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Build a Better Digital Relationship with Members in 4 Easy Steps

Membership Audra Hopkins

With technology always growing, associations have the tools to reach every single member no matter their location. But are you doing all that you can to harbor a great digital relationship with your members?

Your association has a variety of tech tools that can allow you to build up your communication with members. From your social media accounts, to your association’s website, and everything in between, you do not want to miss out on all of the opportunities you have to create more engagement. And with a better understanding of the online world, you can create meaningful moments that members will hold onto when it comes time to renew.

So, are you looking to understand digital tools better? Is your association on the hunt for a way to strengthen its relationship with members through the online world? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone.

Many organizations are looking for a better way to use technology to connect with their audiences and members. And for those looking to learn, we’ve got a few easy steps to move your association towards a better future with your members.


1. Find your members online

To start engaging your members, you first need to understand where they hang out in the online world.

Finding your members through direct platforms and in person is an easy task. You can always call up a member if you’re looking to speak with them one-on-one. However, using online tools and technology can be a bit challenging in terms of locating members and reaching them with impactful messages.

Your association has a much better chance of reaching its audience directly and having a more personalized communication experience if it can find a digital platform that works for the both of you. You want something that is easy to communicate through, that members actively use, and that will allow you to send one message and not have it misconstrued by using multiple platforms. So, where do you look?

Well, if you’re looking for your member’s help, you can always consider sending out a survey.

Emailing out a communication preference survey to members will help you get down to the bottom of how your members are looking to be contacted. You can give members a list of options to choose from when it comes to digital communication and stick with methods that get the majority of votes. Or, you can ask members to write in their preferred method of contact, allowing you to cover all of your bases.

With this information, you can then move on to planning a digital communication strategy that meets members where it matters most.

2. Create dynamic messages

Once you know where to find your members, it’s time to create messages that they’ll enjoy receiving and find valuable enough to engage with.

In order to do this, you need to know a bit of information about your members. Who are they? What kind of things do they like and dislike? What information matters most to them? How do they like to be addressed? These are all questions you should like to have an answer to before moving forward.

For example, your members may be more drawn to visual messages over text. Perhaps they consider themselves to be more of a visual learner, in which case your association would fare well creating visual marketing materials to send their way over digital tools (think about resources like Instagram posts, helpful videos, and even live video calls).

Or, perhaps your members respond better to written messages like emails and social media posts. You can create different formats to keep the materials interesting- maybe even try creating a newsletter to keep things organized and entertaining.

Collaborate with your association’s marketing team and come up with digital marketing messages that members won’t be able to ignore.


3. Encourage members to reach out

For any great relationship, communication needs to be a two-way street.

Allowing your members to have just as much access to your association’s team as you do to them will help remove any communication barriers. With a place online for members to get in touch with you anytime they have a question or comment, you’re creating an open door- and a lot more trust for your association.

So, you’ll want to give your members the online tools they need to keep in contact and regularly communicate with your team. One great way to do this is to open up your association’s email inbox to your members.

This does not necessarily mean giving members access to business emails that you use to keep your association organized and functioning. While it would be great to speak to each and every member via email whenever they have questions, when it comes to larger associations that tactic would easily become overwhelming.

However, you can create a general email for members to contact you. With an email that collects member and non-member inquiries only, you’ll have one set place to answer these messages at your leisure. This will keep everything organized, allow your members to have their questions answered, and allow you to communicate with members when the time is right.

You can also try out alternate methods such as online chat rooms and virtual meetings. There are more than one way to give your members a way to open up, and you can strengthen your digital relationship in the process.


4. Incorporate engagement opportunities

While manually engaging with your association’s members can prove to be effective, wouldn’t it be easier if you had the tech tools to do some of the work for you?

To start, you can encourage social sharing on much of your digital content.

Placing social sharing buttons next to your content encourages members and non-members alike to promote your content to others. If those reading enjoy the information and decide it interesting enough to want to show others, you can encourage them to share that content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and anywhere else you find beneficial.

You can also create interactive content that members can take part in. For example, try creating fun quizzes and polls to send to members about topics they’ll find interesting. Then, when you have a large sum of respondents, you can share the results on social media and with members. This is a tactic that allows members to engage in a fun way with your association while also getting traffic to your website, content, or anywhere else you’d prefer it.

Creating a better digital relationship with members does not have to be a long process. In just 4 simple steps, your association can start to bring its membership closer together while incorporating in tech tools that so many are finding success with.

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