Last week our SVP of Product Ido Goldberg was joined by Salon.com’s Director of Community Mary Elizabeth Williams to discuss how Salon built a thriving community in an age of online toxicity.
Many digital publishers have been fearful of comments sections and engaging with their audience because of trolls and their toxic comments –but they also know that user engagement is important for increasing time on site and driving retention. Ido and Mary Elizabeth looked at not only the importance of developing an active community, but also how you can promote thoughtful discussions around your content.
Here are our 5 favorite takeaways from the webinar:
A relationship cannot be a one-sided conversation
In order to build a sustainable business, publishers need to develop loyalty with their audience by offering the chance to participate. Spot.IM’s conversation unit allows publishers to bring their audience into the discussion, which in turn creates a relationship between your audience and your brand.
The top 10% or your users drive 90% of your value
Your most loyal audience is also your most valuable. Across Spot.IM users we see commenters drive 3x more page views and spend 15x more time on site than your casual site visitors. Commenters are also more likely to come back for your content week after week. This is seen with Salon.com, where commenters are 4x more likely to come back the following week.
Conversations are the beginning of the funnel
Across millions of users we measure daily, we see simple conversations have a lasting impact on users’ behavior. There is an incremental lift in page views and session time per user — and the more engaged they are, the more often they come back to your site. This increased audience engagement also can inform business strategies and KPIs like increasing digital subscriptions.
Facilitating Respectful Comments takes commitment
Salon.com has a holistic approach to keeping their comment section civil. Their writers and editors join in the conversation often to spark thoughtful dialogue and lead by example. Their conversation box sets expectations upfront reading, ‘Let’s talk about it. Be smart. Be sincere. Be Civil.’ And, because they can’t be everywhere at once, Spot.IM’s automatic moderation helps the Salon.com editors enforce their guidelines.
When you build a community they help keep things civil
Salon.com’s commenters are incredibly active and passionate about the content they produce.
From all of this effort, Salon.com has seen an overall impact on loyalty. When the community is held accountable, they also end up holding each other accountable. Mary Elizabeth has seen people hold each other to certain standards, and also rally around each other. And, the best part is that with a community-driven story, the narrative doesn’t end with a writer.
To learn more, watch the on-demand webinar recording with Salon.com.