How do you grow an online community for a small trade association's 2000-something members?
This isn't as much of a "forum" like metafilter or a hobby/lifestyle message board - more of a professional "Blackboard"-style setting. The actual community has already been implemented and is live - now it just needs activity.
The organization wants it to be a vibrant and bustling online community for discussions and networking between it's members - what steps do they need to take to get to that point?
I've read about the "1% rule" - that only 1% of visitors are going to be really active, and this sort of scares me because with only 2000 or so members (and you must be a member to access, the content is also password protected.), were talking about only 20 active members - if we can even draw that many. These association members are likely not power users.
What is the strategic course of action here? My initial thoughts/research leads me to believe that we need to require all internal/association staff to start posting relevant content and hot topics extremely frequently over a few weeks/months, THEN start promoting it to members ("launching it" ) so they see how active it is and are drawn in...but it can't be that easy. Right? I'm so worried this thing is doomed.
What else do we need to look out for here? Also, any links/resources are appreciated. It's tough sifting through all the "social media guru solutions" bullshit. I already read Matt Haughey's
article on growing an online community and it's great, but it's also a decade old and I want to know what else is out there. Would also love to hear about anyone's personal experience getting a community up and running - especially more professional ones.