In the past 10 years of working with associations, I’ve discovered one major flaw in the way they try to spark immediate member participation. This leads to members that only sit on your membership list, until one day they decide to leave because they “just didn’t have the time” or “didn’t really see the value for the money”. In reality you know the value is there, it simply requires their time and attention to realize that it exists. This all happens because of the way you communicate with members. Let’s discuss a few ways to avoid this situation and breathe life into your association.
Your Email Software Alone Isn’t Going to Cut It Anymore
First, simply relying on email campaigns to promote member engagement activities is not going to cut it, especially in 2014 and beyond. We live in a society where the average professional receives well over 100 email per day. We expect information to be available immediately. We also expect information to be available in a shorter, but yet more impactful way (video).
Participation on larger social networks, such as Facebook, is starting to condition people to this type of communication. But yet, we still send that same long email that is difficult to read while everything else is distracting us.
To help overcome this challenge in communication, here are 3 simple ways to gain the time, attention and energy from your members to encourage immediate participation.
1) Mobile Push Notifications
Think text messages and that little pop up window that shows up when you have a new friend request on Facebook. Whether you like it or not, this way of communicating will get the attention of your members immediately. They also won’t have hundreds of unread emails sitting next to your message. So think about that next meeting invitation, networking opportunity, committee update and association-wide message you need to let members know about right away. Mobile push notifications will help get your messages read and encourage immediate community participation.
2) Instant Video Recording and Publishing
As a leader in an association, there are usually updates that you need to make members and committees aware of. This could be progress you’ve made in a particular area (i.e. lobbying efforts) or a request you need to make. The key to success with this type of message is keeping it short and impactful. This is where instant video recording a publishing comes into play.
If you are using Social HubSite, simply click on the “Video” link from your activity dashboard, hit the red button to start and stop the video, choose the group(s) you would like to post the video in and click “Post Update”. Your video will be emailed/sent to mobile phones of members where they can watch right away. It doesn’t get much better than that!
3) Reward Members for Quick Participation
Use gamification (a reward system) to give out badges or even real prizes to members that participate frequently. For example, let’s say you want to increase attendance to an upcoming event. Using Social HubSite, create a badge or prize for the first 5 people that RSVP to the event. You might also award badges to members that have logged in, but haven’t participated yet. Yes, it’s bribing, but the goal is just to get their attention and time. Once they feel their efforts are appreciated they will want to do more. We’ve been conditioned to reward systems our entire life. Why stop now 🙂
Overall, applying even just one of these tactics will increase members participation significantly. Obviously, once you have truly engaged members that feel a part of the community, it becomes much easier to achieve the mission and goals you have set out for your association.
For help with setting up these tactics and to take a first hand look at how Social HubSite can help, click here to schedule a demo. We look forward to working with you!