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5 Member Engagement Must-Haves for Your Association

Member engagement is vital to the retention of your company’s membership. If you’re looking to increase member engagement for your association or non-profit, check out these essential tips.

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Member engagement is vital to the retention of your company’s membership. You work hard to create a strong relationship between your company and its members. You don’t want to see those members walk out the door from a lack of engagement. Member engagement and member retention go hand in hand. An active and engaged member in your company may feel inclined to renew in the future. It also might boost the chance of word-of-mouth marketing by those engaged members.

But, how do you boost member engagement? What are the best practices? If you’re looking to increase member engagement for your association or non-profit, check out these essential tips.

1. Identify what engagement means for your association.

Before you can boost your member engagement efforts, you have first to define what ‘engagement’ means for your association and its members.

While member engagement is a universal term, it can mean a variety of different things for each company. Defining what type of engagement works best for your association’s goals is important. Defining member engagement for your association allows your team to create smart, reasonable goals for boosted engagement.

But how is member engagement defined? It all depends on what your members respond best to. For example, maybe your members are highly active on social media. Or, your association’s emails may have a high open and click-through rate. Focus on platforms that members tend to respond well with.

Along with that, avoid engagement on platforms where there is little to no member activity. You don’t want to waste your efforts on a platform that doesn’t drive traffic to your association. Analyze what your members respond best when coming up with a team definition for engagement. This way, your association will be on the same page when preparing a member engagement strategy in the future.

2. Make new members feel welcome.

We all know how important a welcome message is to new members. New members might feel neglected or even ignored by your association without a warm welcome. But what are the most engaging ways to welcome new members to your association? How do you ensure members feel valued from the start?

A good way to start is to make sure new members have everything they need to start working with your association. Joining a new association can seem overwhelming, and you don’t want to intimidate new members.

One way to combat this is by sending a welcome email with relevant information and useful guides. You can include an FAQ, a booklet on navigating your association, or even past newsletters. Another strategy is to reach out to new members via phone call. A phone call is a personal way of letting new members know you’re available for anything they may want or need. It’s also a great way to get to know new members: Who they are, why they joined, and what they want out of your organization.

Welcoming a new member is a great way to boost member engagement from the beginning stages of membership.

3. Optimize your website for member engagement.

When was the last time you updated your association’s website? If your website isn’t attracting the traffic you’d like, it might be time for a change. 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content and/or layout is unattractive. You don’t want members leaving your website out of frustration.

Make sure your website is both easy to use and engaging. There are many different ways to do this. One way is to have a website layout that’s easy to navigate for users. Keeping your layout simple is best for maximum optimization. You don’t want users to feel overwhelmed by a complex or cluttered layout. Find a layout that conveys your association’s mission best.

Another way to optimize your association’s website is to provide multiple ways for members to contact your team. When surveyed, the most requested improvement from customers on the buyer experience was “better human service.” An open channel for customer communication on your website allows members to engage with your association at their convenience directly.

Having a mobile-friendly website is essential when it comes to user experience. In a February 2021 study, nearly half of the respondents stated that they're spending on average five to six hours using their phones daily, not including work-related smartphone use. Your association’s website should be accessible on a mobile device for this very reason. A website update can ensure enhanced member engagement opportunities for your association.

4. A brand partnership can interest members.

Has your association partnered with a brand before? If not, it could be the perfect solution to boost member engagement. Why is brand partnership successful? Well, the brand partnership is a form of teamwork. Working with a brand is a unique way to bring fresh content to audiences. It’s also a great way to create a successful relationship with another company.

So, what brands should your association work with? You want to choose a brand that reflects your organization’s goals and values. However, you also want a brand with which your members interact and relate. A brand that meets those standards allows a prime opportunity for a successful partnership.

The Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) found a good partnership to bring to its members. CARA teamed up with Mohawk College to bring members a certification benefit that engages current members and attracts new ones. There are many ways to partner with a brand that will engage members. One way to do this is to provide members with a special discount through a brand partnership. If you’re looking to keep it simple, make a promotion strategy with a brand. Promote each other’s social posts and collaborate on promotions to bring to audiences.

5. Connect with members on social media.

One of the most popular ways for members to stay connected to associations is through social media. With the technology world always on the rise, it’s important for associations to keep up with social media content for prime member engagement. Technology has changed so much about the association world, from networking to marketing and everything in between. This is why staying relevant on social media is vital to increased member engagement. There are a few different ways to approach social media use. Make sure to use channels your members actively use to communicate with them effectively. For example, if most of your members are active on Twitter, it would be smart to create a Twitter account for your company. However, if you have little to no membership base on a social platform like Snapchat or Pinterest, it wouldn’t be smart to market on those platforms.

Hashtags are another feature of social media that prove to be highly effective when engaging members. With that in mind, using a hashtag ensures your association can reach that percentage of hashtag users.

Research hashtags that are appropriate to use on social media. Hashtags relevant to your brand or performing well on media platforms are smart to use in posts. Using a hashtag allows your association to reach audiences searching for the same hashtag. Any member searching for keywords or hashtags you’ve used will find your content. A hashtag ensures a chance at optimal member engagement. Find ways to incorporate social media into your association’s member engagement strategy in order to stay relevant in the world of technology.

Hopefully, you’ve found something to think about in regard to member engagement. Once you put together a well-thought-out plan, your association can move forward in seeing an increase in member engagement. When forming your association’s next engagement strategy, feel free to try these ideas out.