There are both success and failure stories from membership organizations that have launched online communities over the past several years. If you’re still trying to figure out this puzzle for your organization and are concerned about how to do so, here are two critical items to keep in mind: community manager and content, because Community Manager + Curated Content = Engagement
Community manager: In the past, many organizations implemented a “If you build it, they will come” model and left their online strategy unattended and without a clear plan. This is a recipe for failure in terms of engagement. Launching an online community without a Community Manager is equivalent to scheduling your annual conference, but thinking you can pull it off without an Event Manager(s). You’d be crazy to think something like that, right?! The same is true for your online community.
If you want to get your community management game up to speed fast, check out the 7th annual Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD) event on January 23rd. This full day of programming and events will give you a great chance to learn about the latest trends and best practices shared by experts from across the world. There is no better resource than #CMAD, and the best part is that it’s mostly virtual so you can attend right from your office, or couch. Breezio is sponsoring the first panel discussion of the day - “Community Ninjutsu: The art and strategy behind online engagement” - featuring experts in online community strategy so you won’t want to miss it.
Content: Today most online communities are still built around segmented discussion boards on platforms that were first architected years ago. Millennials now make up 50+% of our workforce. They are the most in-demand new member recruitment category and they come with high digital expectations. This demographic of digital natives grew up on platforms that had an open model, were accessible anywhere via smartphone, and through which they could share content and engage peers with ease.
John Mancini (@jmancini77), CEO of AIIM, shared an article on LinkedIn late last year - Why do associations seem to be losing their community mojo that embodies a lot of the same principles and online engagement philosophies that we stand for at Breezio (@brzio) as well. We embrace the belief that "The fundamental building block (of engagement) is curated content, not just discussions." This is actually one of the core principles Breezio was built on!
Member curated content definitely gives you tremendous value. Launch and lead your community as a place where members can share thought leadership in order to enhance the value of the whole community and create a marketplace for knowledge innovation. More members sharing and curating means you become the convener for the best thought leaders and access to knowledge in your field.
This is the online community of the future - one that moves well beyond a group of discussion forums and becomes a multi-dimensional digital marketplace with deep engagement.