September 29, 2016

The Power of Online Member Communities

The Power of Online Member Communities

Associations have come a long way over the past decade. Technology has continued to advance and social media has become the leading provider of news and entertainment. Association professionals have done their best to upgrade technology in order to appease members. If an association does not keep up with the latest trends, they are jeopardizing member engagement and retention. It may seem like a no-brainer to have a Twitter profile or a Facebook page to show off your association’s latest happenings.

However, is there anything else you can do to interest members? Online communities may seem like a novelty item, but they are a great way of engaging members virtually. These communities are created solely for existing members to connect with their peers. It may take a little convincing, but there are many benefits to creating an online community for your members.

Increase in Member Engagement

Members want to participate in initiatives created solely for them. After all, members join associations to access activities they can’t get anywhere else. Members use online communities as a forefront for communication. Members will be able to use their online communities to find the latest association news, ask questions, seek support, learn about upcoming events, and share best practices. These online communities are a lifeline for members, as they can access an abundance of information, while in control of their own experience.

Fun Fact: Online communities not only create engagement, but could lead to an increase in event registration - and revenue. The influx of information could lead to member interest, which in turn could promote registration.
Creates Community

It’s no secret that people love the idea of connecting with others online - and your members are no exception. It’s not only convenient, but yields a sense of belonging. Online communities let members connect with like-minds and establish relationships. Members can seek support, advice and entertainment through online discussions and forums. Members can share their personal experiences, opinions and even photos with their peers by creating a member profile. It may seem redundant to have another service that allows members to network online, but online communities are not Facebook. These are member-only forums created specifically for like-minds to connect and convene.

Empower Members

Members want to be in control of their membership experience. They don’t want to sit around and wait to receive information - they want to obtain it themselves. Online communities allow members to be proactive and find information to questions, seek advice and share best practices. Gone are the days of waiting for the monthly newsletter to get answers and information, members can access this information by loggin into their community.

Increase Member Retention

Online member communities are an additional perk for members. Members have a way to connect with their peers and develop relationships within the comfort of their own homes. These communities let members share their ideas, aspirations and concerns. Online communities can become the voice of a member who is wanting to be heard. They have the chance to feel a part of their association, as they should. Without online communities, it may be difficult for members to express their concerns, and they may become unengaged. By offering this extra incentive, members may be more inclined to renew their memberships.

You may know everything you need to about social media, but do you know enough about member communities? These member-only forums allow members to express themselves, while creating new relationships.

Want to learn more about giving your members power?