Research

Creating buzz to boost engagement: A Q&A with BuzzFeed’s Ashmeed Ali on getting more out of Member Hubs

Creating buzz to boost engagement: A Q&A with BuzzFeed’s Ashmeed Ali on getting more out of Member Hubs

Pioneers of audience engagement, BuzzFeed is a business that never waits for change: they create it. For BuzzFeed, finding emotional connections to the content they create and share is fundamental to their success. Jonah Peretti, the founder of BuzzFeed, has tasked the company to not only drive human connection, but find ways to monetize the work they do as well.

It’s that kind of thinking that inspired BuzzFeed to activate their insight community to leverage the power of Member Hubs to drive audience engagement. Member Hubs are the focal point of the insight community experience, a place where BuzzFeed can centralize and share the results of ongoing customer feedback and insight with members of their insight community, the BuzzKeepers.

Ashmeed Ali spent a few minutes with our team to discuss their recent adoption of Member Hubs.

What do you like best about your new Member Hub? 

I love the modern feel and UX. And it’s great that our employees can post directly. Seeing different people posting gives the community a more human feel and helps to boost engagement.

You’ve found some innovative ways to increase engagement with the BuzzFeed audience even more  with  the new Member Hub for  your insight community.  Can you tell us a bit about that? 

BuzzFeed is all about merging technology with human creativity, qualities and identities. The mix of both drives what we do. Our audience has high expectations from BuzzFeed in terms of content, interaction and our brand values, so we needed a platform that would develop a human relationship with members while gathering insight quickly. Our insight community helps us stay on top of content trends, get feedback on our content strategy, support our advertising partners, and innovate for the future. And our Member Hub is how we engage and share back with members of our insight community.

How long did it take you to set up your Hub? 

It took about half a day to find the content I wanted, experiment with the platform, and add the content. Having access to the BuzzFeed content engine was obviously helpful, but I think anyone could do it quickly if they follow the tips I suggest.

How often do you post to the Hub? 

I plan to post a couple of times each week in order to keep the content fresh. I draft a few posts at a time and use the scheduling feature to space them out so I can get a bunch done all at once.  Posting something new is especially important before you launch a new activity, so that when people complete the activity they’ll see the new content in the Hub at the end.

What are your tips  for  fast and easy ways to add content to the Hub?   

  • Give members an insider view. Make members of the community feel they are a part of your company ecosystem by exposing them to the inner workings. This doesn’t have to be complicated. We do things like share our team’s Halloween photos so members can see that we’re real humans too. We’ve had members say ”It’s as if I’m in a secret club.” Getting an inside look into what BuzzFeed is doing will keep them excited about being part of BuzzKeepers.

 

  • Find out what already works best. Build bridges with people in your company who know what engages your audience, like marketing and social teams. They’re already generating content so ask them which topics and formats are most engaging.

 

  • Look at internal analytics and hot memes to leverage social currency. I looked at what topics drive the most discussion across BuzzFeed. Yanny vs Laurel was happening at the same time we launched the Hub so we included that for members to debate.

 

  • Borrow content that already exists. Look into whatever your company is doing to build community already. Company newsletters, blog posts, social channels, and PR roundups – like the weekly “In the Press” emails we have – are great sources for repurposing content. You can also embed Twitter (and other) feeds into the Hub.

 

  • Share member-generated content. We hosted some community members at our office and we shared photos of people cooking with the new Tasty cookware line.

 

  • Be lighthearted and don’t take yourself too seriously. We were having some technical difficulties across BuzzFeed so we posted about it in the Hub with a funny GIF to lighten the mood and share how we were addressing the problem.

What is your experience with sending newsletters from the Hub compared to the old way of sending from the  Sparq  platform?

We used to send out newsletters from the community quarterly. It was time-consuming and challenging to make them look nice. With the Hub newsletters, we plan to send monthly because the easy drag and drop process of building newsletters from existing posts will only take about an hour to do. Our first newsletter really drove traffic to the Hub, it had a 52% open rate.

What are your expectations  for  the future impact your Hub will have on your work and your community?

I’m expecting that response rates will increase even more than they already have and people will stay in the community longer. Getting higher response rates gives us more confidence in the results, and means I can focus my energy on getting insight out to the business rather than on how to recruit new people into the community all of the time.

Ash, thank you for sharing your experience with us and we wish you all the best with your insight community and Member Hub.

 

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