As an association professional, you may understand the value of engaging members through social media. But what about through social communities? Are those even valuable? And how are they any different from traditional social media sites?
Well for starters, it’s important to note that social communities do not try to compete with traditional social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Instead, they typically offer a members-only forum for discussions, pictures, and sharing.
“Sounds a lot like Facebook to me,” you might be thinking. Well, consider it like this. Traditional social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are more public-facing platforms. They’re designed to help you showcase your organization’s value and attract new members. Social communities, on the other hand, are designed for your members’ eyes only. They’re meant to engage your existing members and serve as a really fun perk to your organization’s membership.
Best of all, social communities are designed to help increase online member engagement. In fact, they have several unique features that contribute to just that. Some of the most common components of social communities include:
- Member profiles - Just like traditional social media sites, social communities allow members to create personalized profiles with pictures and bios.
- Messages capabilities - In the spirit of networking, social communities typically allow for one-on-one messaging between members.
- Online forums - Think of online forums as a members-only discussion page. Again, these allow for members to easily communicate and share information with each other.
- User-created circles - Circles are the shining star of social communities. They allow for members to quickly and easily share pictures and information related to a particular topic.
Still not convinced your organization needs a social community? Well, consider this: According to Leader Networks, members who engage with their association via a private, members-only community are more likely to renew. That alone is reason enough to give social communities a shot.
If you're interested in trying out social communities or have a social community already but need help getting it up and running, check out our Ultimate Guide to Social Communities below!