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Member Communities Posts

How We Know the 90-9-1 Rule for Online Community Engagement is Officially Outdated

Written by Heather McNair on June 29, 2020 at 3:30 PM | 4 minute read

A rule about online engagement has floated around the internet for a while, called the Rule of Participation Inequality, or the 90-9-1 Rule. The rule goes something like this:

User participation in any online internet community generally follows the 90-9-1 rule:

  • 90% of community members are lurkers who read or observe, but don't contribute
  • 9% of community members edit or respond to content but don't create content of their own
  • 1% of community members create new content

For anyone new to community management, this is a discouraging benchmark. If active participation is this low, what’s the point of creating an online community at all?

For organizations who’ve already launched an online community and don’t see high engagement, this rule might lead them to accept it’s the norm.

But we see communities generating impressive results for their organizations every day. To do that, a community needs to have solid engagement. The 90-9-1 rule just doesn’t align to that.

We decided it was time to re-look at the data so that we could have accurate expectations for engagement levels today.

Here's a sneak peak of what we found.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Online Community

Online Communities in 2020: Unlocking the Power of Community with Data

Written by Heather McNair on June 17, 2020 at 11:24 AM | 3 minute read

Heather is Higher Logic’s Chief Community Officer. She was the first to hold the position at Higher Logic and one of the earliest to hold the title in the industry.

I’ve been involved in community management for around 13 years. When I started, I didn’t even know it was a profession, and I was flying solo.

I think a lot of us started that way in the early years.

The techniques that we developed back then and refined over the years were based on gut instinct, combined with marketing techniques, behavioral psychology, and trial and error.

We accomplished many amazing things this way, but fortunately, we now have data that proves what we’ve always known: What we’re doing is worthwhile.

The Community Roundtable’s annual report, the State of Community Management, is one of the biggest data sources grounding the community industry and the community management profession.

Their research helps us power the things we do with data-driven decisions and enables organizations to feel confident about adopting communities.

And what does the data show? Change is happening because of communities.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Customer Engagement, User Group Management, Customer Retention, Member Engagement, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community, B2B

Online Communities in 2020: 28 Key Facts + Statistics to Know

Written by Elizabeth Bell on June 5, 2020 at 10:45 AM | 6 minute read

Every year, The Community Roundtable releases the State of Community Management Report. It’s always filled with insightful analysis on how online communities, both internal and external, are making a difference. 

This year is no different.

2020's report, The State of Community Management: Changing the Way the World Works, highlights three big themes:

  1. Advanced communities create generative value.
  2. External communities elevate the customer experience.
  3. Internal communities reveal untapped potential.

We pulled out 28 stats from this year's report that illuminate big community topics. 

But before we dive into those stats and facts, don’t miss out: The Community Roundtable provides incredibly helpful analysis on three trends in the report, along with specific recommendations you can apply at your organization, all available in the full report below.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Online Community

Building Buy-In for an Online Community at Your Association

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 29, 2020 at 12:09 PM | 11 minute read

You don't have to be a hypnotist or a master of persuasion to build support for an online community among your association’s board and executive team.

Instead, you need to align your new online community with the mission and priorities of your association's leadership.

It’s easy to say, harder to do – but we’ll walk you through what you need to get there, including aligning with your association’s overall priorities and overcoming common objectives.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Volunteer Management, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Email Marketing, Online Community, Events

Want to Maximize Association Membership Value? Create Indispensable Engagement

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 13, 2020 at 9:25 AM | 3 minute read

Although “engaging people” might not seem like the most groundbreaking approach to organizational growth, it’s a simple idea that has wide-reaching effects.

What is engagement, at its core? The more connected we are to something, the more we love it. We develop memories surrounding the people, the experiences, and the things we learn. We’re most attached to the groups or organizations that we’re most involved in.

This engagement produces things like higher retention, increased member satisfaction, and a larger membership.

And the inverse is true. You might be experiencing the effects of a lack of engagement at your association now, without realizing the source of the problem. What are those effects?

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Topics: Communications, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Our Customer Reviews Make Higher Logic a G2 Leader in Online Community Management

Written by Kevin Alansky | on May 11, 2020 at 12:18 PM | 5 minute read

G2, the leading B2B technology review platform, released their Spring 2020 Grid Report, and we are excited to announce that we’ve been named a Leader in Online Community Management for the 4th consecutive quarter.

This is a huge honor for us, as this ranking is based on reviews directly from our customers.

The backing of G2 and our customers proves we’re achieving our mission: Making organizations successful by bringing them closer to their customers through meaningful interactions and powerful insights.

This review from one of our customers says it all: “We've been on board with Higher Logic for 3 years now. I feel like it has just continued to improve and grow every year. I'm excited to continue expanding our use of all the Higher Logic software. The staff/support is extremely responsive and wants to make this a great experience for all their customers.”

Thank you to our customers who have shared their experiences to help us be recognized.

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Topics: Community Platforms & Updates, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Online Community, Product News

7 Tips for Engaging Your Audience with a Virtual Event Community

Written by Kaila Timmons on May 1, 2020 at 8:12 AM | 5 minute read

During the plethora of free webinars and events happening right now, how can you help your virtual event stand out from the crowd?

We’ve heard a lot about how difficult it is to keep people engaged when they’re participating at their desks. It’s probably even harder when they’re working from home, due to all the distractions.

To counter this, try adding an unexpected element: community engagement.

An event community can help you create that sense of connection and engagement that you miss by not being in person.

But it’s not just “feel-good” results. Engagement helps you accomplish your larger goals for the virtual event.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Events

How Associations Are Using Community to Support Their Members During COVID-19

Written by Elizabeth Bell on April 14, 2020 at 4:22 PM | 6 minute read

Over the past month, as our customers shared ideas about responding to COVID-19 in our users community, HUG, we noticed some simple but impactful ways associations are using their communities to support their members and their industries.

And it makes sense: In a time when we’re all craving connection, what’s more perfect than a community dedicated to your success and your industry?

We spoke with a few of those customers to hear more about their initiatives, and we're sharing a few of these observations with you, to encourage you and maybe inspire some ideas for your own organization.

We're sharing four ways we're seeing communities used to bring connection and enhance these associations' missions during these times.

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Topics: Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Online Community, Events

Webinar Recap: Attracting Young Professionals to Your Association

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 27, 2020 at 11:52 AM | 5 minute read

To attract young professionals to your association, you have to understand what matters to them in their early career stages and what really drives them to succeed. Wondering how to get in the mindset of a young professional in today’s world? 

This week, Higher Logic teamed up with Community Brands to host a webinar on just that – strategizing for the next generation. 

Discussion hosts Vivian Swertinski, Higher Logic Sr. Strategist, and Tara Pawlak, Community Brands Director of Marketing, shared top strategies that associations are using to grow their young professional membership, including: 

  • Young member priorities, like job opportunities and professional development
  • Building a network of peers and mentors within your industry
  • Personalizing your communications during recruitment and retention 

Fun fact: Job opportunities are one of the most sought-after benefits associations can offer. As Tara noted in the webinar:

“In times of economic uncertainty, association job boards see an increase in job seeker traffic, as professionals turn to them as a resource to help fortify against risk or find new job opportunities.”

Let’s go over some actionable insights from our experts, based on industry data, that can help you reach professionals earlier in their careers.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

Run Your Virtual Event with Confidence: Tips for a Great Show

Written by Gina Vavra on March 19, 2020 at 12:56 PM | 6 minute read

As COVID-19 forces events from in-person to virtual, the first and most essential thing is a mindset shift: Going digital was not your plan, but it’s your chance to make the most of a bad situation.

While you take a step back and re-orient yourself to running a virtual event, you have some freedom to re-envision what your event will look like. Your virtual conference can still be meaningful and engaging for your audience.

Speaking of your audience, they’re craving connection and support right about now. Your event can be one of the things that meets that need.

Let’s refocus together.

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Online Community, Events

Are You Facing These 3 Community Building Challenges?

Written by Morghan Cope on February 27, 2020 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Communities are becoming a staple for healthy organizations to reach and interact with their customers and members, but they can be hard to navigate.

To help guide your community building efforts, two of our 2020 Community Movers + Shakers sat down for a webinar to share advice in response big community challenges that attendees were facing.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community, B2B

7 Hard Questions to Evaluate Your Digital Customer Experience

Written by Elizabeth Bell on February 21, 2020 at 8:45 AM | 5 minute read

The hard truth: Your digital customer experience may be disjointed. Forrester Research writes, “Digital experience delivery is a business-critical obligation.” 

For many companies today, especially B2B or SaaS companies, the digital customer experience is the customer experience. Your customers likely interact with you almost entirely online (as they do things like submit support tickets, tag your business profiles on social media, or visit your website), making evaluating your customers’ digital experience a key step on the road to improving it.

You might think your digital customer experience is pretty good. But you won’t know until you take a closer look. Asking these seven questions will help you assess and improve the state of your digital customer experience.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community, B2B

Introducing the 2020 Community Movers + Shakers

Written by Elizabeth Bell on January 27, 2020 at 12:48 PM | 13 minute read

Online communities are powerful. Not only are they complex solutions for complex organizational problems, but communities can create real lasting friendships, powerful professional connections, and loyal brand advocates.

Today, we’re recognizing 20 influential people for their work in the online community industry.

Our 2020 Community Movers + Shakers are champions of communities, who see the value in the community movement, and we wanted to highlight, honor, and share the work of their creative and innovative minds with the rest of the industry.

Because online communities can transform any organization, you’ll see a range of industries. Because real change can start at any level of an organization, you’ll see a range of titles.

Without further ado, we’ll introduce the people you’ve been waiting to meet: Our 2020 Community Movers + Shakers.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Member Communities, User Group Communities, Associations, Online Community, Company News

12 Examples of Thriving Communities for Online Community Builders to Learn From

Written by Elizabeth Bell on December 2, 2019 at 12:07 PM | 7 minute read

We’re always talking about building community and how engaged communities can have an undeniable impact on our organizations. However, sometimes the concepts behind an online community can feel a bit abstract. 

Aren’t communities built in person? How can an army of strangers online make a customer feel seen? 

To make the idea of an online community and its benefits more concrete, we used our internal employee community to crowdsource 12 of our favorite examples of thriving communities around the web. 

These examples can help us answer the question: What really makes a community a community?

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Online Community

3 Add-on Tools to Drive Association Revenue + Amplify Member Engagement

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on October 17, 2019 at 2:07 PM | 7 minute read

Is your association leveraging technology to its fullest potential? You can elevate the success of your online community and marketing automation activities by integrating solutions that fuel long-term engagement, like data collection, mobile apps, and volunteer management programs. 

If you know data exists within your online community and marketing automation activities, but you aren’t leveraging it to inform your ability to provide a targeted, valuable member experience, well - it’s as if Charlie Bucket found a golden ticket then decided he didn’t feel like going to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory that day. 

Magical experiences are earned on the other side of diligent courage and execution. Embrace change. Identify what you need to deliver the member experience you want, and learn how to make the data work for you.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

6 Must-Have Learning Management System (LMS) Features

Written by Bobby Kaighn on October 3, 2019 at 9:58 AM | 6 minute read

Advanced education (certifications, specialized job training, professional development programs, and competency-based learning) is an area where associations thrive. Not only does this content establish you as a thought leader and invaluable resource in your industry, but it also can be a huge revenue-generator.

You can deliver advanced education for both new and experienced professionals through an easy-to-access, effective Learning Management System, or LMS. But when you’re comparing different LMS software, how do you know which features are essential?

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Online Community Software, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Learning Management Systems

EdTA’s Online Community Energizes + Inspires Theatre Educators

Written by Elizabeth Bell on August 13, 2019 at 9:45 AM | 5 minute read

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

John Donne

Members flock to the Educational Theatre Association’s (EdTA) public member community, the Theatre Education Community. EdTA uses the community to bring theatre educators and professionals all together, with the ultimate goals of boosting their careers, igniting their passion, and helping them help students pursue theatre.

We caught up with Ginny Butsch, community engagement manager at EdTA, to hear more about how the community connects and empowers members.

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Topics: Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

3 Ways to Improve Membership Acquisition at Your Association

Written by Elizabeth Bell on August 1, 2019 at 9:42 AM | 4 minute read

Developing a growth strategy for your association takes time. It takes hours of debating the best methods to use to reach prospective members, and days of content creation and campaign management. It's stressful. And, it could all result in nothing if you don't use effective tactics to drive meaningful growth.

A balanced, comprehensive growth strategy will include a mix of focus on both member retention and member acquisition.

In this post, we’ll focus on member acquisition strategy and how associations can effectively reach potential members and convince them to join.

However, the outlook isn't all bleak. You don't have to test every communication channel to find out the best way to reach your prospects, thanks to data from fellow associations.

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Topics: Marketing, Member Communities, Associations, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Association Tips: 6 Irresistible Member Benefits that Convince People to Join and Renew

Written by Elizabeth Bell on July 18, 2019 at 9:45 AM | 7 minute read

Getting people to join your association is like making a sale. You need to offer them something they want enough that they’re willing to pay for it.

The problem is that many other organizations have similar offers and value propositions. So what benefits can you provide that convince people to join – and stay – with your association?

Here are six member benefit ideas that should do the trick.

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Topics: Engagement, Volunteer Management, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

2019 State of Community Management: What Now? 5 Stats with Action Items for Executive Stakeholders + Community Leaders

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on June 26, 2019 at 1:08 PM | 5 minute read

The data published in The Community Roundtable’s 10th Annual State of Community Management report was collected from 325 community programs between January and March 2019. ICYMI: We shared a collection of 39 nitty-gritty stats from the report in our first blog recap.

Communities are change agents, there’s no doubt about it. The 2019 State of Community Management report reveals that communities are transforming organizations in fascinating (and profitable) ways. Program outcomes can be connected to a variety of complex business objectives like customer retention, innovation, and culture change.

Because communities are complex, adaptive systems, they have the ability to address a variety of complex problems with a multitude of different solutions.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Retention, Customer Success, Online Community

39 Online Community Stats You Should Know From 2019

Written by Elizabeth Bell on June 13, 2019 at 8:58 AM | 6 minute read

Check out 2020 online community stats here

The Community Roundtable annually releases The State of Community Management Report, and it’s chock-full of timely online community stats to help inform your strategies in the year ahead.

Community is increasingly recognized as a valuable and effective way to create complex organizational change, and The Community Roundtable’s research has backed up and lead that effort by finding hard data and facts.

We’ve pulled out 39 of our favorite stats from the 2019 report that you should know going into 2020 (but don’t worry, there’s more stats and info to be had in the full report!)

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

4 Ways to Use Events + Conferences to Increase Online Community Engagement

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on June 11, 2019 at 1:23 PM | 5 minute read

There’s something special about attending an event that leaves you feeling invigorated, inspired, and better off for having participated. Making new connections in an environment like this can be energetic, powerful, and truly productive. It can also boost community engagement.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Associations, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Events

Public Social Media Network or Private Online Community? 11 Tips to Guide Your Decision

Written by Elizabeth Bell on June 6, 2019 at 2:10 PM | 8 minute read

Would you build your house on rented land? Or move all your belongings into a hotel room?

The answers are obvious. No, you wouldn’t, because you’d be trying to create something permanent in an impermanent place that you don’t own, where things could change at any moment.

Could the same concept apply to building a community for your customers or members on social media? We think so.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Associations, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community, Integration, Advertising

Onboarding for Retention: How to Engage New Members for the Long Term

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 23, 2019 at 2:55 PM | 6 minute read

Onboarding new members is a critical step for associations, and often one that is missed or under-emphasized. That first year of membership has a big influence on whether that member will renew with you.

If you’re onboarding with the goal of retention (and you should be), it’s all about connecting your members and continuing to engage them at strategic touchpoints. Engagement during their first year of membership, and every year after, is how you keep members around.

When evaluating how your onboarding program is doing, ask yourselves if these three things are true about your program:

  1. Are members quickly introduced your association’s benefits, like your member network and key resources?
  2. Are members drawn in so much that they want to remain and participate?
  3. Are staff able to introduce members to these benefits on a large scale and in a personalized way?

If the answer to any of these was no, don’t worry. We’ve got the resources you need to get your onboarding program where you want it to be.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

The Member Journey Has Changed: Are You Changing With It?

Written by Tom Lehman on May 16, 2019 at 9:08 AM | 4 minute read

“Digital transformation” is leaving no stone unturned. Its effects aren’t limited just to big consumer brands like Amazon, Netflix Uber. Technology has changed how people travel down the path toward membership at your association, and how they engage with your association if or when they join.

A member’s experience with your association or nonprofit used to look different. They might hear about you through a direct mail flyer, send in a check to join, and attend a conference once a year. That was association membership. Their journey to joining your association was linear and sequential.

Now, they come to your association at various stages of the funnel, or the member/buyer’s journey. And along the way, they expect a different experience from what was the norm 20 years ago.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Nonprofits and Charities, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

15 Tips to Help Successfully Move Your Social Media Community to a New Platform

Written by Elizabeth Bell on May 14, 2019 at 8:41 AM | 8 minute read

No matter the reason for the change, anyone who has grown an online community to maturity on a Facebook or LinkedIn or Yahoo group can tell you that the thought of moving that community to a new platform is enough to keep a person up at night.

There are logistical and personal challenges to migrating an entire community, like:

  • What if engagement totally dies?
  • What if we lose all the activity from our old group when we transition?
  • What if community users don’t move?
  • What if users start their own rogue communities because they hate our new platform?

But whatever your worries are, moving your community to an official community platform could be what it needs to become even better. Plus, with Yahoo Groups shutting down, it's definitely a good time to think about a new home for your community.

To get you to that new, better place, there are some strategic elements to think about as you transition your community from a social media group to an official community platform. 

(Not sure you want to move to a platform built for community yet? Let this post convince you.)

We’re here to help you meet your goals while avoiding these pitfalls.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Engagement, User Group Management, Member Engagement, Online Community

4 Tips for Generating More Non-Dues Revenue from Advertising

Written by Elizabeth Bell on March 19, 2019 at 12:22 PM | 6 minute read

How can you set your association up for a solid financial future with flexible, non-dues revenue streams?

Don't rely only on membership dues to keep your association strong and healthy.

Invest in quality digital advertising space, make engagement growth a priority, promote your available ad space, and strike a good advertising balance so that you can increase exposure for your own initiatives or bring in more outside sponsorship, all leading to additional non-dues revenue.

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Topics: Engagement, Marketing, Member Communities, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

What is an Online Community? The Basics & Benefits

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on March 7, 2019 at 11:25 AM | 6 minute read

In the fast-paced world of modern technology, many leadership executives and organizations understand that building online communities for their customers or members to learn, share, and collaborate is critical for increasing growth and relevancy.

They know that successful online communities can help them engage and inspire their audience, creating the unique and individual experiences that improve the overall customer experience (CX). Focusing on CX in tandem with your online community is incredibly valuable in terms of driving loyalty, by the way.

Research from the Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to gain, on average, an additional $775 million over 3 years of investing in customer experience (with SaaS companies standing to earn the most, at $1 billion).

For those who are still learning or want to brush up on their knowledge, we’re here to offer some clarity on what a successful online community is and how it can benefit organizational growth by helping you deliver value to your customers, partners, members, or prospects.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

Data Informs Decisions: ASAE and Association Analytics Aim to Predict Engagement [Case Study]

Written by Caitlin Struhs | on August 14, 2018 at 7:50 AM | 6 minute read

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) uses multiple systems—AMS, email marketing, and online community, among others—to collect member data, but it couldn’t compare or analyze valuable member activity across systems. There was no clear way to track retention, understand satisfaction, or analyze member engagement.

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Topics: Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

How to Create Engaging Online Discussions: 7 Tips for Community Managers

Written by Simona Ciampi on May 31, 2018 at 8:29 AM | 5 minute read

Often, and especially early on in the life of an online community, the community manager is the one who has to start discussions. If you’re a community manager, I’m sure you know from experience that creating an engaging discussion is not easy. For example, asking someone what they think about an article and just putting the link out there is not typically enough.

There are a few handy techniques you can use when creating a conversation to facilitate more interaction.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Member Communities, Associations, Member Engagement, Online Community

Is Your Organization Risking Members' Privacy by Connecting on Facebook?

Written by Sara Maloney on April 12, 2018 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

They say to "never build on rented land," but is that always true? And, if this is the case, why do we continue to put our personal and business' intellectual property on public platforms owned by third parties?

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Topics: Social Media, Member Communities, Online Community Software, Collaboration Tools, Marketing Automation, Online Community

How To Start a Micro-Advocacy Program in Your Association

Written by Molly Talbert | on August 8, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

What happens when you combine a passionate segment of your membership with opportunities to make a difference beyond the walls of your association? An advocacy program.

With an advocacy program, your organization can offer added-value for your members while simultaneously positively impacting issues and constituencies important to your industry and members. By giving members an advocacy outlet, you can expand your reach while creating stronger bonds with your current members.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

How to Find Your Best Content Topics (Without Paying for Market Research)

Written by Julie Dietz on July 27, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

How is your association keeping its offers relevant to members and preparing for the future?

According to a recent study by Leader Networks, most associations – 83 percent – are aligning their products and services to market needs so they meet members’ expectations and stay relevant. That’s a smart goal, but it requires a deep understanding of members and prospects.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

How to Create a Great Mentoring Program in Your Online Community

Written by Julie Dietz on July 18, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Mentors are a vital part of any industry. Through mentoring, employees get the chance to learn vital skills and increase competency in ways that boost morale and job satisfaction – something that’s improving with technology.

Online mentoring programs have taken the traditional brick-and-mortal experience to a new level, providing anytime, anywhere access to expertise, insights, and perspective that enhance job performance and outcomes. Associations, which are widely-recognized experts in their industries, are stepping up to offer such programs. Many times, mentoring programs even evolve into a key member benefit for professional associations.

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Topics: Millennials, Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

How Switching to a Private Online Community Helped the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Double Community Engagement

Written by Molly Talbert | on June 13, 2017 at 10:35 AM | 3 minute read

 

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) once served its members with a Yahoo Group, but only a few hundred members signed up to participate on the platform. Something wasn’t right. APDT needed to find a way to broaden their reach, connecting more members to each other and to the organization.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Member Engagement, Online Community

Online Community Platform vs AMS Add-On: What Software Does Your Association Need?

Written by Andy Steggles | on June 6, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

Online communities are now better known for their ability to improve member engagement, satisfaction, and retention than they were even a few years ago. It makes sense, then, that more and more associations are considering, or expanding, their online community plans.

With this rise in interest comes an increase in online community software options. Companies that previously focused on database work, such as association management software (AMS) providers, now offer community modules as an add-on to their main product.

But are add-on options right for your association? It’s certainly convenient to nestle your community within the AMS you’re already familiar with. But will it achieve the same results as a dedicated community platform?

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Online Community Software, Member Engagement, Online Community

5 Reasons You Need to Integrate Your Online Community and CRM Today

Written by Julie Dietz on April 11, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

My favorite childhood game was Telephone. My friends and I would sit in a circle for hours passing messages around by whispering in one another’s ears. Hearing how the original messages changed to something nearly unrecognizable at the end always made me laugh.

Telephone isn’t just an entertaining childhood pastime. It also teaches a valuable lesson: indirect communication is rarely accurate. You lose essential meaning when there isn’t a one-on-one connection. It’s a problem that happens not only with people, but with software systems as well.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community Software, Online Community

How to Build the Business Case for Your Association’s Online Community Strategy

Written by Andy Steggles | on February 14, 2017 at 8:30 AM | 7 minute read

You’ve spent countless hours interviewing members and pouring over data. You’ve researched techniques, combed the internet for tools, and finally come up with a solution.

The best way for your association to provide long-term value to members is with an online community.

It’s perfect. You can increase non-dues revenue with an online store, deliver benefits with user-generated content, and engage members with discussion forums and blog posts.

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Topics: Marketing, Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

5 Rookie Mistakes Associations Make with Online Communities

Written by Julie Dietz on August 31, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

Last month, I got a Facebook friend request from my father. I was surprised, but not because there are posts on my Facebook that my father shouldn't see (there aren't). I was surprised because my father is a 60-something retiree and he's getting into social networks, which are really just online communities. He loves them, and he's already used them to reconnect with numerous colleagues, friends, and organizations that he belongs to.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Communities, Online Community

The Dangers of Waiting to Start a Private Member Community

Written by Christina Green | on August 16, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Several years ago Ducati Motor Holdings, manufacturer of luxury motorcycles now owned by Audi, made a decision. They wanted to start an online community for fans of their brand. Sounds like a good idea doesn't it? Except for one tiny thing. A vibrant, online Ducati fan community already existed and it didn't belong to them.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

Tips for Handling a Toxic Association Member in Your Online Community

Written by Christina Green | on August 3, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

Trolls were once thought of as mythical creatures, but they are now very real. If you've spent any time interacting (or reading) comments on the Internet, you've undoubtedly come across trolls.

Troll is a slang term for people who purposely sow discord and aim at getting people upset. They often do so anonymously or under a pseudonym, avoiding the personal criticism of others by hiding their identity. Internet Trolls, while annoying, are relatively harmless when they are recognized for what they are - instigators and curmudgeons. They can even be beneficial to an organization if their comments bring a lot of eyes to a post.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

Your Growing Organization Needs an Online Community

Written by Molly Talbert | on July 12, 2016 at 9:00 AM | 3 minute read

Ok, here’s the question: what do member retention, organizational growth and your website all have in common?

Answer: community (that is, if you have one).

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Member Retention, Online Community

Association Job Hacks: Secrets to Becoming Your CFO's Favorite Employee

Written by Julie Dietz on June 21, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Imagine that there was a radical shift in legislation in your industry and your members have to change the way that they do their jobs. They need to learn the new rules and how to follow them, and they need to do it quickly. So your association comes to the rescue with a cutting-edge training program to get your members up to speed.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Marketing Automation, Online Community

So Your Members Want to Add More Communities?

Written by Molly Talbert | on May 18, 2016 at 9:00 AM | 4 minute read

Members love your community. In fact, they love it so much they want to create their own, smaller communities for specific groups of people. One enthusiastic group wants a community dedicated entirely to just one of your new products. Recently, a member committee decided to split and branch into two committees -- and, of course, they both want their own communities. A few other members are dedicated sports fans and want to have a fun community dedicated to your local sports teams.

On the one hand, this is great -- only enthusiastic members would want to pioneer their own community. They must really benefit from and enjoy the platform you gave them.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Communities, Online Community

What Are They Telling You? Using Online Community Data to Create Experiences Your Members Will Love

Written by Julie Dietz on April 29, 2016 at 8:00 AM | 5 minute read

I may be dating myself, but see if you can place these lyrics:

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,

and they're always glad you came.

If you said it's a line from the Cheers theme song, you're right. If you didn't know it, hey, at least you're young.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Online Community Software, Member Experience, Online Community

Your Association Is Not the Center of the Universe - Your Users Are

Written by Maddie Grant | on February 19, 2016 at 9:30 AM | 2 minute read

Many associations share a central flaw: they routinely put the association and the needs of the organization or staff at the center of their universe. Historically, this made some sense. By creating the association in the first place, the members by definition centralized their attention. “Let’s all give dues to this central group so it can do amazing things for us.”

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Online Community

How to Use Content to Keep Customers or Members Returning to Your Online Community

Written by Christina Green | on February 4, 2016 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

In the end, keeping your members coming back to your community comes down to more than just making participation into a game, or training your members to login every day. Without engaging content, none of that really matters.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

5 People You Need on Your Association's Online Community Management Team

Written by Christina Green | on October 6, 2015 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

Regardless of how talented your community managers are, it takes more than community professionals to create a sustainable community that provides consistent engagement and value.

According to research from The Community Roundtable, "investing sufficiently in community teams so that the community is integrated across functional areas of the organization increases both visibility with, and value to, the organization."

So, who should you invite to the table when it comes to planning and managing your association's private online community? Community managers expect that volunteer recruiting is part of their job, but often overlooked is the amount of recruiting that's necessary in-house for your community to be a success. It's not just members and volunteer leaders that help create a robust peer-to-peer environment. It's also the people you work with every day.

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Topics: Member Communities, Online Community

Volunteer Management: 12 Volunteer Opportunities for Members in Your Online Community

Written by Katie Oakes on September 17, 2015 at 9:00 AM | 5 minute read

A major issue for associations everywhere is the acquisition of volunteers. It is not uncommon for an association's organizational structure to have volunteers that outnumber the staff. Typically, one staff member is doing the job of three, so finding volunteers is critical to their sanity.

Convincing someone to volunteer time out of their over-scheduled life is no simple task. Also, the people that you are recruiting are simultaneously being propositioned by other organizations. You're competing against PTA, sports leagues, homework, aging parents, walking the dog, work schedules, even enjoying a night of doing nothing at all. Your members are pulled in different directions and the last thing any of them have is time.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Volunteer Management, Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

How to Make Your Trade Association's Online Community Work

Written by Andy Steggles | on September 8, 2015 at 11:00 AM | 3 minute read


Communities benefit all types of organizations—trade associations are no exception. We’re already pretty vocal about how trade associations can use private online communities to collaborate. Now that we’ve (hopefully) convinced you online communities are important in creating value, let’s talk about how to ensure success in your community.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Member Engagement, Online Community

Why Associations Are Making Their Private Member Community the Centerpiece of Their Membership Marketing Strategy [Research]

Written by Joshua Paul | on August 27, 2015 at 9:00 AM | 6 minute read

Each year, membership marketing firm, Marketing General (MGI), publishes the results of their Membership Marketing Benchmarking survey. It is the association industry's deepest look into trends, tools, and tactics. This year over 900 associations participated, making the 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report one of the strongest narratives to date on how to grow membership.

At Higher Logic, we analyzed the data and saw connections between the report's findings and the role that private online member communities play in associations.

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Topics: Communications, Member Communities, Associations, Member Engagement, Online Community

Is Your Community Changing with the Times?

Written by Maddie Grant | on August 17, 2015 at 9:00 AM | 2 minute read

Today’s “new normal” involves continuous change, which is something the Millennial generation has simply come to expect. But those of us who are older and running things inside associations (including our online communities) have always tried to build things that last. We like consistency. We like things to stay the same. This is a challenge.

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Topics: Millennials, Volunteer Management, Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

8 Models for Associations to Segment Their Online Communities and Create Private Groups

Written by Katie Oakes on July 15, 2015 at 8:05 AM | 5 minute read

For many associations, creating online communities for their members is a new endeavor. On the surface, it might appear that your community members have a singular interest in your industry, organization, or issues. While that is what makes your association a community, is not enough to keep members engaged? In reality, within your member base are countless more specific interests, goals, and motivations for joining. How do you design ONE online community that makes everyone happy?

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Topics: Member Communities, Online Community

Is Face-to-Face Communication Gone in the Digital Age?

Written by Maddie Grant | on June 25, 2015 at 2:58 PM | 2 minute read

Millennials certainly grew up with a lot of “screen time.” They like texting and sending instant messages, and they obviously have been a dominant force in just about every social media platform. They are truly the digital natives. But that does not mean they don’t want and need face-to-face communication.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

Design Your Online Community for the Users, Not for the Organization

Written by Maddie Grant | on March 24, 2015 at 9:42 AM | 2 minute read

We talk a lot about how social media has changed marketing pretty drastically, and we also talk about the Millennial generation's use of social media and how much time they spend online and behind their screens. But we're missing a more important point. When you look at the bigger picture, the real game changer behind social media has been the way it has transferred power away from central institutions and towards individuals.

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Topics: Millennials, Marketing, Member Communities, Online Community

Why 2015 Will Be the Year of the Private Online Community

Written by Hunter Montgomery | on February 23, 2015 at 4:31 PM | 2 minute read

At Higher Logic, we've always believed that the key to engaging members, customers and constituents is through building a private community over which your organization has control, rather than building that community on a public social media site. But because of the popularity of sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - and the fact that those platforms are free (although the time your staff spends managing them is not) - many organizations think that member engagement efforts are better spent on those free social channels than on an owned community or collaboration platform.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Social Media, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community

Using Moderation and Marketing to Improve Your Community ROI

Written by Caitlin Struhs | on February 19, 2015 at 4:57 PM | 4 minute read

Our guest blogger Judi Huck is the communications specialist at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), which has a community on the Higher Logic platform. She is based in New York and currently working her way through every park and museum in the five boroughs. Connect with her on Twitter @7Huck or on LinkedIn.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Marketing, Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

Get Ready for Transparency

Written by Maddie Grant | on January 27, 2015 at 12:37 PM | 3 minute read

For decades it has been understood that information should only be shared with the people who truly "need to know" it. Part of this was driven by efficiency. It would take a significant amount of time and effort to communicate everything to everybody, particularly before the Internet, so we made careful choices about what information we shared with whom.

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Topics: Millennials, Member Communities, Associations, Marketing Automation, Online Community

5 Proven Private Online Community Strategies for Associations

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM | 5 minute read

Associations and other nonprofit membership organizations are already natural communities. This makes building a community online a common sense decision for most association executives.

However, there is more than one way to leverage a private online community. Since every association's mission, priorities, and capacity are different, their abilities to capture the opportunities that building communities presents are also unique.

How associations leverage their online communities depend on the overall purpose of their community, which are based on the organization's overall goals. This may include:

  • improving retention
  • increasing the value of member benefits
  • keeping member engaged
  • educating the public
  • boosting advocacy toward a legislative initiative
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Topics: Member Communities, Online Community

How to Generate Compelling Content Ideas for Your Online Customer or Member Community [Infographic]

Written by Joshua Paul | on July 31, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

When your private online customer or member community is in its early stages, you have to rely heavily on content as the driving force that brings people in. Your online community is not just competing against other communities and social spaces, but other priorities as well.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community

Where Do Associations Get the Most ROI from Private Online Communities?

Written by Joshua Paul | on April 30, 2014 at 1:35 PM | 5 minute read

Building community and generating member engagement fuel almost every business objective for your association. This includes producing research and content, advocating for your members, and continuing to provide education, support, and networking opportunities for your industry.

Without engaged members, your association has more difficulty efficiently serving its mission. In a way, your members define you. Members' interests, participation, and support (in the form of time and revenue) make what your association does possible. The degree to which members are engaged affects everything from legislative wins to event attendance to member retention rates.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

Creating an Association Online Community that Members Will Use

Written by Joshua Paul | on September 16, 2013 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

At a recent conference for association executives, I overhead the following conversation between two colleagues:

"We're planning an online community for our members"

"Then, we're going to need to have a social media strategy expert on staff."

"Why?"

"The people who manage our member benefits and keep our community engaged today couldn't possibly do it online". Never mind, I realize how silly that sounds when I say it out loud."

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Online Community Software, Online Community

Drive Online Community Engagement With Post-Event Live Chats

Written by Andy Steggles | on June 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM | 2 minute read

One of the great things about working with Higher Logic clients is learning from their expertise. With that in mind, this post will be the first of a series of posts highlighting top community manager practices.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Member Engagement, Online Community

Should Online Communities Be Open or Closed? It Depends.

Written by Andy Steggles | on May 9, 2013 at 9:30 AM | 2 minute read

An ongoing discussion I have with Higher Logic clients and see featured frequently on ASAE Collaborate is whether a private online community should be open to anyone or limited to members only.

Friend and client Roy Snell from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) makes a case for open community in a recent issue of Associations Now. He argues that "closing social media is like tying a horse to the front of your car and pulling it around," and that the more people participating in an org's online community, the better. He claims that in order to be competitive with public social networking platforms, an organization must have an open community, because if other, larger communities exist for the profession your organization represents, your members will congregate there and your community will become irrelevant.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Communities, Associations, Online Community

How Many Subscribers to Achieve Success in an Online Community?

Written by Andy Steggles | on April 3, 2013 at 10:00 AM | 5 minute read

Private online communities are a frequent topic of conversation on the American Society of Association Executives' (ASAE) private online community (disclosure: ASAE is a Higher Logic client).

Recently, an ASAE member posed the following question on ASAE Collaborate: "How many members does it take to have a successful Community of Practice (CoP)?"

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Member Communities, User Group Communities, Online Community

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