Attract early careerists with your online member community

All of your association members are valuable. They’re what make your association, well, an association. It’s important to engage with all members to drive loyalty and keep your organization thriving.  

But let’s focus on your younger members for a minute. Young professionals in your industry represent the next generation of association members. Community Brands research suggests that most members (76%) join as a student, new grad, or within the first five years of employment. Continually attracting this group of early careerists and keeping them engaged is vital to your association’s long-term success. 

Leveraging your online community is the key to attracting and retaining young professionals at your organization. Read on to learn how to boost member engagement with your online community.

Do you want to become a trailblazing association? Learn how to use your online community to boost member engagement and attract early careerists. Check out our on-demand webinar: The Future of Association Engagement: Nimble Communities. Watch now.

5 steps to attract and retain early careerists with your online community

The latest Community Brands research discovered 51% of members rely on their professional organization the most for networking, collaboration, sharing ideas, and participating in a professional community. Nearly half of members have used their organization’s online community. Those who have used it report higher loyalty metrics and a strong sense of community versus those who don’t use the online member community.

Additionally, from the member perspective, email and online community are the top ways members engage with their organization and their top preferred engagement channels. Your online community is already a powerful tool for providing a great member experience. So, a smart way to connect with early careerists is to make your online community even friendlier.  

Follow these simple, yet effective, tips to make your online community more attractive to young professionals and get them more involved:  

1. Include relevant content  

Community Brands research highlights the differences in what members value based on career stage. Those early in their careers prioritize training, help with career advancement, job opportunities, code of ethics, and fueling industry growth. 

Make sure your online community offers young professionals access to the information that matters most to them, such as career advancement resources and details about upcoming professional development opportunities. Consider creating a subgroup in your online community where members can post job opportunities and members can request more information.  

When you give members access to prioritized resources and offer exclusive and valuable content, you’ll boost member engagement and retention. Plus, housing key content in your online community is an effective way to create conversations, get feedback, and improve member engagement organically. 

2. Create an early careerists subgroup  

Create a group for early careerists so new members can network, ask questions, and discuss topics with each other. Offering a dedicated space for specific members with similar backgrounds, interests, or professional pursuits will encourage connection and community. Ask an association staff member to participate in the group to help answer questions, direct members to helpful resources, and gather member feedback.

3. Engage young professionals as leaders in your online community

Asking your younger members to become leaders in your online community has a couple of advantages: 

  • Members who participate more tend to feel more engaged. When a member is more engaged, they are more likely to stick around for years to come.
  • Members often develop quick connections with their peers. When younger members see their peers participating, they’ll be more likely to join in. 

Ask your member leaders to start conversations in your online community several times a week. These posts might include industry news, a call for suggestions about how to address a challenge, and questions to engage members and keep a discussion flowing.

4. Reward members for their participation

As early careerists become more active in your online member community, be sure to reward their involvement. For example, display badges that represent activity and participation levels on member profiles. Gamification through badges can go a long way toward encouraging members to return, share, and connect.

Level up your rewards by sending your top participants a handwritten thank you note or giving them a discount code for an upcoming event.

5. Get feedback

The best way to determine how to make the online community experience better for early careerists is to listen to them. Looking for an easy way to gain member feedback? Leverage your online community to get helpful insights.

For example, pay attention to what members are talking about in your online community. Set up online surveys and polls and promote them in posts to the early careerist group. Be sure to have a plan to regularly review feedback and incorporate it into your online community strategy.

Learn more about innovative online community software

With Nimble Communities, your association can attract more early careerists, boost overall member engagement, and keep your organization thriving.

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