Daily Buzz: Build Your Online Community During a Crisis

The keys to bringing others together even when they’re physically separated. Also: how virtual meetings can get more members to contribute during conferences.

Can’t see members in person? There are still ways to nurture community and connect remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Chloe Blair on Association Success.

Start by reaching out to members to see how they’re doing. This will strengthen relationships and give you a sense of what your members are really going through.

“Taking time to ask someone how they’re doing can bring some positivity and understanding into their day. Staying engaged in what’s happening in their lives creates meaningful relationships,” Blair says.

Do what you can to be relatable when reaching out to members. Instead of treating it like a business-as-usual conversation, acknowledge that this is a stressful time and talk about your own challenges.

“Imperfection and openness establishes more relatability than trying to appear as if everything is OK,” Blair says. “Some of the ways you can be more relatable include sharing a little about what’s going on in your life, a mistake you’ve recently learned from, or expressing emotions around what’s going on.”

Treat this uncertain time as an opportunity to connect in new ways. Your organization can still host video calls, social media challenges, and group chats where members get to engage with each other.

“Not only will you create a breeding ground for great ideas, friendships, and creativity, but you’ll establish a loyal community for people to turn to in times of need,” Blair says.

The Team-Building Benefit of Virtual Meetings

While some thrive during in-person conferences, others struggle with anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. The environment is different with virtual meetings, thanks to the ability to chat without speaking in front of a group.

“One happy outcome of the recent online conference trend may be that the people who feel shy, awkward, or overwhelmed at in-person meetings get to experience conferences in a new and perhaps seemingly safer way,” says Smooth the Path’s Amanda Kaiser.

Other Links of Note

Should marketing be in your association’s budget right now? Tony Rossell of the Membership Marketing Blog breaks down why it should still be a priority.

Looking for a way to back up your valuable data? Clone your hard drive. PC Mag’s Whitson Gordon explains how to do it.

In-person events will return when potential attendees feel safe. A recent post from Northstar Meetings Group examines how to reduce health risks at conferences.

(Natalia Shabasheva/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Michael Hickey

By Michael Hickey

Michael Hickey is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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