Toluna Resources

13 Ways to Create the Most Engaging Topics

Have an online community, discussion group, forum, or bulletin board project? Whether you are the moderator, client, observer, or all of the above, these quick tips below will optimize engagement and fluidity of your online community topics, especially when using QuickCommunities.  

1. Mix it up: Avoid repetition, ask different questions, add videos and photos to the topics, and in your responses.

2. Break it up: Instead of asking multiple part questions, create multiple topics

3. Use conversational language: Talk to these participants like you are talking to new acquaintances. They are going to be your new friends for the duration of the event. Be casual but not too casual. Don’t use big words or market research language.

4. Keep topic descriptions short/avoid long text: Participants don’t need long explanations within a topic, nor do they want to read a long explanation.

5. Include instruction: Be specific as possible.

6. Avoid yes/no questions, or questions that garner one-word answers. Instead of “how many fruits do you eat in a day” ask “Which fruits are consumed most often in your home, and by whom?”

7. Have the last topic each day be instructional. For example create a topic called “Day 2 Info – Come back tomorrow for 5 more topics. Remember you earn more each time you answer a topic.”

8. Insert surveys: It’s another tool for you to gather more information, and on the flipside, it’s a fun activity for the participant.

9. Number each topic as they are added. It makes it easier for the participant to follow in an orderly fashion, as well as keep track of participation for both the moderator and participant.

10. Post multiple topics over a longer period of time: If you have 6 topics on Monday, then post 1 topic every 10 minutes to keep participants for a longer timeframe.

11. Allow topics to be “biased”. In QuickCommunities, there is an option to create topics and launch them as biased or unbiased. Biased allows participants to see others answering the topics in real time. Unbiased will only show other participants once that particular participant answers first.  Not everyone likes to the be first to talk in a group, so allowing participants to see others participating, will encourage the more shy ones to open up.

12. Start General: Start the discussion topics more general and move onto more conceptual, deeper, and specific topics as the community progresses.

13. Schedule all topics ahead: Take advantage of the “close topic” lock button by adding all your topics ahead of time and “closing” them. This allows participants to see what topics are coming up and think about their answers ahead of time, as well as setting expectations to overall participation for the duration of the day, or the entire event. You can close and reopen topics as you please.

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10 Best Practices When Moderating Online Communities

Have an online community, discussion group, forum, or bulletin board that you are moderating? Below are some quick tips that will help you to optimize engagement and enhance your moderating abilities, especially when using QuickCommunities.

1. PREPLAN: Pre-plan or create a calendar/draft of questions, surveys, touch points, topics that you want to have answered. It’ll make it easier on you when it comes time to post topics. Touchpoints can include invitation emails, welcome posts, and reminder emails. Below is an example of an Engagement Calendar:

moderating 1

2. Be clear: Fill the virtual distance with clarity. Specify the duration for the community, reward logic, and make sure the last topic of each day introduces the tasks for the coming events. Keep topic descriptions short, explain exactly what participants need to do.

3. Introduce yourself: Answer the topic questions yourself. Introduce yourself, share details about yourself.

4. Use conversational language: Talk to these participants like you are talking to new acquaintances. They are going to be your new friends for the duration of the event. Be casual but not too casual. Don’t use big words or market research language.

5. Give thanks: Like each comment made using the “thumb” button, and also thank each participant within the first few topics. Use their username. Think about how special you might feel when a higher-up in your company calls you out on a great job you did, or a teacher in elementary school who gave you a gold star. That’s how these members feel when you recognize them. A simple thank you goes a long way. Acknowledgment is key.

6. Be present and respond to participants and recognize certain users for their efforts on the first day: Remember you are not a silent observer. If you want your community to be lively and insightful, you should be present on a regular basis. Let username1 know that he/she made a good point and that you’ve never thought of that before, or how that one point is going to change the way you see your brand. Interact with the whole group and one-to-one.

7. Remove fluff comments: Prepare for some random off-topic comments to keep the flow of the conversation focused.

8. Add media: Adding images, video, thumbs, and surveys into topic are a great way to mix it up and keep it interesting for the participant.

9. Ask for feedback: How are we doing? What do you like about these topics? What do you enjoy most about this event? What have you learned?

10. Announce new topics within topics: When a new topic opens, the moderator
should also announce it in the previous Topic.

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QuickCommunities Pre-Launch Engagement Part 2: First Topics

There are many ways you can engage members from the get-go, and part of that is in your setup. By reading Parts 1, 2, and 3, you’ll have set up your QuickCommunity to maximize your engagement potential.

You can read this post or watch the video below:

When a participant first enters a live event, it’s an entirely new concept to them. This is where you come in and make it feel like home. When on the Create page of the Build portion of your QuickCommunity, you are asked to set up the first topic a participant will see when they enter the event. This is an opportunity to give them some direction and set the tone with your words.

Use the first topic to welcome, orient, and excite the participant. Once the event is officially launched, you’ll have access to create unlimited topics within your community, so don’t worry about getting to your main questions just yet. Create a story line with your topics. Below are some suggested first topics:

Once you have launched the event, we suggest you go into this topic and explain to the participants how the event will proceed. Be as specific as possible so that respondents know what to expect. It is recommended that you close the topic so that respondents can always “view” and reference this first topic anytime they’d like.

Need help with the wording? Our client services team can help you set up a welcome post that lets the participants know exactly how much they are earning, which days (if any) that they particularly need to be in the community, or how often they need to come back to participate.

The second example for the first topic is using this as an orientation topic. You can call this “introductions”.

This introduction is an ice-breaker, to get the participants to feel comfortable to respond, get a feel for the room, and also get to know the other participants. As a moderator, you should also respond to this question so that participants become familiar with you

Stick to these types of introductory topics, and your participants will be very happy and willing to engage.

Continue on in the series to Part 3 where you can further orient participants through Screener questions.

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QuickCommunities Pre-Launch Engagement Part 1: Setup Optimization

There are many ways you can engage members from the get-go, and part of that is in your setup. By reading Parts 1, 2, and 3 you’ll have set up your QuickCommunity to maximize your engagement potential.

You can read the post below, or watch this video:

When on the Invite page of the Build portion of your QuickCommunity, you can create an atmosphere that is inviting, colorful, and enticing with customization elements. When a participant first enters a live event, it’s an entirely new concept to them. This is where you come in and make it feel like home.

The Community Name and Description set the tone of the community, it serves as a constant and is what participants will look for each day they enter. Give the brand name, a unique name or something fun and memorable that has to do with the topic of your event.

The Header / Logo / and Theme color give the Event a more homey feel. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Upload a banner and logo that are relevant to your topic. For this example, we uploaded an avocado banner and an avocado logo. This further provides context for the participants.

You wouldn’t go to a garden party in a red vampire room. Color is a powerful engagement tool that excites the participants, reveals identity and sets the tone of the event. If you are a brand, we recommend you stay consistent with your brand colors by adding the hex code.

Scroll down and you’ll see that you can add a Panelist sentiment. We recommend that you turn these on. Participants enjoy using these “sentiment” smile icons to add character to their answers (bonus you get this in your data).

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Create Digital Communities in Minutes with Toluna QuickCommunities

Create Branded Digital Communities in Minutes

Toluna QuickCommunities™ is a revolutionary DIY platform enabling you to create a highly-engaging, branded, web-based community in just minutes, then recruit your precisely targeted audience from the global Toluna community (or from any survey) — all in real-time. Collect rich, real-time, cost-effective qualitative and quantitative insight on an ongoing basis with just the click of a button, by sending surveys, presenting topics for discussion, and viewing results — all within a single platform.

1. Build a web-based community portal with Toluna’s intuitive wizard that provides an array of customization options to ensure compliance with a company’s brand guidelines.

2. Target and Launch by inviting precisely targeted community members directly from Toluna’s global consumer panel, selecting from more than 200 demographic and behavioral profiles – and then launch the community and invite members with a single click.

3. Engage directly with community members in real-time with discussion topics, integrated surveys and managed incentive programs to garner the insights you need.

Reporting for QuickCommunities is available in real-time through Toluna’s sophisticated data visualization and analytics tool, TolunaAnalyticsTM.

Where can I access this?

From the QuickSurveys homepage, click on Create Community

Fill out the information on the Create Your Community page.

Click Done and move onto the Invite page where you can select your Target audience. Follow this blog on how to select your audience.

Create your Screening Questions. Consult our Best Practices Guide for more info. These are not required for your community but are very helpful for orienting participants.

Click Checkout when screener questions are complete.

Preview your community via the Checkout Page and make Edits if you need to. From this screen you can also change the start/end dates as well as times.

Once done, click Approve & Launch!

Here’s a video showing you exactly how to do this as well:

Stay tuned for future tips and tricks to make the most out of your QuickCommunity. For now, request the Best Practices Guide from a sales representative or email our support.

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