Inviting industry partners to join your community pushes its mission forward. Also: Online communities meet organizational and member needs.
Industry partner, affiliate, vendor, or supplier members—whatever your association calls them, if you fail to engage with this member segment, you’re missing an opportunity.
“Many of you are thinking, ‘No, they’re not our focus.’ Strictly speaking, that’s true, but educating supplier members has benefits for your membership culture and association,” writes the WBT Systems team on its blog. “Ideally, an association’s members would do business with fellow members. This practice would strengthen the membership culture and tie all segments of your membership more tightly together.”
The problem: Many industry partners don’t know how to develop those kinds of relationships. That’s where an affiliate education program comes in.
“Vendor education programs serve two purposes: They help members gain a better understanding of the industry they serve, [and] they teach members how to more effectively network and build relationships,” the team says.
When vendors feel like part of your professional community, they’re more likely to support your association’s mission, volunteer, sponsor an event, and renew their membership.
What Online Communities Do for Your Team—and Members
Your online community delivers an immense amount of value for those that it serves. There's also value to the business that shouldn't be ignored. #cmgr #assnchat #businessvalue #onlinecommunityhttps://t.co/i9E7Q54Gw2 pic.twitter.com/MP3XirhneS
— Community by Association (@CommunitybyAssn) July 1, 2019
Online communities bring value to both organizational objectives and members, according to the State of Community Management 2019 report. How?
“Online communities attract people seeking knowledge,” says Marjorie Anderson from Community by Association. “They may or may not already be a member of your association, but they recognize you as a source for answers to their questions. Because of this, online communities can play a major role in bringing in new customers/members by exposing them to information they may not have known they could access previously.”
Because communities are a place of conversation, they also allow organizations to hear member pain points as they arise, which means you can act swiftly to offer a solution.
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