Finding meaningful and effective means of member engagement has long been a challenge of associations everywhere. Getting new members involved and keeping existing members active is one of the biggest obstacles faced by today’s associations, one that can often feel overwhelming given the limited resources available. Combine that with rapidly changing norms in both business and society as a whole, and associations are having to look for new and creative means of delivering value to their members.
CONSIDER ‘MICRO’ ENGAGEMENT
Sure, everyone is pressed for time, but did you know that, as a society, our attention span has decreased by 4 seconds since 2000 to an average of only 8 seconds, according to a recent study by Microsoft. Combine this with the increasing use of online resources for everything from shopping to socializing and social media becomes an obvious means of successful member engagement. Just remember, to be successful in the social media sphere, keep your posts informative, easy to digest and, of course, short.
CREATE COLLABORATIVE ENGAGEMENT
Conventions and networking events will always have a place in the business world, but with increasing responsibilities and decreasing travel budgets, today’s executive is traveling less and less. Networking is still key to success in everything from sales to growing your team, so offer your members ways to collaborate and network from the comfortable affordability of their own offices. Online communities offer on-demand, virtual networking opportunities that are low cost and high return. Unlike LinkedIn or Twitter, your association can offer a common ground and targeted audience that your members will appreciate for truly valued member engagement opportunities.
DELIVER DATA DRIVEN ENGAGEMENT
Data can be a valuable tool to engage with members, but data alone isn't enough. That data must be analyzed and transformed into palatable and relevant business intelligence that can be readily applied to the benefit of your members. When conducting surveys and studies, don’t stop at simply collecting the data your members desire. Be sure to provide a means for them to access and utilize it easily and in a manner that is meaningful to their individual needs.
Survival in today’s business world requires constant innovation and creativity and associations are no exception to this. Effective member engagement is one of the core pillars of a successful association. Approaching it with creativity and an eye toward the future will definitely pay off handsomely for your organization and its members.