Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
New technologies have opened up opportunities and created challenges, fundamentally transforming customer experiences, operating models and the work environment.
Competition in every industry these days is at a fierce level. With so many online platforms to manage, not to mention your offline presence, it truly can be intimidating to stay competitive.
While all this may be overwhelming for some businesses, associations, in particular, have to fight hard to retain members and gain new ones. However, with all of this complexity to deal with, there are digital solutions that can help.
Associations should, therefore, be focused on creating a tech stack that’s geared towards strategically attracting new members, and then engaging them, so they stay.
Modern-age associations should be focused primarily on providing value to their members and even transforming them into active advocates. This all comes from value.
Associations can leverage technology to connect more deeply and give people indispensable reasons to stay with them. There are many platforms, mediums, tools and other touchpoints that can enable associations to connect on a deeper level.
We’re not suggesting that associations should use all these, but rather a subset of these touchpoints targeted toward their audience.
This post will look at the platforms, mediums and tools associations can use to engage and influence customers digitally.
1. Membership Directory
Associations can leverage their membership directories by integrating them into their website. Associations can even create a membership directory with Membership works, a membership software suite that makes it easy to manage all facets of member management.
Having a membership directory integrated into your website gives a better impression to your members and provides a dynamic experience for website visitors.
2. Membership Tools for Better Experiences
Associations need a membership management tool to automate processes such as event registration and membership payments. The traditional way of doing this was to do it manually or through email, both very tedious processes.
Management tools can make these processes much simpler, more efficient and more organized. You want to use a tool that will make managing members easier.
3. Staying Active on Social Media
According to the statistics, 94% of adults between 18 and 34 are likely to follow and engage a brand through social media. That’s the power social media has these days, and if you aren’t going social, you’re automatically at a huge disadvantage.
Of course, before going all-in on social media, you’ll have to decide which platform to leverage your efforts. Take some time to figure out which social media platform your members use the most.
It could be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on. Different platforms appeal to different audiences, so choose wisely.
Facebook is the all-encompassing market leader in social media, but don’t rule out Instagram and LinkedIn.
Make sure to post regularly on every platform, so your members stay connected and engaged with your association. Focusing your efforts on a single platform is a good idea, but posting from time to time on other platforms can also be helpful.
Facebook, in particular, is a platform that caters to every need. It’s a place to hold events, post job offers, look for recommendations, and even run a charity drive. It can’t do anything, so keep Facebook a core part of your social media strategy.
Here are a few pointers to focus on:
- Facebook is the market leader, and most people use it regularly. Make it a part of your strategy, even if your members are more active on LinkedIn.
- Update your social pages regularly, but choose one platform that will be updated daily.
- Sharing content made by others does not equate to being active. Share the content you think is shareworthy and valuable to your members. Sharing for the sake of being active will dilute your association’s image
- Create original content and share it on social media to communicate that your association cares about its members
4. Email Marketing
Many marketers believe that email marketing is dead. After all, with everyone glued to Instagram and YouTube, who has time to open their email?
It turns out that quite a lot of people prefer business communication to be carried out through email. 73% of millennials prefer communications from business through email. 99% of people check their email every day.
It doesn’t take a wizard to realize that email is still very effective in getting people’s attention. You need to utilize it the right way.
Associations that wish to use email marketing should focus on it first to retain their existing members. Some ways to use email marketing:
- Create content and distribute it through email
- Create a newsletter that updates members
The important thing to realize with email marketing is that it’s almost useless if you don’t monitor and track your progress. Keep an eye on your open rates and click rates. This can easily be accomplished by an email campaign management tool.
You should focus the email copy on your members first and then your association. Keeping members at the forefront of your campaigns will lead to deeper engagement and more loyalty.
5. Online Community Mobile App
With a members-only community mobile app, you can engage your members while on the go, regardless of the device they’re using. Offer members the ability to easily search contacts, participate in discussions, stay up-to-date with association news, and more.
Members who can engage with your association at any time and claim its benefits will understandably lead to higher engagement.
Mobile apps are also a great way to recruit younger members because their technological expectations are highly centered around mobile devices.
Members who download your app should have reason to continue using it. So keep pushing regular content and news updates through the app to keep them engaged.
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