Using Thought Leadership to Bolster Member Engagement

Associations have a lot to offer members, but few benefits are as great as the experience, knowledge and expertise of their thought leaders. 

 

Who is a thought leader? 

Thought leaders are pioneers who effectively use the information and experience at their disposal to come up with innovative ideas, predict trends and steer organizations down the path to greater success. In essence, thought leaders are trailblazers who interpret and extrapolate information to guide organizations on how best to achieve their goals. 

They do that by developing new methodologies, distilling available information to actionable tips, creating viable solutions to problems and predicting trends in their field. When it comes to associations, the presence of thought leaders can make a big difference in how members and prospective members think about the association. 

Bolstering member engagement through credibility

Bolstering member engagement through credibility 

Generally, people dismiss information if they perceive that it comes from a less-than-credible source. By leveraging thought leaders aligned with the organization’s mission, the association joins the few that have mastered the ins and outs of its field of interest, giving it instant credibility among members and non-members alike, and bolstering member engagement. 

 

Increases followers 

Thought leadership also boosts an association’s visibility, enabling it to gain increased followers. Individuals who join the association see the benefits they can reap in terms of advancements in their career.

That also increases engagement levels since members are excited about leveraging the wealth of experience and knowledge the association offers, knowledge that comes from and is exclusive to it. 

 

Establishing thought leaders in your association 

Identify thought leaders

To achieve those results, the association must first identify and establish thought leaders and create a culture that encourages more participation from members. While there are several ways to do that, a good way to start is by encouraging members to share best practices, propose solutions to challenges they have faced, or shed new light on a hot discussion or recent trend. 

Brainstorm with members

Another way to garner more thought leaders is by organizing brainstorming sessions where members can discuss current events, share new insights and develop predictions. The association can encourage members to publish their ideas in journals and association magazines, share on social media or write guest posts for the association’s blogs or other reputable ones. 

Create an ecosystem

An association’s membership comprises individuals who can come together to form an ecosystem of interconnected insight, perspective and ideas. Leveraging that ecosystem to create thought leadership within the organization will enrich the lives of its members and help increase membership engagement, leading to better retention rates. 

Start by looking to the future 

Thought leadership is of immense benefit to associations and can help increase followers and boost engagement. By encouraging members to develop and share solutions to industry challenges, weigh in on cogent issues, and write or share their thoughts on the association’s field of interest, it will be well on its way to making thought leaders out of all of its members. 

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