Help your members get the most from online communities - OCO Connect

Help your members get the most from online communities

How do membership organisations connect with their members? It used to be email, still good for important tasks, but really, how many people read an email newsletter? Around one in five is the answer.

Social media is typically the new space, your members are probably already there, and setting up and managing a group is usually straightforward.

But welcome to the world of social media: advertisements and promoted content; links to content decided by an algorithm; other people’s personal lives; and perhaps most importantly – your data is not your own.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some social media Luddite, it’s a great tool for catching up with friends. Not for membership or cluster organisations it lacks the capabilities and benefits of a dedicated platform.

Three keywords that explain the benefits of platforms over social media based solutions are:

  • The information and interactions have a relevance to you.
  • You can trust who is on the platform and where the information is coming from.
  • The platform exists to improve the value of your experience, not to sell to you.


Finding the signal in the noise

I’m not curious about Forex trading. While I’m happy for the Ecosystem Enabler who got a new job, I’ve no idea who they are beyond being a contact of one of my contacts. I don’t need to download a risk assessment template.

Noise is those distractions and unwanted content that pop up on social media all the time.  After spending less than a minute on LinkedIn, I’ve already found three examples on my own feed.

This is the advantage of a bespoke platform. Members are guaranteed that when they log into the platform they will only see relevant information from people and organisations that are looking to help them rather than sell them something.


Can you even trust the news?

Fake news is everywhere, or is it? Who knows.

Research has shown that 80% of US adults have consumed fake news, 62% of the internet is made up of unreliable information, and only two in 10 adults (22%) were able to correctly identify the tell-tale signs of a genuine post, without making mistakes[1].

Whatever your choice of statistic, the message is clear, there is a trust issue with what we see online. Trusted sources have never been more important, and having a place where you know you will find reliable and relevant information is worth the time it takes to sign up once.

This level of trust is especially invaluable for regulatory changes (when you need to know what is changing and what it means for you).


Who’s data is it anyway

Social media companies make a significant portion of their revenue by selling users’ data to data collection companies, who then sell it to other third parties for targeted advertisements. That explains those adds that keep popping up in your social media feed.

A better way to use personal data is to maximise the value to members. It’s their data after all, and they should have a say in how it is used and how they benefit from it. This won’t happen in the advertising-driven business model of social media, but with private platforms, members can have more say about how and why any data is used.


The best user experience

Imagine a social media network that provided you with only the information you needed, never bombarded you with adverts and gave you total control over how your data was used. This is what an online community platform can offer members of a business network.

If you are part of a cluster or membership organisation, it may be worth considering the use of a white-label business community platform to help achieve your goals. OCO Connect can help. Our White-Label Digital platform has been created to ensure that cluster organisations can have maximum impact from a set of carefully designed features.

Contact us today to find out more:

[1] Statista (2022) Fake news in the U.S. – statistics & facts, Central Statistics Office (2021) Household Internet Security and Information Integrity 2021; Ofcom (2022) The genuine article? One in three internet users fail to question misinformation