Make your online community friendly to early careerists and keep your organization thriving

Tirrah Switzer, Senior Product Marketing Manager

November 10, 2020

    There’s no doubt that all of your members are valuable. They’re what make your association, well, an association. It’s important to engage with them all to drive member loyalty and keep your organization thriving.

    But, let’s focus just on your younger members for a bit.

    Young professionals in your industry represent the next generation of members for your association. In fact, Community Brands research suggests that most members (76 percent!) 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.

    Association Trends 2020 Research Study

    From Disruption to Opportunity: How a global crisis has shifted member expectations.

    Your online community is already a powerful tool for providing a great member experience. So, a great way to connect with early careerists is to make your online community even friendlier to them. This might sound like a tall order, but it doesn’t have to be.

    Here are some simple, yet effective, approaches to make your online community more attractive to young professionals and get them more involved.

    Include content they care about.

    A recent Community Brands study points to differences in what members value based on career stage. Those early in their careers place training, industry information, raising awareness, networking, and job opportunities as their top five priorities.

    member priorities

    Make sure your online community offers these members access to information that matters most to them, such as details about professional development opportunities your organization provides as well as the latest reports on best practices and key issues affecting the industry.

    Giving members access to valuable content they can’t easily get anywhere else makes them feel part of a group and benefits them professionally for years to come. Plus, housing key content in your online community is an effective way to create conversations around your content, get feedback, and improve member engagement in an organic way.

    TECH TIP: Nimble Communities functionality in Nimble AMS allows you to upload and share all file types – from PDFs and images to video files.

    Create a group for early careerists.

    Create a group for early careerists in which new members can ask questions and discuss topics with each other. Ask an association staff member to participate in the group to help answer questions, direct members to helpful resources, and listen to their comments.

    TECH TIP: Nimble Communities allows you to set up groups in which select members can collaborate, share files, ask questions, and discuss topics.

    Recruit and engage young professionals as community leaders.

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

    • Members who participate more tend to feel more engaged. And, the more engaged they are, the more likely they are to stick around for years to come.
    • People often feel a fast connection with their peers. The more your association’s younger members see members like them participating, the more likely they’ll be to join in.

    A simple thing you can ask them to do is get conversations started by posting in the community several times each week. These posts might include industry news, a call for suggestions about how to address a challenge, and questions to engage members.

    Reward members for their participation.

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

    Take it a step further by sending your top participants a handwritten note or giving them a discount code for an upcoming event.

    TECH TIP: Use badge capabilities in Nimble Communities to provide custom profile badges that reward outstanding members for their participation. You can also display available badges to inspire members to get more involved.

    Get feedback.

    What better way to know how to make the online community experience better for early careerists than by listening to them? You can use the online community itself to get their feedback.

    For example, pay attention to what members are talking about in the online community. Set up online surveys and polls, and then 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 Nimble Communities.

    Nimble Communities provides the capabilities in this article and more to help you make your online community friendly to early careerists (and all members!) and keep your organization thriving.

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