#TipTuesday: Improving the 'discoverability' of your Community


So you’ve finally launched your community. The implementation might have been 2-3 months but this is a process that started much earlier when you consider you had to do your research, evaluate vendors, build your business case, and build your overall community strategy. This entire process may have started 12-18 months before this launch date and yet….so many communities do not do enough to make their community as discoverable as possible.

“Discoverability” in this context means how is it that your community members discover your community and its benefits.

In some ways, this is low-hanging fruit when it comes to driving engagement. It’s simple enough as a concept yet not enough communities take the time to capitalize on it. Part of it does usually involve coordinating with other members of your organization to help you out. If you’re having trouble getting departments on board I recommend you check out this great post by Shauna on the subject here.

I would argue that discoverability is one of the most important aspects of driving engagement. Members will come to the community if it provides value but they need to know it exists. They may initially come for an answer or resource but they will stay for the “community” but only if it's easy for them.

Here are some key tactics to consider when thinking about the discoverability. 

  • SEO, the OG of discoverability. I understand some people prefer to keep their communities private but I would implore you to open up at least some areas. People want a sense of what’s there before deciding to fully venture in and register for the community. 
  • Where is the community linked as part of the customer journey?
    • Is it linked in the header and footer of your website? If it’s in the header is it hidden or is it a main link? I recommend you put the argument forward to have the community be one of your main links if you really want this to be successful.
    • How is it linked to your product or app? Is it one link or are there multiple references made throughout?
    • How is it linked as part of the support experience? Is the community presented first in some capacity when users want to submit a support ticket or are looking for support information?
  • How is it featured in your company communications?
    • Do you have a newsletter for your customers? Do you feature community content or a link to the community?
    • Do you leverage social media such as your company's LinkedIn page to announce community initiatives?
    • Do members of your organization use their own social media presence to share updates or interesting content from the community?
    • Do members of your team or relevant department have a link to the community in their email signature?

Many of these suggestions do seem obvious and the trouble is usually getting the buy-in from some of the other teams that these initiatives touch. However, you probably already had to do that to get this project off the ground and now that you’ve put in all this hard work to launch, you should want to shout it from the rooftops and make sure potential members know what’s in it for them.

It may seem small but I can't tell you how many times the only way I've been able to find a community is to Google their name + community. It shouldn't be that hard and if it's hard, perhaps intentionally because you want it to be 'ready' to be publicly viewable, I can guarantee you're doing it wrong. Give your new community every chance it can get when you're starting out because we all know building engagement takes time.

I am sure I am missing plenty so if you've seen something effective or have an idea please share it below.