Not long ago, say in the last two decades or thereabouts, organizations around the world relied solely on mainstream media such as TV and newspapers to publicize their existence. However, we’ve seeing things change tremendously in recent times.
Today, organizations have been able to expand and thrive through the building of online communities. When we began helping them do so, some organizations were hesitant. They asked me why they needed an online community when they had an already established Facebook page. Well, I will tell you from my own experience and of those I have tried to help – it is not easy to build a true community in places like Facebook. For that reason, online communities will continue to be relevant in supporting the growth of organizations. Here are 10 top reasons why:
1. Increased Member Loyalty
With an online community, there is an added sense of belonging to your organization. This encourages repeat visits and more interest. An online community gives you the option of working with moderators to create content for your organization. There is more varied and relevant content to catch the attention of your members.
2. Source of New Advocates for your Association
Imagine getting new people who will advance your cause. You definitely can’t resist that. This is what an online community helps you do. Members become advocates for your association. I have seen content creators along with other users share content on different social networks hence promoting my cause. Both you and I agree that a positive comment from these users is more effective than an advertisement on TV. This is the new wave of mass communication – developing ambassadors for your organization.
3. Ability to Manage Data and Member Experience
Conventional ways of building communities for organizations are limited especially in exercising control over content and members. This is one problem I have seen online communities address. The data generated is solely what you publish and no stray information can find its way there.
4. A wide Coverage of your Message
When you publish your content in social networks, you’re just hoping that it will become viral. These methods haven’t worked for me and I don’t think your case will be different. My advice for you, if you want to have a viral effect you need to invite those interested in your cause to a private space - your online community. Classify and recognize them for their interest and see your word reach thousands over time.
5. Guaranteed Feedback
I always want to evaluate the responses I get in order to help me establish the next cause of action. An online community provides you with dedicated members who become part of the cause. Their feelings and opinions will help inform you to make useful adjustments for your association.
6. Reduced Research Costs
To be successful, you don’t necessarily need money. All you need is a well-executed idea and great tools for advocacy. With an online community, you can invite members to take part in both qualitative and quantitative research projects. In the end, you will have a significant savings.
7. Enhanced Insights into Membership
Content in an online community can be shared in different forms including text, photos or video clips. This provides a lot of quality information that enhances understanding of your organizational goals and objectives. Members too can share their experiences using the various methods supported by the platform, which becomes helpful to everyone.
8. 24/7 Support Availability
All through my interactions with people about any cause that I campaign for, delayed responses seem to taint the image of our organization. However with an online community, it’s unlikely that members will experience any of that. Even if you won’t be there during odd hours, other members will help those seeking clarification and finding answers.
9. Continuous Learning
An online community gives you a chance be discovered and provides suggestions from others in a well-structured way. Answers to questions asked on the community provide you with timely content that continues to build your knowledge base. You won’t struggle to deliver the cause for your association since these discussions will act as a guide for your future content.
10. Increased Awareness of Issues
Only the active members in your community will be in a position to raise an issue before anyone else and for that matter, a genuine one. The observations can alert you about emerging problems hence be able to solve them amicably and in good time.
Share your passion and experience for the cause you are pursuing. Learn to use an online community today to enjoy all the benefits!