into various discussions that are located within a specific get started or welcome category. Another option is to have a shorter discussion in length, that links out to various resources across your community site.

This ensures that the information is in one location and there is not a vast amount of scrolling in a singular post to find key information pieces.

Placement of the Get Started Guide:

  • It is important to make sure that your get started guide is easily found and visible to your community members.
  • Some suggestions include:
    • Leveraging a call-to-action widget on the home page
    • Adding a navigation link on the top of your community page
  • It is perfectly ok to have both of these enabled so that users can easily find the Get Started Guide.

Welcome to the Community Post

  • This encourages community members to say hello and introduce themselves to other members.
  • Allows you to specify community guidelines that are expected from members (i.e code of conduct).
  • Makes members feel that they are part of a large group of similar members that can share knowledge with one another.



Gamification Strategy Post

  • Communities that leverage an effective gamification strategy have shown to assist with overall member engagement. It is important though to let users know how they can gain ranks along with badges based on their participation within the community.
  • Describing your community leaderboards and how members accumulate points on them is also helpful information to display in this section (i.e. is it reputation points, questions answered, custom badges)



Navigating the community and enabling notifications post

  • Vanilla forums does allow for ease of use for members to navigate the community, however providing basic tips or instructions enhances the overall first impression of your members.
  • Showing members how to search content, how to bookmark important categories and how to configure their notifications are some examples that can be displayed in this section.
  • Ensuring that users configure their notifications properly once they join the community is a critical retention strategy piece and makes sure that members are being alerted to content that is relevant to them.


Maintenance of your get started guide:

It is important to review/audit your Get Started Guide over time to ensure that information stays up to date and to add in any key critical pieces that you wish to highlight to your members in this guide (i.e. changes to gamification strategy, key categories to follow).

Finally, feel free to check out this recording from a Higher Logic Vanilla Connect Series that was hosted last year where we discussed this topic with various other community managers:

https://higherlogic.zoom.us/rec/share/E-jYlMYOtEMs1IRYSufwYwUKkfNJaTf_KtGEimH9WH9Pypwj8VoXJ2Z341JlPGwu.iHEo3mOwFg9OKu0t Passcode: 1Ya%613N

I hope this was another helpful #TipTuesday and have a great rest of the week everyone!