5 ways an online community is key to delivering a great member experience

Tirrah Switzer, Senior Product Marketing Manager

December 14, 2020

    Delivering value for your members is what your association is all about. You’re the go-to resource for your industry or profession. You’re the place your members go to stay informed, network, and advance their careers.

    In fact, Community Brands research shows that networking is one of the primary reasons members join an association. It also suggests that staying up to date on industry news, regulations, and trends is one of the most valued benefits across all generations and career stages, making it a top driver of member retention.

    Yet, your association isn’t a physical place for your members. Yes, they come together for your annual conference and other meetings throughout the year (in the case of this year, they likely came together virtually). But how do you keep them involved and deliver member value between those events?

    How can you make sure your members stick around?

    Download our success kit for the top resources you need to boost member retention.

    A recent study on member engagement by Community Brands shows that members place increasing value on having ways to connect and learn year-round. Providing an online community is an ideal way to deliver a great member experience and keep members involved every day. It’s an efficient way for you to deliver member value, and a convenient way for members to stay connected with your organization and other members no matter where they’re located.

    With these ideas in mind, here are five ways an online community can help you deliver a great member experience:

    Provide a one-stop shop for information and answers – An online community gives you a single, convenient place to highlight your association’s value, reach more members, and streamline your member marketing efforts. It’s also a single, convenient place for your members to find information and stay connected with your organization and other members.

    Nimble Communities in Nimble AMS allows you to set up dashboards to gain insights into how members are using your online community. With a quick glance, you can see the most popular groups and discussions, most talked about topics, most active members, and most frequently viewed pages.

    Build connections and networks – An online community gives you the ability to foster connections and networks among your members. For example, you can bring your most engaged members into contact with less engaged members to increase interactions and member loyalty. You can also promote community participation by rewarding the most engaged members with a badge displayed on their profiles.

    Nimble Communities includes one-to-one messaging capabilities, allowing you use secure, private messaging to encourage networking and deepen member relationships with individual members.

    Deliver targeted, valuable content – Community Brands research shows that members value targeted, relevant content. An online community gives you the ability to provide personalized news feeds that serves content based on member interests and activities.

    Using Nimble Communities, you can define audiences for pages in your online community based on membership type, physical location, and so on, and then create customized content on each page.

    Create a direct communications channel – An online community helps you keep members engaged by delivering content directly to them. For example, you can use notification capabilities through your online community to automatically send members a digest of new posts, comments on recent discussions, or suggested new topics to discuss.

    Offer a better onboarding experience – When members first join, it’s critically important to make a good first impression and make them feel welcome right away. Using groups functionality in your online community, you can create a group for new members where new members can ask questions and discuss topics. You can include an association staff member and even a highly engaged veteran member in the group to help answer questions and direct new members to helpful resources.

    These are just a few examples of how an online community can help your organization deliver a great member experience. Especially in today’s environment, an online community is a great tool to help members connect, learn, and get involved in their own ways and on their own schedule.

    And the best part is that it’s not a one-time event – it’s a convenient, effective way for your association to provide member value every single day.

    Take the next step

    Nimble AMS now offers Nimble Communities, which allows you to easily set up and host an online member community. Nimble Communities is built on the Salesforce Community Cloud community platform and provides the capabilities you need to drive continuous member engagement, improve member loyalty, and ultimately grow revenue.

    Discover how Nimble AMS + Nimble Communities work together to give your members the experience they've come to expect.

    Request a demo of Nimble AMS and Nimble Communities today.

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