Engaging Your Young Members & Prospects

If you aren’t considering young industry professionals in how you operate your association, you aren’t going to attract them. And, if you aren’t attracting the future generation of the industry you service, what does that say about your association’s future?

Your association needs to ensure strong engagement with young members and prospects to future-proof your standing in the industry. Failure to do so will result in a building belief that your association is becoming outdated, obsolete and irrelevant.

Below, we have provided a few tips for meaningfully engaging your younger members. It’s so important to keep them in the fold.

Young professionals are like sponges – they are thirsty for knowledge. Guess what? Being that you’re an association, you most likely have one of the most valuable assets available to young people already within your bounds – seasoned industry professionals with experience. Many of your members will have many years under their belt working in the industry some of your young members are just beginning their careers in. Exploit that resource. Ensure you create environments (whether virtual or physical) where young and seasoned professionals can create impactful relationships. In doing this, you’ll create a scenario where both rookies and veterans stand to benefit. Young members will obviously get to tap experienced members for the knowledge and information they are able to draw upon at a moment’s notice, while experienced members will gain the advantage of interpreting where the industry is headed based upon the young professionals who will grow to lead it. Mentorship and networking go a long way in keeping young members engaged in your association.
Career Opportunities
Making aware young professionals of career opportunities within the industry is a great way of retaining existing young members and attracting prospects. At the start of a person’s career, they may get the sense they are alone at sea. There’s a great opportunity to build their confidence by showing them your association is a supportive community that looks to bring people into the industry instead of excluding them from it. The more you can make a young member or prospect feel like you’ve got their back, the more valuable a resource you’ll be in their eyes.
YP-Focused Events or Break-Outs
You certainly don’t want to exclude or implicitly only include certain sections of your membership. Make sure you remain accessible to everyone. However, you can make it so certain events will be more appealing to young professionals. Ensure you gauge what your younger members would like to see at association hosted events and include those suggestions where applicable. Break-out social events are a great way to attract young members to conferences and will allow them to interact with similarly aged members in a setting they find entertaining.
Relevant Social Presence
Ensure your association has a presence on the social media platforms your younger demographic makes use of. If they don’t see you on the platforms they’re interested in, they may start to believe that means your association is outdated or out of touch. A great social media strategy will be cognizant of the platforms that are most digested by your association’s target audience and will engage within those forums in a meaningful way. What do I mean by meaningful way? Well, I’ll discuss this a little further in one of the following tips but each social media platform has its own culture and content presentation style. These need to be nailed for each, or your content will come off as disingenuous or out of place.
Professional Development
As stated earlier, any advantage young professionals can exploit is a big deal for them. Providing professional development courses or e-learning programs will be seen as a gigantic value proposition to young members. E-learning is a fantastic way to add knowledge and expertise to your repertoire in a brief period of time. Any resource that can help young professionals get a leg up on the competition and support them in their career development is going to be aces in their book.
Tailored Content
Whether it’s website blogs or social media posts – ensure some of your content speaks their language. For example, the writing voice you use on LinkedIn should be much different from the one you use on Twitter or Instagram. Wherever your content shows up, the reader should interpret it as being appropriate for the platform it was published on. Content that is out of place will not garner the impact you are looking to achieve.

Young members and prospects just want to see that you’re considering them in the things your association does. They understand you need to speak to a large swath of people, coming from a variety of experience levels. However, they will definitely lose interest if it’s clear you’ve never shown any interest in attempting to engage with them or bring them into the fold.

The best way to communicate with any member of your association, no matter their experience level, is through an AMS. Guild provides the most user-supported, customizable and resource rich AMS on the planet. If you’d like to learn more about Guild’s offering, or would like to schedule a live demo, please click here.