Just because you have an online community and you fill it with information doesn’t mean members will love it. You have to make it appealing and interesting so people will want to spend time in it.
By ASAE’s definition, “an association’s online community is a place where members can meet and share with others who best understand them and their problems—and maybe their sense of humor, too.”
And if we know anything, it’s that there is an association for every community of practice, trade, and occupation.
At community launch, we usually recommend to start off with moderation. We believe having a Community Champion can make it easier to get things moving and de escalate any conflicts. Appoint, volunteer or hire an individual who can keep tabs on the community and also create content when things are quiet.
Having the right person is also a necessity. Not only are you providing resources and information but also connections.
A community champion should be relatable to your members, be empathetic and have the ability to build relationships.
And remember there is no one special recipe to get member engagement. You have to put in the work and get to know your members to figure out what they respond to.
The point is to create a safe space where your members can feel comfortable to ask advice or express their opinions.
An online community can be used for many things: Advocacy, Peer-to-peer advice, Job listings, Industry updates. But being a support network is the best member benefit your association can offer.