In every client survey we do, the majority of participants rank in-person events, making friends in the community, or building a reputation as least important.
At the top (almost without fail) is getting good, quick, answers to questions and finding the information they need. Sometimes this also involves reading reviews and getting ideas on what products to buy/services to use etc…
How do we reconcile the idea people don’t want to make friends with the idea that we work in a community?
Accept the majority of your members don’t want to feel a sense of belonging with each other. Don’t push them to make friends or other social activities. Simply help them get the best information they can as quickly as they can.
Yet also recognise there will be a tiny group of members who want more.
They want to be recognised, they want to have access to you, they want to get to know other members. These are the people where the sense of community aspects really come into play.
These are also the people who will create most of the answers, resources, and information for everyone else.
These are your true community members, the rest are simply visitors.
There’s nothing wrong with either group, just be aware of which group you’re dealing with and what that group needs.