Member Engagement Tips & Tricks

It’s a new decade and the future is bright. Your association may be strategizing methods to grow your membership or expand your community’s reach. That you’re strategizing is promising in itself. It means you aren’t satisfied. You want to continue improving your efforts so the industry you serve reaps the rewards. That’s the key – not resting on your laurels.

Be wary of someone suggesting there is an ironclad method for growing your association. There’s no right or wrong way – it’s not so black and white. That you’re scrutinizing what you’ve done in the past and discussing what could be done in the future is half the battle. It means you care and you want to get better. Usually, when you want to get better and you put the effort in, you do.

Trying to figure out what your association’s next move should be in stimulating growth can be confusing since it will most likely involve trying something new. Trying to accurately project the outcome of a pilot initiative is really difficult, because it’s an unknown – an intangible. That doesn’t mean you should trial the effort. However, you should support it with something you do know.

While forging ahead into new territory, you should re-engage or more strongly engage with your existing community. It may seem like a simple concept, but maintaining consistent and impactful engagement with your current membership can, in itself, be a gateway to association growth. Beyond member retention, strong engagement creates satisfied members that interpret value and return on investment – and they won’t keep that satisfaction to themselves. Members that see great value in being a part of your community will spread the word. And, once word gets out, it’s only a matter of time before you see your membership numbers exploding.

So, the question now is, what can your association do to ensure strong engagement? There’s no short answer to that, and that’s a good thing. There’s no short answer because there are a million ways you can meaningfully engage with your members. However, we have mentioned three of our favourites here for you to consider. At the end of the day, the key is to keep it fresh and fun. When strategizing what type of engagement you want to deploy next, think about what initiative would most result in members attaching positive feelings with your community.

Face-to-Face Interactions
Exploit this type of engagement as much as you possibly can. Nothing will beat good old-fashioned face-to-face time between your association and its members. However, keep in mind that facilitating these in-person interactions is the most laborious of the options suggested herein. They usually require the planning of an event of some kind – which can be a lot of work but can also be worth it in the end. Note that not every event has to be this huge to-do. Sure, your association should host some larger events from time to time – and face-time should be maximized when they occur. However, you can achieve great interactions at smaller events as well. Just remember, whenever you have the chance to get in front of your members, don’t pass it up. We need to engage from behind a screen for a majority of the time because that’s the way it needs to be. However, it’s the in-person engagement that will leave the most significant and memorable mark.
Community Competition
Sometimes, the best engagement isn’t between the association and its members. Sometimes, the most meaningful interactions happen member to member. The key is stimulating an environment where inter-member interactions can take place. A great approach for making these types of interactions occur is through friendly competition. Whether it is in-person at an association event or outing, or conducted online through forums or message boards – setting up a competition or challenge for members to participate in is a fantastic way to build comradery and have fun while doing so. Should members have positive engagements with their counterparts, it will not be lost on them that your association is the entity that facilitated the opportunity to better connect with industry colleagues.
Online Interfacing
This will always be the most important form of engagement since it is the type that is most accessible to you at any given time. As stated above, exploit those in-person opportunities for engagement when you have them, but don’t ignore the great tool online interfacing can be when you are not right in front of your members. With the right AMS solution, your entire membership is right there at your fingertips – and, there are so many ways you can garner their attention in a meaningful and memorable way. Maybe it’s just a simple check-in, or maybe you’re providing an update regarding a new resource available to them through the association. Maybe you want to send them content they can interact with (like a questionnaire or survey), or maybe you want to invite them to a message boards chat or live webinar. Whatever the case may be, for a majority of the calendar year, your online community is, in fact, your community. Your members shouldn’t have to wait to hear from you just when an event is coming up. Staying on their radar in between events will simply augment the quality of engagements you are able to stimulate once an event comes around. Ensure you have a comprehensive and well-supported AMS so you may maintain the strong level of online engagement necessary to keep members interested. Guild has one of the most robust, customizable and supported AMS solutions on the market. If you’d like to learn more about how Guild can help your association engage more meaningfully, click here.

As stated earlier, there is no sure-fire way to grow your membership. However, taking care of your existing community is not a bad first step. Nurture your current members with the attention and engagement that will leave them with no choice but to conclude that your association is a supportive and valuable professional environment that benefits all who join.