One of the best things you can do to increase traction and trust with your members is to create a powerful user community, which helps maximize the value members get from your association.
Growing a thriving, successful member association relies on one thing — how engaged your members are. Here’s how the right community brings the values of your association to life.

Creating connections between members

Everyone wants to find their tribe — others who think, feel, and act in a similar way. It's an instinct as old as humanity that today is met through the most modern of technologies, and right within your AMS too, helping your members create deep connections with one another.
The more niche your association is, the more profound those connections will be. Users don’t come to your association just for your beautiful website, helpful guides, or special offers — they come for the people. They want to feel a sense of belonging and understanding, and the right community provides that.

Encouraging collaboration and discussions

Just as a member’s one-to-one connections with others has a profound impact, the one-to-many connections are also really important. Online member communities can have sub-niches and groups dedicated to particular topics. This helps to drive discussion and makes your community an ideal place for collaboration.
For example, you might have a question and answer section for common topics, or an area where people can share their stories and experiences. Other parts of your community could be dedicated to support and issues, or organize groups of members toward a common goal. As an association leader,  you will create the online spaces for these discussions to grow, but it will be your members who bring them to life.

Sharing thoughts, ideas, and resources

The other way an online member community can help your association is through letting members share their ideas and point others to good resources and other information. This gives your association an idea on what your members want and also means they are creating user-generated content. You can then develop useful resources and promote various discussions to increase engagement further.

How the right association membership platform adds value and creates trust

Software is vital for bringing an online member community to life. Your association membership software must be simple to navigate and easy to use. It should give your administrators and members a seamless user experience. It also needs to be scalable and able to grow as your members do. Ideally, it integrates with the rest of your association membership organization, providing one place to manage all your interactions, messaging, resources, branding, and analytics.

8 ways to create and manage an engaged Online member community

If you want to get the perfect online member community in place, here’s what you need to do.
  1. Identify the key discussion areas your members are going to find useful — look at the various enquiries you get from members and ask them about the discussion groups they would like to see.
  2. Create sub-niche discussion areas based on member demand — if you notice topics in a group that might be better elsewhere, create forums to address that.
  3. Get forum policies in place — enforcing a set of rules ensures the content meant for members remains authentic.
  4. Assign community moderators — you can appoint engaged community members or staff members as moderators. They will help keep discussions on track and guide people to the community policy.
  5. Keep members updated — use your platform to notify members about new discussions and updates. Group-wide messaging can also be really useful for broadcasting important information.
  6. Monitor the community for ideas — review what’s discussed regularly so you can create resources and promote discussions that help engage your members.
  7. Create advocates for your association — if you find really engaged members, talk with them separately. It’s likely they can become advocates for your organization, introducing it to new people and encouraging discussions in your communities.
  8. Provide support across multiple devices — the way we create and consume content is changing. Make sure your members can interact across computers, smartphones, tablets, and more.

Harness the Power of Your Online Member Community

Remember that communities grow in influence as more engaged members join them. The value of a community can expand to beyond what you imagined was possible. As people join, its power will increase exponentially, expanding your reach, branding, and accessibility.
Start with an integrated association membership platform that gives you all the resources you need through one centralized platform, build amazing discussion groups, encourage trust with your members, nurture connections, and you’ll create something truly wonderful.