The Professional Association as Social Network

An association’s online social network has to be real to create meaningful continuity to its members. Superficial, provider-driven or disingenuous rationales for launching a social network are poor foundations for success.

A successful social networking community has to have a purpose toward a meaningful outcome to be successful. The more the members are engaged in the type of outcome the network delivers, the higher the level of success.

Professional associations have changed dramatically–these days their end-goal is not simply to recruit members, but rather, to continuously develop their membership. The more dynamic a member’s progress toward increasing levels of competence, knowledge and innovation, the higher the association’s retention rate.

An association designed around shared values increases the value of membership. As the staff, board of directors and members learn collectively, the value of the knowledge base increases and new needs for services and membership tiers become naturally apparent. Thus you have a self-sustaining community of peers working together to improve and evolve.

Ongoing learning, development and transformation of the association community regenerates the entire association membership model. Imagine membership not as the end product but as participation in a living and changing community; your gateway to continuous development–a laboratory for re-ordering and re-inventing relationships in ways that allow you and your membership to achieve better overall outcomes. An active and vital online social network can become an indispensable tool in creating a conversation between association members and staff, and can promote peer-to-peer dialogue, that will dramatically increase your association member’s sense of ownership, participation and most importantly, your member’s return on investment.

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