Your online community is the key to boosting member engagement

Is your association looking to refocus and refine your member engagement strategy? Deepen the connection between your members and organization by investing in your online member community. An online community can help you create personalized and exciting member experiences, boosting engagement and loyalty.  

Online member communities should be a vital part of your member engagement strategy. Are you ready to learn how to use your online community for increased member engagement? Read our blog for helpful tips!

Your members want to connect! Discover how to leverage your online member community. Read our free infographic: 5 steps to build an online community. Download now.

Why should you build an online community to enhance member engagement?

The 2023 Community Brands Association Trends Study found that an online community can drive member engagement and loyalty. Here’s how:   

  • 51% of members rely on their professional organization the most for networking, collaboration, sharing ideas, and participating in a professional community.
  • Nearly half of the association members surveyed have used their organization’s online community. Those who have used it report higher loyalty metrics. They also report a strong sense of community (52%) versus those who don’t (20%).
  • From the member perspective, email and online community are the top ways members connect with their organization and their preferred engagement channels.
  • 52% of association professionals say they engage with members on their online community.

5 ways to use your online community for member engagement

Now that you understand why investing in your online community is so important to your member engagement strategy, it’s time to get to work. Follow these tips to begin leveraging your online member community and maximize member engagement:  

1. Be intentional about building community. Boost member engagement at your association by creating a welcoming and inclusive online community. How? Create community guidelines to set the tone for community interactions and ensure members feel protected in your virtual community.

Elect moderators to initiate conversations and keep them flowing. Moderators can also ensure that members are using the online community appropriately and following your community guidelines. Try selecting member ambassadors to work in your online community. Member ambassadors can foster discussions and oversee specific subgroups to ensure all members feel welcome.

2. Manage groups. Enhance member engagement by creating subgroups for your members to network, share articles, or discuss professional updates. Consider offering specific subgroups, segmenting members based on age, educational background, profession, or special interests.

Try creating special groups for member volunteers and ambassadors so they can connect and share their experiences boosting engagement in your programs. Build private sub-groups for your board and committees to share meeting notes and updates.

3. Become an industry leader. According to Community Brands research, 52% of members rank industry-specific information as a top priority. 

Lead the pack in your association’s online community by offering the latest industry news and information so members can discuss research, thought leadership content, and the latest resources. Offering industry insights will prompt conversation, encourage members to connect, and engage with your association.

4. Focus on learning and career advancement resources. The latest Community Brands research discovered that members value professional development and career advancement opportunities. 51% of members rank training and certifications or credentials as a top benefit. Another 48% rank help with career advancement as a top membership benefit.  
In your online community, try posting the latest learning and career resources to offer helpful advice and encourage your members to engage in your virtual community. Consider including job seeker insights, interview tips, and job search ideas in a special subgroup. You can also post information about your newest certification program and advertise continuing education courses, so your members know about your upcoming educational offerings. 

5. Provide news. Community Brands research found that 51% of members prioritize information about the latest news, regulations, trends, and other issues affecting their industry or profession.  
Make it easy for your members to stay on top of what’s happening in their industry. When you post news about your local community, industry-related articles, and insights into members’ professions, your association will offer a clear membership benefit. Look for association management software (AMS) with a built-in online community that offers personalized news and resources to enhance the member experience and drive engagement.

Learn more about improving member engagement with your online community

Drive member loyalty and engagement throughout the entire member journey when you leverage innovative Nimble Communities. Watch our on-demand webinar: The Future of Association Engagement: Nimble Communities to learn more.

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