How an Association Teamed Up With a Facebook Group

The Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association has announced a collaboration with Independent Mobile Bicycle Professionals, a Facebook group that was initially considering launching a trade association itself.

Private groups on social networks like Facebook often are a great way to get people of similar mindsets in the same place.

But turning that interest into a trade group is a whole different can of beans. While a group built from a social campaign can certainly work—see the fast growth of the group Women of Email, which recently gained nonprofit status—sometimes it might just be easier to work with an existing group.

That appears to be the decision that a Facebook group called  Independent Mobile Bicycle Professionals has made. The private group, which was built around the needs of mobile bicycle repair teams, has agreed to work closely with the existing Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association (PBMA), a group founded two years ago, reports Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

The Facebook group came to life in part because of a membership rule for the National Bicycle Dealers Association that prevents those who run mobile-only businesses from becoming members of the group.

But PBMA, which has no such rule, turned out to be fairly welcoming to the trade, and after a meeting in Virginia, the members of the Facebook group decided to formally work with PBMA rather than starting a trade association of their own.

“We agreed that they had already invented the wheel and there was no reason to re-invent it,” David Ricker, the founder of the group and a New Hampshire mobile-service operator, noted to the news outlet.

The collaboration between the Facebook group and PBMA came about after Bicycle Retailer wrote about the Facebook group in January, leading PBMA to extend an invite to the organization to meet up.

“Some of our board members were there as well so it was convenient,” PBMA President James Stanfill told the news outlet. “We discussed their goals and frustrations and we decided there is some stuff we can work on together. We have a lot of stuff in place already and I think they saw the benefits in working with us.”

(kadmy/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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