Engaging Your Members Online

How active with your association are your members online? Does your membership participate in online discussions and contribute to promoting your organization and its mission?

In most cases, online member engagement could be improved. Use the techniques below to ensure that you are keeping your members, volunteers and board active and engaged in between meetings and events.

Create a private online group.

Whenever you add a new member to your organization, you should invite them to join a private online group for members where you can post announcements and they can chat with each other and ask questions. A Facebook Group is easy to create and will work for most people. Other options like Slack are also available.

Some of the benefits of using a Facebook Group for communicating with members rather than your Facebook Page is that members have the ability to create content and conversations in the group (rather than only the page administrators), the conversations can be private, and your posts there are far more likely to be seen by members than the posts you make to your business page, which tend to get lost in Facebook’s algorithm. Your more senior members can also help field questions from newer members, reducing the emails and calls you might otherwise be inundated with.

Create opportunities for your members to show off.

Some of the most engaging online posts are those that ask viewers to contribute their clever ideas. (People like to prove that they are funnier, smarter or more creative than everyone else.) If you are trying to come up with a compelling tagline for a big event, ask your members to contribute their best ideas. They will often try to outdo each other for the bragging rights of contributing the best idea.

Take a poll.

People love polls. It can be related to the mission of your organization (“What types of events would you be most likely to attend in the coming year?”), or simply be for fun and to spark conversation. It’s a good idea to have some posts and content that aren’t all about business all the time. You could poll users about their favorite 1980s comedy film or what 5 songs they would want to have on a desert island. Click here for lots of fun poll questions.

Host a contest.

Get your members engaged in some friendly competition to help reach a goal for the organization. For instance, if you are doing an online fundraiser, you could offer a prize for the member who raises the most money. Or if you are trying to spread awareness of an initiative, you could have members compete to get the most online engagement (retweets, likes, etc.) with the project video.

Incorporate video.

Video gets attention. Social media posts that contain video get more views, more engagement and more shares than posts without video, it’s as simple as that. Many organizations feel intimidated by trying to work with video because they don’t know how to edit the videos and make them look professional. But they shouldn’t be. Even an amateurish, shaky video with no editing whatsoever will generate views. Jump in and start taking some really basic, raw video of your event, ribbon-cutting or simply a statement about progress on a project. As you become more comfortable, you can investigate ways to edit and dress up your videos. Just get started.

Don’t forget about email.

The supposed demise of email has been greatly exaggerated. People still respond to getting an email in their inbox. And many people simply don’t go on social media very much if at all, but almost everyone still maintains an email address. Use emails thoughtfully though. People are less forgiving of overly frequent emails than they are of social media posts. Email is a great tool for promoting big events, newsletters, meeting minutes, critical updates, etc. Reserve email for your most important news and initiatives. Social media can be used for a little of everything. Click here for tips on writing emails that people will actually read.

Do an online audit.

Take some time to look at the insights and analytics of your previous online posts, your emails and your website. All the social media platforms have tools to see which of your posts are getting the most interaction. If you use a service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, you will also be able to see which links are getting clicked on most. Your website should hopefully be set up with Google Analytics so that you can see which pages or blog articles are getting the most traffic.

Compile this information in a spreadsheet and begin to look for trends and commonalities. You should be able to discover what types of content your members and the public are responding to. Use that to inform your future online strategy.

Mix it up.

Be sure to keep experimenting because there can always be topics or content that would be even more engaging that you simply haven’t tried yet. Your members will get bored and stop paying attention if you decide that one type of online engagement is a winner, and you overdo it by posting too many polls or memes. Variety is key.

Need some help planning and executing an online member engagement strategy? Contact us!