What Are Member Engagement Apps & Community Platforms?

What Are Member Engagement Apps & Community Platforms?

It’s no secret that your organization’s success depends on an engaged community of members who are connected, communicating, and participating — consistently. Of course, nurturing this kind of commitment to your organization is often easier said than done.

However, member engagement apps and community platforms are empowering organizations to rise to this challenge by setting up your community with better ways to communicate and more opportunities to engage and interact.

We’re going to review what these platforms are, how they work, why they are essential to your organization’s mission, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

By the last line of this blog post, you should feel confident in the capabilities afforded by member engagement apps and community platforms, eager to integrate them into your event management strategy.

What is a Member Engagement App?

A member engagement app is a specialized application designed to facilitate and enhance interaction among members of a particular group, organization, or community.

These apps aim to keep members engaged by providing a platform where they can easily communicate, participate in discussions, access resources, and stay informed about the latest news and events.

By leveraging the convenience of mobile technology, member engagement apps help organizations build a more connected and active membership base.

What is a Community Platform?

A community platform is a digital space designed to foster connections, collaboration, and engagement within a community. These platforms provide various tools and features that allow members to interact, share ideas, and build relationships.

Community platforms often include discussion forums, social networking features, event management tools, and resource libraries, creating a comprehensive environment for community members to engage and collaborate.

Why Do You Need a Community Engagement Platform?

Engaging members is a significant challenge for many organizations. Without a dedicated platform, maintaining regular communication, fostering collaboration, and encouraging participation can be difficult.

A community engagement platform addresses these challenges by offering a centralized space where members can connect and interact. The benefits of using such platforms include:

  • Increased Engagement and Recruitment: A dedicated platform makes it easier for members to stay involved and participate actively, which will help your organization drive recruitment.
  • Improved Communication: Streamlined communication tools help keep everyone informed and connected.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Members can work together more effectively, sharing ideas and resources.
  • Stronger Community Bonds: Regular interaction and collaboration strengthen relationships within the community.

Types of Community and Member Engagement Platforms

There are various types of platforms designed to foster community and member engagement, each offering different features and functionalities. Some common categories include:

  • Social Networks: Platforms like Facebook Groups or LinkedIn Groups that provide social networking features.
  • Collaboration Tools: Software like Slack or Microsoft Teams that facilitate real-time collaboration and communication.
  • CRM Systems: Customer Relationship Management systems that help manage member information and interactions.
  • Specialized Community Software: Platforms like Mighty Networks or Tribe that are specifically designed for community building and engagement.

Fun fact: The Community Brands 2023 Association Trends Study showed that while creating an organization-wide member engagement strategy is a top priority, only one-quarter of association professionals actually have actually done so.

→Check out our whitepaper: 10 Ways to Increase Member Engagement with a Mobile App and discover how easy it is to harness the power of mobile app technology.←

Features to Look for in Member Engagement Apps and Community Platforms

Not all apps are created equal, which is why it’s essential, when choosing a member engagement app or community platform, to consider the features and functionalities that will best support your organization’s needs.

This can be a real challenge; in fact, choosing the right event technology is one of the five biggest challenges to achieving event goals, according to the Community Brands 2024 Event Trends Study.

Focusing on these features should help guide your decision:

  • Discussion Forums: For facilitating conversations and idea sharing.
  • Messaging Capabilities: For private and group communications.
  • Event Management Tools: To organize and promote events.
  • Member Directory: To easily find and connect with other members.
  • Analytics: To track engagement metrics and measure success.

Benefits of Using Member Engagement & Community Platforms

Implementing a member engagement or community platform can lead to numerous positive outcomes for your organization, including:

  • Increased Member Participation: More opportunities for engagement lead to higher participation rates.
  • Improved Communication: Centralized communication tools make it easier to stay in touch.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Members can work together more effectively and efficiently.
  • Stronger Community Bonds: Regular interaction helps build a sense of community and belonging.
  • Better Resource Management: Centralized access to resources and information.

→ See the value of member engagement and community platforms in action by downloading our case study, which shows how STLE increased its member engagement by 97% with our Mobile 365™ solution. ←

Choosing the Right Platform to Increase Member Engagement

Selecting the most suitable member engagement platform for your organization involves considering several factors, but be sure to focus each one under the lens of your organization’s unique needs and goals:

  • Scalability: Ensure the platform can grow with your organization.
  • Customization Options: Look for platforms that can be tailored to your specific needs.
  • Integration Capabilities: Choose a platform that integrates with your existing systems.
  • User-Friendliness: The platform should be easy to use for both administrators and members.
  • Cost: Consider your budget and the value the platform offers.

FAQs About Member Engagement & Community Platforms

In addition to the features and benefits covered thus far, the following are some of the questions we commonly address when discussing member engagement apps and community platforms with our clients.

Pro-tip: We recommend bookmarking this as a handy reference in the event that you need to secure leadership buy-in for your organization’s community engagement app.

What Can a Member Engagement Platform Help You Do?

A member engagement platform is a tool designed to help organizations effectively interact with their members. Here are several key functions it can facilitate:

  • Communication: Streamlines communication between the organization and its members through emails, newsletters, forums, and chat features.
  • Engagement Tracking: Monitors member interactions and engagement levels, providing insights through analytics and reports.
  • Event Management: Organizes events, webinars, and other activities, enabling members to RSVP, participate, and provide feedback.
  • Content Management: Distributes relevant content such as articles, videos, and resources that are valuable to members.
  • Surveys and Feedback: Collects feedback through surveys and polls, allowing organizations to understand member needs and preferences.
  • Personalization: Offers personalized experiences by tailoring content and interactions based on member interests and behavior.
  • Community Building: Fosters a sense of community by providing forums, discussion boards, and social networking features.
  • Reward and Recognition: Implements systems for rewarding active and loyal members, enhancing motivation and engagement.
  • Membership Management: Manages member profiles, renewals, and billing, ensuring a seamless experience for users.

How Do You Build Member Engagement?

Building member engagement involves several strategies that focus on interaction, value, and community. Here are some key steps:

  • Understand Your Members: Conduct surveys and gather data to understand member demographics, interests, and needs.
  • Provide Valuable Content: Share relevant and high-quality content that addresses members’ interests and challenges.
  • Facilitate Communication: Encourage open communication through forums, social media, and direct messages.
  • Organize Events: Host events, webinars, and meetups to create opportunities for members to interact and learn.
  • Recognize Contributions: Acknowledge and reward active members through recognition programs, badges, and other incentives.
  • Create Opportunities for Collaboration: Foster collaboration among members through projects, committees, and group activities.
  • Regular Feedback: Continuously seek and act on member feedback to improve services and meet their expectations.
  • Personalization: Customize interactions and content to cater to individual member preferences and needs.
  • Build a Community Culture: Promote a culture of inclusivity, support, and shared values to strengthen the community bond.
  • Use Technology: Leverage technology to automate processes, track engagement, and provide a seamless member experience.

What Are Community Platform Examples?

Community platforms are tools that facilitate interaction and engagement among members. Some popular examples include those you’re likely already familiar and working with, such as:

  • Facebook Groups: A widely used platform where members can create and join groups based on shared interests.
  • Slack: A messaging app that supports community building through channels, direct messages, and integrations.
  • Discord: Originally designed for gamers, now used by various communities for voice, video, and text communication.
  • Mighty Networks: A platform that allows organizations to create their own branded communities with rich engagement features.
  • Discourse: An open-source discussion platform that provides forum-style interactions.
  • Circle: A community platform designed for creators and brands to build and manage member communities.
  • Reddit: A network of communities based on people’s interests, where users can post, comment, and vote on content.
  • LinkedIn Groups: Professional networking groups where members can share content and engage in discussions.
  • Vanilla Forums: A cloud-based forum software that offers customizable and scalable community solutions.
  • BuddyPress: A WordPress plugin that transforms a site into a social network with community features.

TripBuilder Media: The Mobile App that Takes Member Engagement to the Next Level

By carefully evaluating these factors as we’ve presented them, you can choose a member engagement platform that will effectively take your organization’s online community to the next level.

You’ll soon realize that member engagement apps and community platforms are invaluable tools for fostering connection, communication, and collaboration.

By leveraging these technologies, your organization will undoubtedly enhance member engagement, build stronger communities, and achieve greater success.

Let our team help you transform the way you communicate and engage with your audience. Schedule your personalized demo today!






Michelle Schweitz