Encouraging Members to Build the Community They Want to Be a Part of
If you’re charged with engagement at your association, you know how challenging (and impactful) it can be to build a meaningful community. While some people like happy hours, others prefer one-on-one interactions, and still others just want your newsletter. But more and more professionals (especially younger ones) will get the most out of an online Peer Group because that’s how they’re used to connecting.
Lucky for you, a successful Peer Group can boost member engagement and take a lot of work off your plate because:
Members can find their “birds of a feather” with fewer events – Unlike networking events where members rarely get beyond small talk, Peer Groups let members share their personal lives through photos and comments, find others who share those interests and connect on their own time.
You don’t have time for this – If your staff is responsible for most of the posts in your Peer Group, you need an overhaul. In a healthy Peer Group, members are regularly posting, commenting and building connections with each other with just a little encouragement from you.
Context is humanizing – By encouraging your members to take a little “time-off-task” you’ll help them feel more comfortable with each other. You don’t feel very close to someone if you only know where they work, but when you learn they have two dogs and love cooking, they become a real person.
Data is powerful – Not in a creepy way. If your Peer Group platform can identify what interests most of your members share, you can create truly unique events your members are sure to love. For example, host a cocktail hour at the local film festival if you have a bunch of movie buffs or organize a kids’ 5k if you have a lot of runners with kids.
Welcoming new members becomes so much easier – Many associations assign new members a “buddy” to show them around and answer questions. If you can find out a little bit about new members, you can match them up with someone in the community who shares their interests to serve as a buddy within your association.
So, you’re convinced – Peer Groups are awesome! Now, how do you get one off the ground. Check out How to Build a Healthy Association Peer Group.