The value of community often gets overshadowed by competing priorities such as AI, ad spend, and specific targeting. While these are important aspects to staying competitive and connected, you can’t forget that the essence of community remains an indispensable asset.
Community grows your brand, keeps your audience connected, and can lead to more sustainable growth.
Put Your Experts Front and Center
An association is viewed as a hub of knowledge and expertise that provides platforms for members to share insights and best practices. Think about it: brands and companies hold conferences and workshops all the time, and it’s important to make them memorable. Community is the key to making sure that the investment in holding these events is one that actually makes a return. It’s valuable because it keeps the conversations going all year round.
This collective knowledge transfer benefits individual members and contributes to the growth and advancement of the industry as a whole.
In order to ensure your association is at the forefront of expertise and new approaches or methodologies, your community needs to showcase your experts front and center. They are perfectly situated to answer questions and keep the conversations going, and play an important role in ensuring information is current and correct.
Advocacy and Voice Amplification
Associations play a crucial role in advocating for the interests of their members. By pooling resources and uniting their voices, associations have the power to influence policy decisions, regulatory changes, and industry standards.
The best way to give your community a voice is to let them speak. Ask them questions, challenge their thinking, and lend them a helping hand. The collective strength of an association’s community can be formidable, especially when that community not only knows what they’re talking about, but has validated their knowledge via real and tangible data.
This is further emphasized by active communities that amplify the power of the association and make their efforts more effective through advocacy and conversation. A community that actively participates and helps their fellow members can only be created when members are not only gaining from your association, but are able to contribute as well. Highlight your community members, feature your contributors, and put them on a pedestal. Not yourself.
Professional Development and Mentorship
More experienced members can take on mentorship roles within the community, guiding newcomers and helping them navigate the complexities of their profession or industry. Mentorship programs create a sense of belonging and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Mentorship within a community not only benefits those receiving guidance but also reinforces cohesion. It fosters a real sense of responsibility among members to pass on their knowledge and expertise, strengthening their ties to the community and building fruitful professional relationships over time, reducing knowledge gaps down the road. .
“There is No Power for Change Greater Than a Community Discovering What it Cares About.” – Margaret J. Wheatley
A vibrant professional community can be an immeasurable asset for associations, support, knowledge, advocacy, mentorship, and cost-efficient resources crucial for the success and well-being of members. When association communities are active, engaged, and collaborative, associations thrive and increase their industry authority and relevance.
In a world that is more remote, online, and isolated, it’s up to associations to put a stake in the ground and gather people of similar interests, goals, and values. By recognizing and nurturing the bonds that tie their members together, associations will ensure their continued relevance and effectiveness in serving the needs and aspirations of their membership, as well as the industries and professions they serve. The key takeaway? Don’t sleep on your community.