The topic of online social communities typically spurs a lot of discussion. First, people often wonder how they’re different than traditional social media sites. But once that’s cleared up, the big question is “Does my association really need one?”
Well, in all honesty, it depends on the association. But if your association can come up with a creative way to leverage an online social community (which most organizations can - it just requires a little strategy), then you absolutely should. It’s added member value, and that directly impacts engagement and retention.
What do we mean by “a creative way to leverage an online social community?” Well, here’s an example. Let’s say your association offers a certification or accreditation of some sort. Well an online study group, so to speak, would be a great asset to your members. You could have a private, online channel dedicated to bringing those candidates together. They could share study notes/resources, ask each other questions, plan in-person study sessions/meetings, etc. And since these candidates are likely VERY invested in passing the exam (it’s time consuming, after all!), they’ll find that channel invaluable.
Here’s another example: aspiring leaders. We all want to grow in our profession, right? Well your members are no different. Why not give them an outlet to help them become industry leaders? This channel may include job opportunities (of the senior level), advice from current leaders/mentors, networking opportunities, etc. Again, this is just an added benefit to your members, and if they want to get ahead, they’ll take advantage of this channel.
Other online social community ideas:
- A channel for your upcoming meeting or event
- A channel for first-timers at your upcoming meeting or event
- A channel for industry trends
- A channel for young professionals
The possibilities here are endless, but again, all channels should have one thing in common - and that’s to provide your members with added value.
Want to learn more about online social communities - why you should have them, how to get them up and running, and how to get your members to actually use them? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Social Communities below! (Bonus: It’s free!)