A community isn’t built, it’s earned. It offers a sense of belonging to your audience, allowing them to feel part of something bigger than themselves. In our previous blog, we discussed what sets your audience and your community apart. The biggest takeaway – your audience consumes your content, but your community engages in it and uses it as a place to build bonds with fellow association professionals.
A community isn’t created overnight, it takes patience and consistency. However, there are six impactful strategies you can utilize to turn your passive audience into an engaging community.
Will your community engage current members or attract future members for your association? You don’t have to choose just one audience for your community, but you do need to decide if you want an exclusive community for current members. You will need to make decisions about how public the content will be and if sensitive information will be gated. Clearly identifying how you will structure your community is imperative.
It’s important to identify what you hope to accomplish by creating an online community for your association. Consider what long-term goals your association has and decipher where to start.
Who your content is targeting will be an essential question to answer when deciding which platform your association should use to build its community. In most cases, this will be a combination of several components, such as:
Like with most things, the effort you put into your community will be what your members get out of it. Assign administrators that are ambassadors for your association and choose individuals that believe in your mission. Assure their beliefs align with the overall goals of your association and that their responses are positive. Administrators need to use the same voice and keep a consistent message when interacting with followers.
Create content that has a consistent message. Ask your community questions that evoke healthy discussions on industry-relevant topics. Think outside of the box and experiment with new content opportunities like live streaming Q&A segments including a panel of experts in your association’s field or hosting virtual meetups to help members connect.
Be responsive and engaging. Don’t forget there is a human behind every profile picture and avatar – and many of them are or could become members of your association. Acknowledge their interaction as a “gift” they have given you and respond to all comments, no matter how insignificant they seem. Engaging with your community builds loyalty, trust, and exposure. Be sincere and authentic in your interactions.
Capture your community’s attention by introducing individuals to thought leaders in your industry. Collaborate with business owners, lawmakers and trailblazers in your field and provide valuable networking opportunities to your followers.
When you can create continuous, engaging interactions with your members, you pave the way for an incredible shift in your association’s reach. Use your newly established community to become an evangelist for your industry, offering a platform for important work to be done.
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