How to Build an Active Community & Enhance UX: a Case Study from Afterglow & Ansvery
Afterglow is a unique project that is all about wellness, emotional comfort, and mental health. The creators describe it as “a warm and welcoming place where you can connect with like-minded people.” The project allows its users to seek help from others, share their experiences, discuss personal issues in order to relieve stress, get support, and turn to positive thinking.
The app presents an alternative to conventional and popular social networks. It targets all ages and social groups and creates a safe space where you will not be disturbed by trolls, where there is no place for hate speech or prejudice.
However, people will be people, and some may try to enter the haven with ill intent and spoil it for everybody else.
When Afterglow contacted Ansvery, user acquisition on social groups was fully organic, however, the organic social activity was low. So our task was to aid with igniting engagement in the community and to make sure that any subsequent activity did not go against the principles of the safe space and did not harm the users.
"I’m gonna talk tonight
until the morning light
about how you’ve changed my life"
By the time we started working together, Afterglow had already established its presence on several community platforms. Our moderators needed to work out communication strategy, find the tone of voice fitting the brand image, look after the content, and gently nudge users towards more activity in community groups.
We came together with the developers and created a social media content plan. Then we began posting content and starting discussion topics to get a reaction from the users. This reaction (or any other user activity) was supported by Ansvery moderators skilled at keeping the dialogue going.
Each new user received special attention and got a personal welcome. On the other hand, they got under careful observation in case they showed signs of any unwanted behavior (trolling, hate speech, etc.).
The social media engagement posts that Ansvery moderators created soon led to organic activity. Now our team mostly needs to protect and assist the discussion that the users themselves keep up.
The group also started to get positive word-of-mouth on its own. Some users joined in on recommendations from their friends and only then found out that there is also a friendly app where they can find even more positive emotions.
As a result:
The number of users grew from 500 to 5190.
Current organic activity: ~200 user posts a month. They vary from greetings to full-text deliberation + active commenting and discussions.
The group is not just a logical extension of the project but also a gateway into the app.
We started managing the app’s server space by shaping a design plan, creating separate channels, and applying all the necessary settings.
The objective was the same as on Facebook: spark communication and let it flourish in a safe environment.
Ansvery team started and supported conversations in public channels making people feel welcome and heard. As a result, users often saw the Discord moderators as a logical extension of the app’s function – someone you can address in a tricky situation. The moderators responded to the users who approached them in private messages and maintained the trust that the app created.
At the same time, we moderate out all that is inappropriate, improper, and/or illegal and which could poison the user experience.
Later on, when user activity increased and the relationships between the users and the brand became stronger, we created a special moderation guide for community members. This allowed the most invested users to play a more significant role and become additional guardians of the community. Which, coincidentally, turned them into even more loyal app advocates and increased user activity further.
As a result:
The number of Discord community members increased from 30 to >1700.
About 90% of all content is user-generated and user-initiated.
The platform provides a base for loyal supporters and advocates.
Following social media strategy and the content plan provided by Afterglow SMM Manager, Ansvery moderators create various posts for the account. The team is also responsible for communication with the users and general moderation of a fast-growing community.
As a result:
The Instagram following has grown from 20 to over 2500 users in several months.
At the same time, the spirit of the community remained unchanged and in sync with the general concept of the app.
Read more: How to Boost User Loyalty: a Case Study From Kefir and Ansvery Support Team
Helping improve user experience
"Cause it’s gettin’ better
Warm and wilder
Gettin’ better every day, better every day"
Ansvery moderators are always proactively looking for ways to help Afterglow make the app even better, so they are on the lookout for any trouble alert. Whenever users point out a problem with the app, the task is to collect as much info about the issue from them as possible. The moderators' experience tells them what questions to ask to assess the situation correctly. The next step is to organize this data into a full and clear picture of the problem to make it easier for the dev team to get to the bottom of things. When the moderators get the description of the fixes from the developers, they put it into the community posts. They phrase it in such a way so that the users could appreciate all the work that the project creators are undertaking for them.
As a result:
A significant number of bugs have been fixed, which has made the app more user-friendly and improved the user experience.
The speed with which the dev team gets the feedback and deals with problems strengthens the atmosphere of safety and care created in the app and the community.
Finding out that the customer wants
"I just know I wanna know all about you
Cause I’m all about you"
Maintaining technical stability is one part of delivering an ace experience. To be truly successful and attractive to the customers, an app has to evolve and improve.
Since the whole idea of the app revolves around making users as comfortable as possible, it is vital to know what users think about the project and what changes they would like to see.
To achieve this, Ansvery moderators regularly collect user feedback making this process smooth and reliable. They register all thoughts and suggestions that users offer, structure them, and turn them into a cohesive narrative so that the dev team can get the most value out of this data. When the developers’ response is ready, the moderators pass it on to each user, taking into account the details and the context of their original message.
When the dev team feels they need more feedback than their users volunteer, they ask moderators to conduct special interviews with the most active community participants.
Sometimes the Afterglow team wishes to know users’ views on a specific topic (for example, which soothing location they would like to see on their main app screen). In such cases, the survey may consist of a single question but will target a wider audience.
These interviews are always conducted with great tact and skill, and in the end, the targeted users always feel that the app creators appreciate their opinion and care for their needs.
Ansvery moderators will also study the audience itself – its composition and particular characteristics. This allows the Afterglow team to be more certain about which way to take the app and possibly even adjust the whole concept. Later, when the changes are introduced, the moderators will study the audience’s reaction, see if the hypothesis has worked, and then present their conclusion to the Afterglow team, thus closing the feedback loop.
As a result:
Due to a better understanding of the audience, the app’s concept shifted and became more inclusive.
Changes to the app are always aligned with the wishes of the audience.
A large number of user suggestions get into the app very quickly, which makes the project more appealing for users and improves retention.
Read more: How to improve app rating: success story by Ansvery and SketchAR
Trying out something new
"We’re all part of a masterplan"
The Afterglow team always tries to find fresh ways to bring users together and give them more value.
Recently, two new features appeared in the project. Now the users can: 1) leave video messages for other community members, and 2) take part in topical marathons.
Both activities require moderation to fit the existing conceptual framework of the app. At the same time, involvement in these new activities connects Ansvery moderators with more departments and specialists from Afterglow. This, in turn, makes the moderation team more immersed in the process, which leads to a better understanding of the creators’ objectives and fulfilling their duties even better.
As a result:
Complex new features are introduced into the app smoothly and without disturbing the established trust between the users and the app creators.
The moderation team is more aligned with the overall vision of the app and its further development, which allows them to steer the community gently in the chosen direction.
"Stand by me
The way it’s gonna be"
All in all, this case is a powerful example of how close collaboration between a client and a vendor results in effective and creative ways of improving both the project and the user experience.
By instigating and supporting user activity, the moderation team helped expand the app’s conceptual space onto social networks. Since content management and moderation principles promote the same values as the app itself, users view Afterglow's social space as part of the product under the umbrella of the same atmosphere of mutual help, safety, and care.
On the other hand, by carefully monitoring and processing user activity, the moderation team helped create a connection between the developers and the users. So, the Afterglow team knows how to make their community members happy, and the community members know that the dev team values their opinion and understands their needs.
The attractive idea carried across all the platforms accompanied by a never-ending dialogue inspires loyalty and turns users into long-term customers and app advocates.
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