In our previous blog "Why Online Communities are Necessary in 2023 and Beyond", we discussed why online communities are key to getting your members engaged and connected with each other virtually, but what other types of systems or channels can you use to keep members connected with your association from anywhere?
Virtual Event Platforms
These systems proved to be a great substitute for in-person events when things shut down, but there are so many other ways you can use Virtual Event Platforms to your advantage! First, using this tool to be a compliment to your larger in-person conferences can open doors for members that may not have the time/desire to attend in person. Outside of your standard events, Virtual Event Platforms are great for hosting webinars and facilitating virtual networking events.
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
These systems are perfect for associations that offer continued learning, certifications, or other types of courses. LMS' allow members to engage with content and learn on their own time, which gives them the freedom to learn and engage when it's convenient for them. LMS' can offer different forms of content as well (recorded webinars, PDFs, podcasts, etc...) which gives your members the freedom to also learn how they want to learn. Giving them this "on-demand" form of learning is a great way to keep them engaged with your organization.
Mobile app companies have become a popular way for associations to engage their younger audiences or audiences that tend to be away from their computers. A lot of the systems above, as well as online communities, offer some form of mobile presence, but the benefit of having a full-engagement mobile app is that you can offer multiple engagement opportunities through one branded app. Giving members a chance to attend virtual events, access the community, consume resources, manage their association-wide profile, pay their dues, and more, can all be done with these types of systems!
There are some other forms of virtual engagement not listed above that may fit what you're trying to do. Email marketing tools can be a great way to reach your members in a place where they will spend a lot of their professional time. Building a presence on social media can be a great way to attract younger audiences. Posting some resources on YouTube or Vimeo can capture non-members' attention, hopefully converting them to members.
Whatever your overall virtual engagement strategy is, 2023 should be seen as another time to build new ways for members to connect or expand on how you are using your current systems.