As the staff of any national association knows, it is important to keep members informed, motivated and remind them of the importance/relevance of the association they belong to. Engaged members are members who care. Importantly, this engagement can also support your organization’s continued relevance and value to its members.
Though many members of associations automatically become members by default, meaning they don’t need to be persuaded to join or to remain members, associations should nevertheless strive to continuously prove their value to members. All members should feel like the association they are a part of is invested in them and that they matter. Further, it is important to provide members, new and old, with easy ways to relate to your association and find their place within it. Read on for three ways to engage members with their association.
1) Use Social Media to Create an Engaged Community
The power of simple, instant communication afforded by social media to bring people together is incredibly impressive. A key strength of social media is that it enables the creation of communities united by a commonality, in this case, a shared membership to an association. Your national association should see social media as an opportunity to create a community of engaged members.
Maintaining your social media accounts, with the help of a sound strategy, of course, will also aid your federation in appearing (and being) more relevant and approachable.
Once you’ve (a) made your social media accounts easy to find and (b) maintained activity on these accounts, you open the door for members to engage with you directly in an easy and convenient manner. Make sure to respond in a timely manner to show members that their national association values their input and cares about their needs.
2) Produce Visual Content to Engage
Large associations can seem complex to outsiders — even to their own members!
Infographics are able to both clarify and disseminate sometimes complex information while engaging the reader. They do this by delivering valuable information such as statistics and facts in an organized, efficient, and visually engaging way. Breaking down the association’s key functions or highlighting achievements (for example), into simple, well-branded visuals can effectively present how the organization works and benefits its memebership. Done properly, infographics have the remarkable ability to make potentially confusing or bland information nearly painless and even enjoyable to consume!
The advantages of infographics for national associations are clear: from highlighting membership benefits to sharing important news or history.
Unlike a blog article (which has its own list of virtues), infographics are more immediately immersive. A well-designed visual arrangement of information will immediately create an appealing environment for the reader and requires less of a mental investment than multiple paragraphs of words on a page.
There is a reason infographics have been trending for a long time: they are easy to share on social media. People like them because they are seen as low-effort/high-pay-off pieces to both consume and share. For that reason they are also a great way to extend your message to places it hasn’t been before. Strong brand awareness for any national association is an on-going concern.
3) De-clutter Your Website for More Engagement
Try visiting (nearly) any national association’s homepage — choose one you have never visited before. How do you feel? A little overwhelmed?
If you don’t know exactly where to look and what you want, you’ll find that navigating many association websites can be overwhelming. There is often so much depth and breadth of information in such a compact space, that it can be difficult to figure out where to begin. Imagine how someone must feel who knows little about your organization. Pairing things down and organizing information in a clean and logical fashion makes good sense.(Not everything needs to be immediately accessible from your homepage.).
By using social media to nurture a stronger sense of community, infographics to communicate important information clearly and appealingly, and an easy to use and informative website, you will be more successful at engaging your members than ever before.