What do you do when you realize user-submissions are getting low, or your community members seem to be slacking in the photo uploading department? What about when the quality of blogs seems to be tanking and decent conversations are nowhere to be found?

You could complain about it, pour over last months stats and simply hope that things will get better, or drown your sorrows in a series of diet cokes or another beverage of your choice while staring at your monitor. Or, you can ramp up and move into overdrive.

As the community manager it is your job to engage users, so engage. Keep in mind that people love to talk about themselves and share their opinions. They also like to tell what they know, so why not ask them to do all three?

I’ll give you the beginning of several questions and you fill in the blanks based on what’s happening in your community, what people are talking about or anything you find interesting.

What’s your favorite ____________?
What do you think of _________?
Have you seen the new movie, _________?
Do you plan to visit __________?
How much money do you spend on _______?

And if it’s photos your after, be specific. The holiday’s are coming so ask for holiday photos.
Draw out the competitive spirit and ask for pictures of holiday decorations. Put on a contest if you want to get things moving quickly and offer a cool prize.

It can be tough when you depend on others to produce content, but if you make it worth their while and make sure they know how much you value the time they take to do it, things begin to look up fast. I’ve already got several ideas in the works and recently put on a contest called “November madness.” Anyone who picks the winners in the federal and state races will win a prize. People love prizes, so give them what they want.
What you’ll soon find is, it will ultimately get you what you want.

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