Engaging Members in a Digital Age

Your members are in control of their own experiences and have the ability to find information in seconds. Earlier this week, I had been working with a couple associations on their website strategy projects. During one of the meetings as the staff began to talk about the site content, the VP of Communications and Marketing said, “We need to realize that our doctors are going to Google Scholar and other places first to quickly find information…we are kidding ourselves if we think they are coming to the association website first for information.” We spent the rest of our time discussing how to create value for their members online.

In order to survive today’s ever-changing landscape, it is important for organizations to provide real time, personalized experiences.

Know Your Members. Not all of your members have the same needs or  wants from your organization. Use data and collect relevant information that will guide your journey to create more personalized experiences. Personalization takes a lot of work, thought and strategy. Spend the time needed to create the experiences that are right for your members.

Increase Satisfaction by Focusing on Your Online User Experience. Focus on how your members can better engage with you online. Today I received a call from an association who mentioned 30% of their customer service calls were login problems creating member frustration while these calls are taking away from other things the customer service staff can be focused on. Test out the customer experience for yourself, find the problems and make sure to solve them quickly.

Don’t Ignore Online or Offline Negative Member Feedback. As I have written about recently, your most loyal members are the ones that will be invested enough to voice their opinions. It may be tempting to ignore negative feedback, however, by listening to your constituents dissatisfaction you may be able to improve processes and/or create solutions for others who participate in your organization.

Use Social Media in a Different Way. Most organizations use social media for outreach and promotion. Social media strategies are typically focused on brand. Yet by reading online conversation and understanding your members behavior online, it can help you understand what types of products and services that you should be providing. Connect with your wherever they are online.

Try New Ways To Engage, Be Responsive and Take Risks. There are many tools that have a low cost of entry to use. For example, you can invite your members to use WordPress to create blogs for your organization, create new ways to interact by creating private LinkedIn communities, use Facebook and Amazon to sell products and explore other tools to use to engage. Try new things! Discover what works and keep doing it. Understand what isn’t working and stop doing it. Give your staff the opportunity to explore and discover new things that might be of interest to your members.

Let Your Staff Engage Online. Set a policy then allow all of your staff to engage with your members online through social media. They may have a question about an event or a problem with registration and post something on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Any knowledgeable staff person should be able to respond.

There are lots of opportunities. Start thinking out of the box and watch your member engagement improve.

For more information see http://www.orgsource.com or visit http://www.orgcommunity.com.


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