Use Social Media or "Web 2.0" Tools with your Website to Enhance your Member Recruitment & Retention

We're in an era where club members want to be in the know and have the option to actively engage and provide input to their club’s existence. Some clubs are using tools similar to Facebook or LinkedIn to both communicate with prospects as well as to increase online exposure and interactions among members. However, these alone cannot effectively achieve the goal of maximum exposure and member engagement. By having a website, your club can enhance its public image and promote goodwill in the community. Also, it's a great way to recruit members while retaining the ones that are already a part of the club. Partner this with social media, your club will be well on its way to executing the ultimate marketing activity – building awareness!

Social Media as a communications vehicle:

Social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn can help associations get their message in front of a new demographic of prospects and members. However, it is important that clubs understand the possible benefits as well as the limitations of this medium. Success is often based on tailoring the message and approach to the communication channel. In this case, knowing what segment of an audience is using this tool helps to target the message as well as determine if it's worth the time investment. Successful users of these tools implement them strategically and make a commitment to use them in the long term. Some associations have even created full time positions to manage their programs.
 

Benefits:

  • Communicating with members and prospects where they 'live' online
  • Exposure to typically younger professional demographics
  • Show expertise and value by answering questions and engaging the community
Potential Drawbacks:
  • Blending the personal and professional—guidelines should be established for staff participating in these tools
  • Lack of customizability and branding to fit in line with organization

Social Media as an engagement vehicle:

By either setting up tools that allow members to communicate directly (similar to the above mentioned tools) as well as other 2.0 tools such as Blogs or Wikis, clubs provide additional avenues to engage members and help them receive value for their membership dues. You can always redirect those who find you on your social media sites to your website so they can get more information about what your club is all about and why they should want to join and stay.
 
Benefits:
  • Provides means for members to receive value through both generating and receiving additional content
  • Increases networking opportunities for members to connect with each other
  • Can increase frequency of 'touch points' with members and offer new opportunities for communications and reinforcement of value proposition
Potential Drawbacks:
  • Increased transparency requires organization support and buy in
  • Tools need to have a strategy and staff-support for success. While most tools are relatively easy to set up, integrating these tools into existing databases, and, most importantly, helping members generate the content for these tools requires time and effort for success.
See how the following clubs and districts are using social media to help drive website traffic and provide an avenue for member engagement:
Naturally, having a web presence isn't the only thing that current and prospective members consider when deciding about club membership, but it is a very important aspect. Each interaction (of any kind) with a member may determine if they stay or go. Engagement comes in many shapes and sizes — from completing a survey to attending a program to having the opportunity to participate in club activities and make a contribution to the community. The most important thing is to make sure that member engagement is a top priority in your club as it will secure the need and continued use of all online tactics, only leading to your club's success.

 
Adapted from ASAE Center


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