Now more than ever, association professionals must continuously define ways to deliver a valuable experience for members. Nurturing relationships, facilitating connections, sharing knowledge and ideas – all of these things are great in theory, but how do you really make them work?
Here are a few strategies:
- Keep it simple and easy to use – don’t over-complicate things
- Keep valuable content and learning experiences front-and-center
- Be engaged. Lead conversations, hold online events, package content and tools that really matter.
- Delegate a few very engaged, early-adopters to lead conversations and to have input in the direction of the online community
- Form online working groups to solve problems
For years, I have been creating a members-only social networks (formerly known as online communities). The good news is that not only have the tools improved significantly, they are much more attainable — even for organizations with the smallest of budgets.
My new favorite is Ning.com. Ning, a social networking platform that lets you build your own network in as little as 20 minutes. It’s a great environment for meeting people, collaborating and learning.
Ning’s popularity is growing rapidly – and was recently featured on cnet for reaching 1 million social networks.
Some examples of associations using Ning for member social networks:
eMarketing Association network group
National Association of Female Professionals
Association for Information and Image Management
The bottom line if you are thinking of starting a social network for your organization – don’t overcomplicate things. Give Ning.com a try.