Increase engagement and decrease attrition: by standing out in an already overcrowded social world

September 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm (associations, marketing, social networking)

Social networking is a powerful strategy in increasing the engagement of your membership. With the age demographic steadily growing younger, many associations are getting into the social media game by blogging, creating fan pages on Facebook, building a Twitter following, or by creating Groups on Linkedin. But, do you have concerns that your message is not heard amongst all the noise, or that your membership does not fit well within these popular communities?

New applications like ning.com allow associations and their members to create fully-customized and branded online communities that stand out in an already overcrowded social world.

To get started, it’s important to look at sites like LinkedIn and Facebook and understand what makes them so popular from a user’s perspective. Member organizations can create and host a vertical online community and offer a similar user-experience within the niche environment that you’ve designed and can control.

Associations are perfect for this technology because you already have followers—who share similar jobs, interests, or goals—who look to you for networking, education, information, advocacy, or other resources. Leverage your existing connections and the popularity of social media to provide a branded venue for members to engage in discussions and socialize.

Hosting social media is also a helpful strategy to increase website traffic and decrease bounce rates. (A lower bounce rate essentially shows that your site visitors are staying to look around.) Components of social networking (i.e. profile customization, member-to-member socializing, facilitation of discussions, content sharing) are all examples of sticky content—or content that keeps website visitors engaged on your site for longer.

If you haven’t jumped into the game yet, you likely are weighing the value of integrating the media into your marketing strategy or you’re unsure about how to get started. Let us know if we can help.

Major benefits of hosting your own network:

  • Increased brand impressions,
  • A highly-focused community,
  • Website stickiness,
  • Measurable and customizable,
  • Allows for on-demand conversations,
  • Let’s you listen in to find out what members are interested in or what they think about your services,
  • Extended access to your connections’ connections,
  • Increased engagement of membership, and
  • Decreased attrition.

Interesting examples:

Other relevant articles:

Cutting Through the Clutter

Hey, Get Your Own Dang Social Network

How to make your site stickier

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