On my way into work a hot, little Beemer zipped by me. The license plate read, “I OWE.” I chuckled to myself (okay, I really laughed out loud and then had a conversation with myself about it. What do you want? It’s a long commute.) But it got me thinking about how that is really the idea behind social media. There was a time when sharing one’s financial status on the backened of a luxury car would’ve seemed crass and embarrassing, something no one would ever want to admit. But our society has moved toward a community of sharers, people who give intimate details about their lives to complete strangers.
We’ve read countless stories about people losing their jobs, unemployment and disability payments, even marriages over things that happen on public social networks. Maybe you’ve shied away from offering that to your organization because of concern over fall-out. Regardless of your personal feelings about online social networking, your members/constituents are probably already doing it.
Maybe you are hesitantly reviewing your options in regards to social networking. You’ve decided you need to do something, but what? Social media’s free, right? Why pay for it when you can get an intern to setup a LinkedIn account, Facebook page and Twitter login? The answer is simple — free social networking does nothing for you. To setup a page on one of the public sites is no different than going down to the local park, selecting a picnic table and suggesting your members meet there. It’s nice. They can come and go as they please, but you don’t own the table and you have no way of capturing what occurs in the park, other than if you are physically present.
You need information you can use. A private online community allows your members to interact in the same ways they can on the public networks (but with the benefit of a secure environment, free of pop-ups and ads) and it makes their interaction purposeful from an organizational business standpoint. Their collaboration and activities fuel your membership management software. You can now run reports on event attendees, top posters, top referrers and so much more plus you have legitimate, member-updated data. Harness the power of your members’ information exchange while providing them a vibrant user experience.
Membership Management Software + Social Networking equals
The Complete Online Member Community