First impressions go a long way.  Before you take the time to roll out your social community to your members, you want to make sure that its going to make an impression on them. After all, if they check it out and its empty, they’re not going to want to come back.

Follow these key steps to get your social community off on the right foot.

1. Create bios for all your members

Statistics show that the strongest member participation comes from members that have bios and profile photos.  Unfortunately, members are not inclined to set these up.  But who actually does the legwork to set up the biographies does not actually matter. If you’ve got bio info or at least profile photos of your members, set them up yourself so that when the member logs in, they feel right at home. 

2. Create areas for your members to go

Don’t make your members work for something you want! You invited them here, not the other way around. Welcome them to your social community with areas that focus on content they will be excited to see.  Whether these are special interest groups, dedicated forums, private committee sections or other focused content areas, make sure you offer them something of value.

3. Start the conversation

Ever been in a meeting or on a conference call when a question is proposed to a large group and no one responds?  It’s not because they don’t have answers – it is because no one wants to go first! Get the party started by roping in other staff or a few carefully chosen members to discuss topics, ask questions and populate your social community with content from the get-go.

4. Appointment social community/forum admins

Members need to know there is value in proposing a question to your association’s community.  Value is not only determined by quality, it is determined by timeliness!  Ever have an important question that you need the answer to now – not next week?  To ensure no question goes unanswered and that feedback is beneficial, appoint a few key people as community admins that monitor and respond to all requests/questions.

With these ideas in mind, your social community will be up-and-running in no time!