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An Unexpected Way to Bridge the Generational Gap in Associations

By: Christian Britto 16 Nov 2016

Is your community management strategy multigenerational? 

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Community management and its wildly varying styles can spell life or death for an online community. And while community managers have the power to breathe new life into their member base, an aspect of their jobs that we don't often hear about is how they can leverage different generations to create an active and creative environment in their community. 

Every generation brings their own set of experiences, preferences and skill to the table. But the generational gaps in technology usage are becoming less and less prominent with each passing year.

Associations can take advantage of the baby boomers' adoption of technology (as their main demographic) with millennials willingness to join and be a part of something greater than themselves (as a much sought-after demographic).

How can you pull this off? An online community where members (and potentially non-members) can retreat to for information, sharing, debate and entertainment

With that being said, every generation tends to think differently about the ideas of community, joining, membership and participation. 

Evening out the playing field 

Millennials are often thought of as the “Holy Grail” demographic for most content marketers. It’s an understandable mindset considering their comfortability with technology, digital consumption, and the disposable income that comes along with their age bracket. However, it is important to reach beyond the 18-34 demographic and remember the high usership of teenagers, adults, and seniors in the digital space. 

Online communities are proven to be powerful tools to even the playing field for members to share information and voice opinions without feeling like there is a hierarchy or authority they need to worry about. In an online community, everyone is equal. 

Passion is contagious

The domino effect of engagement and action is real. Millennials are joiners - but there seems to be a hurdle stopping them from speaking up and engaging in online communities. So why aren't they as involved? Associations are too focused on retaining membership levels and pleasing their existing base that they are neglecting millennial-based engagement strategies. Millennials can be the spark that gets your community producing more user-generated content on a regular basis. They are a pillar of many online communities and most often the "champion users."

Inform them, appeal to them, and allow them to see the benefits they stand to gain from tapping into your online platform. Only then will they take ownership of their engagement and  let them take ownership of their involvement and help foster more activity in the community.

The psychology of community

Remember that generational profiling is yet another pair of binoculars you need to look through. Although it is a useful exercise to draw out insights, you can never rely too heavily on blanket generalizations. That being said, take the time to think about how your online community can invigorate the complex, multi-layered identity of your association and what you can do to inspire your base across the board. 

Are you equipped and versatile enough to strategize a more multigenerational approach to community management? If not, are you able to identify if doing so would present value to your constituents? These observations and insights draw out what opportunities these behavior changes could present to your company and help you plan multigenerational content and community engagement more proactively moving forward.


Christian Britto

Written by Christian Britto

16 Nov 2016 in strategy, membership, community

Christian is the Operations Manager at rasa.io

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