Does Your Association Require a Community Management Strategy?
Community Management has recently become a frequently used term amongst the online community. It often can be linked or mistaken for social media management – however, the two can serve different purposes. Although community management may have an element of marketing, it is mostly a way to engage, acquire and retain members through:
-Social media channels;
-Online community software and chatrooms; and
If you are considering integrating a community management strategy, it is highly recommended to build out your specific objectives first and ensure they align with your overall plan. An active moderator will need to be hired or appointed to monitor the online community, create discussion and share content on an ongoing basis. It is recommended to promote your online community in advance of the launch date and provide a couple informational or recorded “how-to” webinars to ensure that your members are comfortable with the software and to “build hype” around this new member benefit.
Once your community management strategy is in place, it is important to build out KPIs and metrics to evaluate the overall success of the program. This will provide you with a solid framework for the following year as well.
As a number of associations are starting to grow their presence on a global scale, an online solution to engage with members and potential members, is a great alternative to traditional networking and local events. It is also a great way to connect with younger members, whose affinity for technology is shaping the way we communicate and our information sharing. Until recently, traditional methods of professional networking and development have prevailed.
A number of association management software developers have also recognized a need for this informal networking and have integrated online community and blogging software into their platforms. Finding software, such as YourMembership, that offers gamification is a great way to engage with members and can assist with recruiting key advocates for your association.
While there will always be a need for traditional networking and professional development, community management is a complimentary option that allows for real time communication with members. Determining the appropriate community management strategy for your association can be as easy as surveying your current members and looking at your annual strategic plan.
Blog post written by Rachel King, Senior Director, Association Management & Marketing at Managing Matters Inc.