Solely relying on email as a form of communication with your membership causes an incredible inefficiency and increases the likelihood of miscommunication making it harder to achieve your mission.
Reply by all email hell. We’ve all been there.
If you’ve served on a committee of any kind, I’m sure you can relate.
Email goes out with an important document. 18 people are CC’d on the message.
One person writes back. Then another. Then another. And then, yup you have it, another.
Even worse, someone makes a change to that document and sends it back to the group email. Boom, there’s another email message to 18 committee members.
Now all committee members have to sift through the gobs of emails to understand what they need to do.
About half the people take the time to read through the string of emails. The other half reads just the last email and didn’t download the important document. At least a few people have the wrong, or older, version of the document.
And there you have it. Reply by all email hell.
It’s pure chaos in email communication. Oh, and if the lucky recipients of the reply by all email use Gmail, good luck. The way Gmail stacks email messages that are part of a long string, it’s very easy to bypass that important email you wanted everyone to get.
Relying solely on email as a form of communication and collaboration with members and groups that make up your membership organization is simply a bad idea.
When you are trying to communicate with a group of people, email is actually counterproductive. It has been proven that email causes a increased levels of stress and anxiety. It doesn’t automatically categorize subject matter making miscommunication much more likely.
Email is also much more likely to cause communication problems based on human error. For example, a committee member might not know who to CC on the email. Yes, committee meetings can help to bring everyone back on the same page with communication, but wouldn’t you rather spend your meeting time focusing on more important things?
So how do you avoid reply by all email hell?
How do you avoid miscommunication with member groups?
If you don’t rely on email as a means of communicating with members, what do you then rely on?
Get a piece of paper out, or use your phone, whatever.
Write down a list of all the groups that make up your membership. I’m not just talking about your committees, but think about how you could segment your membership. For example, by interests, by responsibilities, or by type (such as affiliate member).
The first part of avoiding reply by all email hell is making sure communication is relevant to the group(s) of people you are communicating with.
Next, create the groups you wrote down inside of your Social HubSite.
Import or invite members into into the designated groups you’ve setup inside of your Social HubSite.
Consider all the different ‘post types’ you need within each member group. Think project management (for committees especially). Think documents. Think ideas. Think meetings. Think about a Q & A board.
With premium add-on’s available with your Social HubSite, the possibilities are almost endless with the type of communication you can setup within each group.
The more relevant ‘post types’ to make active in each group, the easier it’s going to be for members to access information they might have missed through email notifications.
Great example: at Phase 2 Solutions (the company behind Social HubSite), we have groups for each department. Sometimes there are 30+ messages going back and forth in a days time. Some are around documents. Some are just general messages. Most of the messages are team members replying through email notifications from the system.
If I can’t get to my email during the day, I know I can at least go the group inside of our Social HubSite and grab whatever information I need. This might be viewing recently uploaded documents, seeing a full string of messages at one glance (without having to sift through emails separately), or responding to discussions within projects.
Within each group you can set default notification email frequencies. For example, immediate, daily digest or weekly digest. Group members can adjust their own notification frequency to respond at a time that is more convenient for them. This is definitely helpful for that person who gets bombarded with emails and instead of reviewing them, simply avoids them because of other priorities going on at the time.
Whether a group member decides to reply directly by email or directly inside the community, information is still stored in one place, your Social HubSite.
Last thing to touch on regarding where you store member communication…
Using separate systems for things like project management, ideation, or even documents can cause a major disconnect from the fact that information is store in separate places. Not to mention members and staff having to keep track of separate passwords to these other programs.
I understand that you might have so much information in separate places that it might be hard to move everything into one place. This is where setting up premium add-on’s through Social HubSite, such as the Google Drive document viewer, makes sense.
Social HubSite also has several other integrations with popular services such as Evernote or Basecamp so you can keep members coming to one place (your Social HubSite), but not losing the information on these other systems.
I understand that setting up groups and making communications efficient requires strategy. Technology alone will not solve your problems. It’s a combination of strategy and technology that will make it happen. That avoid member mis-communication. That will help you get things done with members is a more efficient, productive and enjoyable way.
If your ready to cut to the chase and start improving how you get things done with members, simply click here to get started with Social HubSite for free!