Engagement within your association's online community ebbs and flows, especially within the early growth stages. This makes your role crucial in actively stoking conversation, and in these times the ratio of staff-to-customer input will be higher than normal.
When your association starts creating content, you should be thinking about how that content can provide valuable info to your members, but also how it can help you get noticed.
One of the main goals of writing content is to generate high Search Engine Optimization or SEO scores, so when people type questions into search engines, your organization is at the top of the list of the answers that pop up. But how do you know what people are searching for? And what’s going to give the biggest bang for your buck?
As hard as your association tries to stay in tune with how your members feel about various touch points, it’s extremely difficult to get an accurate read. For instance, do they think you’re sending too many emails? Is the font color difficult to read? These are the types of things that your members may be thinking, but very rarely does this information make it back into your hands.
One of the main draws of using a COS system such as HubSpot or Hatchbuck is the detailed analytics they provide, which are only useful if you are properly leveraging them. Do you keep track of the data surrounding your mass correspondence to current and potential members? What is your average open rate?
Think back to your high school experience for a moment. How many times did you tell yourself, “I will never use this information again”? Perhaps you were staring out of the window at the time, looking yonder at all the places you’d rather be?
A lot of articles that I’ve written on community management tend to focus more on the early stages of development. That is, they focus on creating engagement with the goal of hitting that critical mass where your users are actively communicating with each other on a daily basis.
The community lifecycle is defined as the four steps that every online community undergoes in its development. This is a concept that was fathomed by Rich Millington, founder of the company FeverBee, and understanding these four stages is extremely useful, as the role of your community manager will greatly vary depending on the lifecycle stage of your community.
The nature of my job has me doing a lot of research on community management for associations. There are several reasons for this: I am a community manager myself, this is a topic I write about often, and quite frankly, it’s something I’m really interested in.