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4 Membership Trends Your Association Should Know About

If your association can stay up to date with current membership trends, it can combat the stress of keeping members happy. Make sure your association keeps an eye out for these membership trends.

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It seems like membership trends are always changing... and that’s because they are. 2017 was full of membership trends. As reported by GrowthZone, word of mouth marketing became a top method for membership recruitment.In addition, Networking took the prize for attracting new member to an association. Not far behind it fell education, advocacy, and internet content. However, with every new year means new trends. It’s time your association sat down and learned what 2018 hold for your membership’s success. Here are 4 membership trends your association should keep an eye out for.

1. Social media advertisement

With social media becoming oversaturated and new social platforms springing up each month, it’s hard to get your association to stand out. This is where social media advertisements come in to save the day.

As recently reported by Forbes, the age of free reach on social media is dead. There was a long span of time where companies could be reached organically through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, with recent algorithm changes and an overabundance of users on social media (approximately 2.62 billion to be more accurate), it seems that social media, especially Facebook, is no longer a free marketing tool for businesses.

So, what’s the alternative? Paid advertisements. With Facebook’s recent announcement of the new “Explore Feed”, it seems that businesses will have no luck reaching their target audience organically. However, with a paid advertisement, your association can reach members and new audiences without fail. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and many other social media platforms offer paid promotion options for businesses. Similar to other types of traditional advertising, social media paid ads help reach a specific audience.

The cost of these ads have gotten businesses a bit stressed. Since 51% of companies claim to struggle with lack of funding for social media ads, it might seem like social media ads aren’t worth the money. However, Facebook has rolled out some of the most precise targeting tools for social media ads ever seen. Your association can pinpoint specific audiences based on age, location, occupation, Facebook likes, and other areas. Consider allocating a section of your marketing budget specifically for social media advertising. It’s a sure way to reach a hyper-targeted audience as well as existing members.

2. Video popularity

We saw the rise of video in 2017, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicts 81% of all internet traffic coming from video by 2021. That’s a large percentage! That’s not all. Hootsuite reported almost half of businesses implementing video into their social content marketing plan. 26% planned on implementing video in 2018 - and your association should be apart of them. So, it’s clear video marketing has a place in any association’s membership engagement strategy. But what types of video content will help your association get the most audience interaction?

For starters, you want a high quality video. A video with poor content and quality is 62% more likely to cause customers to form a negative opinion about a brand. Minimize your chance of creating a bad impression by producing a high quality.

Lighting, location, and audio quality are all key factors of successful video production. Watching a video that is hard to see or hear can cause frustration and disinterest. However, a well-lit video that can be easily digested by audiences will help your association stand out. You also need to create videos that are both interesting and informative.

Solidify a call-to-action, deliver valuable information, and present it in a way that attracts audiences. Creating video content is another great way to stand out on social media- but don’t worry about numbers. You want to make sure your videos are reaching your targeted audience, not a large crowd. Quality views over quantity views is key. Incorporate video into your association’s content strategy to keep up with the ever growing popularity of video content.

3. Artificial intelligence

It seems everyone can’t stop talking about the recent advances in AI. What’s the big deal, and why should associations care? Well, according to Constellation Research, by the year 2020 the artificial intelligence market will amount to more than $40 billion. In addition, 80% of executives believe that AI has the ability to boost productivity. But where does AI fit in with your association? While it may seem like a technology wonder, it actually provides value when it comes to membership.

Associations Now reported on how associations are trying to incorporate artificial intelligence into their marketing and membership strategies. One key advantages AI brings to the table is through member matching. Typically, associations collect information about members through live events, surveys, or questionnaires. While these methods are valuable, oftentimes information can slip through the cracks and get lost. However, artificial intelligence can help store, organize, and track all of your association’s member data. Using AI for member matching can help your association stay on top of its membership while also saving time. AI can also be used to create personalized emails and newsletters, which help combat members who don’t have enough time for your association.

With artificial intelligence, your members could receive emails personalized to content they enjoy. While it seems like a far out idea, personalization tools already exist. One tool looking to create an easier life for businesses is Rasa. Rasa uses artificial intelligence to personalize content based on what content members open, click through, and consume. Consider using AI to enhance your association and bring better content to the forefront for your membership.

4. The member experience

With experiences becoming more valuable over time, it’s no doubt that member experience will become an important membership trend. Did you know that 88% of buyers claim they will pay money for a better customer experience? It’s true. Consumers are becoming more concerned about experience over cost, product features, and other important aspects of the buyer’s process. That trend does not differ for associations and their members. Members are looking for a better experience with their association. Member experience is all about engagement, communication, and problem solving. While this sounds like a tall order to deliver, with the help of tools it can be provided. You can deliver what members are looking for by providing a community for them to join. Whether online or in person, you want members to feel connected to your association and each other. One way to create this community is to create a Facebook page for members only. This gives members a solid course of discord to network, chat with other members, and stay connected to your association.

Another way to boost member experience is to ramp up your events. We know that great events can enhance your member engagement strategy. But they can also enhance member experience as well. Switching up your events can help members have an entirely new and enjoyable experience. Think about it- you can only go to the same museum exhibit so many times. This is why museums bring in new exhibits from time to time.

Similarly, you can only go to the association event a number of times before it loses its appeal. Try changing up your event location or guest speakers. Offer new opportunities for members to have an experience with your association. The idea of the experience is here to stay, so your association needs to keep up with it. Trends are constantly changing with the passing of time.

If your association can stay up to date with current membership trends, it can combat the stress of keeping members happy. Make sure your association keeps an eye out for these membership trends.