Uscreeners are always working to grow their subscribers on their Uscreen platforms, and we always enjoy learning from them. We’ve watched them come up with pretty creative ways to build engagement and grow their video businesses, and the strategy we’re going to discuss with you today is by far one of our favorite.
Because online community challenges are genius-ly simple and effective. They work to both grow and engage your audience while being a low-effort and low-invest project to put together.
Now we won’t take credit for this one. This is definitely the doing of our awesome Uscreen customers, we’re just spreading the wisdom.
In this post, we’ll show you how to engage and grow your audience with community challenges for your video business, including best practices for best results.
What Do You Mean by Community Challenges?
Every so often, the kickboxing gym I attend holds studio challenges. Sometimes, they’re competitive with other members (who can do the most crunch-punches?), and sometimes they just push you to see what you can do (do 100 crunch-punches and 100 leg lifts). If you participate, they track your progress on the floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and it gives you a feeling of belonging and accomplishment.
Online video businesses can use this same strategy effectively, too. Wanderlust–a VOD business teaching yoga online— has utilized community challenges to incredible effect, both in terms of audience growth and audience engagement. They held a 10-day yoga challenge which was free access, with the goal being to practice flow yoga daily and complete each routine. They have a private Facebook group available to discuss the challenges and foster community growth.
If you only want to hold paid challenges, don’t fear; this also worked well for Wanderlust in the past, even when free access wasn’t granted to non-subscribers.
Your community challenges can be anything, but they should be something your audience can invest in and that’s accessible. Cooking video subscriptions could encourage users to try a recipe from a different cuisine every week for a month, encouraging photo evidence on social media. A site that teaches music students how to play instruments could have challenges based on learning new pieces or mastering technical challenges. The sky truly is the limit.
How Online Community Challenges Grow Your Audience
Community challenges work in several ways.
First and foremost, they engage your audience and can attract new clients. Subscribers may share their progress not only within your community, but on their own social media, giving you free promotion and a huge store of UGC. This is most likely if you encourage it.
It also fosters a strong community environment, which can actually establish relationships between you and your audience, and amongst your audience members, too. This makes your subscription that much more valuable, keeping subscribers around longer.
The video community challenges even keep people coming back to your site, getting in the habit of checking in regularly, if not daily. You want to be a regular part of your subscribers’ routine, as it reduces churn and keeps your subscriber list high.
If you’re using a paid community challenge, this could actually entice people to sign up as a regular subscriber or purchase the challenge. It’s a good way to show people what you can offer and get them to pull the trigger, especially if the challenge only lasts for a relatively short period of time and isn’t a permanent offer. And, if the challenge is free to access, it works similarly, functioning as the world’s best and most dynamic lead magnet.
There’s a lot of different ways community challenges grow your audience, making them an excellent investment.
Best Practices to Increase Engagement with Challenges
Audience growth will often be directly tied to community engagement, so for best results all around, make sure that you follow these best practices to get the most out of your online challenges:
- Remind people to follow you on social media so they can get updates. Whether this is inviting them to a closed group or just asking them to follow you on Instagram or Facebook, this can help you connect with your audience on more social media platforms and drive up both engagement and followers at once. Reminding users that you may share exclusive information or updates about the challenge can be particularly effective.
- Encourage participants to share their own progress. Whether this is within the private Facebook group or on Instagram with a designated hashtag, you absolutely want users to be sharing their experience and their progress with their challenge. Not only will this keep them somewhat accountable (and thus keeping them engaged), it can earn you powerful user-generated content that you can use to appeal to other potential subscribers, too.
- Make the challenges accessible and doable. This will increase the number of participants significantly. It’s why you’d want to ask users to cook three meals a week for several weeks in our hypothetical challenge mentioned above instead of asking them to cook 10 meals in a single week. That’s too much of a time commitment and a lot of food would go to waste, so you wouldn’t get anywhere close to the kind of engagement you need.
The challenge goals should be accessible to your user-base, because if it’s too stressful or seems too difficult to attain, you won’t get enough participation.
- Choose challenges that you know will be popular. If you set a goal that a lot of people already want to reach on their own, you’ll see a lot more subscribers engaging in the challenge. Maybe they want to learn a new popular yoga move, or learn a new song on their clarinet. Imagine if you had built-in lessons and a motivating community to help you accomplish a goal you’re trying to reach; wouldn’t you jump at the chance?
- Choose a realistic timeline. You need to make your challenge long enough that people have time to participate, but not so long they feel like they have forever. If you feel like you have an eternity, after all, other priorities will take center stage, and they’ll never even get to the challenge.
Community challenges for online video businesses are a great way to build your audience and increase engagement simultaneously. They allow you to build a solid, engaged community, encourage an enormous amount of user-generated content, and demonstrate the value of your subscription. Who, after all, doesn’t love being able to recognize that they’ve accomplished something? Those kinds of milestones are important and can keep subscribers around.
Ready to get started hosting your online community challenges? See how our online community platform features can help, with strong hosting that supports numerous large video files for large viewer counts.