Nobody likes to be first to a party, right? So why would your customers want to contribute the very first post to your community? For many customers, an empty community is a bit intimidating. Set an example of the types of content and behavior acceptable in your community by seeding some discussions early on.
Start with FAQs
A great way to start seeding your community is to post a couple of FAQ-type topics. Ask your support and sales teams for the most common questions they get from current customers or prospects, and pull a few articles from your knowledge base too. Come up with the questions that you want to post from your personal user account and the ones that you want to post from your FAQ user account, and then post them in the community. Make sure you write out the titles to your FAQ questions in a natural language that your customers would use, so that the topics rank better in topic intercept search.
To create a FAQ user account, simply start a brand new user account in your community. When registering, give it the name FAQ and use an email address that is not in use by your team (maybe, firstname.lastname@example.org). Once the account has been created, upload your company’s logo as the avatar and adjust the user profile to reflect the nature of the account. Example: Get Satisfaction’s FAQ Account
If you’d like to edit any of your FAQ questions in the future, be sure to use the Close tool (in the Moderation Tools set) to close them to new replies or comments so that you are able to edit them in the future. If a topic has any replies, you will be unable to edit the content.
Not all seeded discussions have to be questions. If there are known issues with your product, seed a couple of problem topics with a transparent answer from your company and the appropriate status marker. Add upcoming roadmap items as ideas in the community, set the status, and then associate them with items in your project management tool by using public or private tags. Use the HootSuite integration to pull in complimentary tweets and Facebook posts as new praise topics in the community. Ask your coworkers to submit their own questions, problems, ideas or praise.
Leverage Your Power Users
We’ve all got a core group of customers that love our brands and are excited to collaborate with our teams. Reach out to a few trusted users and give them the inside scoop about your community! Once you have a few open discussions in your community, invite them to come in and participate. Encourage them to answer each other’s questions, as well as post new questions. Make sure that their questions get answers early and often, so that they feel comfortable with coming back and posting in the community.