How to make the most of community chats

Community chats on Patreon are built to help you get even closer to your fans – and to help your fans get closer to each other – in real time. And whether you’re still considering if chats are right for your community, or you already have active chats underway, this article is full of strategies and best practices to help you form even stronger creator-to-fan and fan-to-fan relationships.

Start Simple.

It’s true that you could start up to ten separate chats that cover different topics or are geared toward different tiers of your membership. But if you’re just getting started, don’t get bogged down in the details. Just set up a single general chat for your community so you can all get accustomed to the new format.

Only creators can initiate a chat – so make sure you start off with a welcome message that’ll help make your members feel at home and excited to jump into this new forum with you. This is your space to enjoy a slightly more personal relationship with your community, so you can kick off conversations by offering a Q+A or AMA to help your members get to know you a little better.

Get to know your members

Chats aren’t just a way for fans to interact more with you – they’re also a great way for you to learn more about your fans. Ask them questions: what they like, what they don’t, recommendations they might have based on other creators they enjoy, or what they’d like to get out of your community.

Topics don’t even have to be about you. Ask if they’ve read or seen anything that inspired them lately, if they’ve heard any good advice that they want to share, if they have any cute pictures of their dogs for the group. The floor is yours… and it’s also theirs!

Encourage fan-to-fan connection

One of the best things about chats compared to posts is that you don’t always have to be the one leading the conversation. Because chats are now available on both web and mobile, fans can access the conversation at any time, which means your chats can stay active and energized even when you’re not around.

To get that ball rolling, try encouraging your members to introduce themselves to each other and share a little bit about themselves, so they can start to connect and engage. You can also encourage fans to control how they show up in the chat by customizing their own member profiles with their name, photo, and bio information.

Keep the conversation going

Your chat will ideally become a self-sustaining space where you can talk to fans and fans can talk to each other, but every once in a while it might need a little push from you to respark the conversation.

One great way to do this is through recurring trends and routines. You could make Wednesday a day where everyone in the chat shares something they’re grateful for, or do a photo share Friday based on a weekly theme.

You can also use chats as an informal channel to share work that isn’t quite as polished or finished as what you share on your main feed. Try giving behind-the-scenes looks and updates, or tease upcoming work to get members talking. You could even show work that’s still in progress to get fan feedback that you can choose to incorporate into the finished work.

Keep your chats safe

In addition to Patreon’s platform-wide Community Guidelines, you also have the power to create additional guidelines specific to your community to help keep you and your fans safe.

You have access to a moderation hub, where you can view messages your fans have flagged as potentially inappropriate, and choose what action to take (if any) in response. From this hub you can also assign fans or teammates as trusted moderators who can help support you in monitoring your chats and enforcing your community norms.

Your moderators will be able to review flagged messages in the moderation hub and make decisions about whether to keep or remove these messages. They’ll also show up with a moderator tag in chat, and have the tag applied to their fan profile.

For more information about Trust & Safety, check out our article on everything you need to know about community chats safety.

Coming soon

We’re hard at work building even more ways for you to connect with your fandom through chats. Keep an eye out for a handful of exciting new chat tools, like the ability to respond to fans natively in chat with a video sticker reply, and even more ways to help you control who has access to your chats, and how they are moderated.

Something we missed?

If you have any additional questions about chats, check out our help center article.

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