As highly anticipated events such as annual meetings continue to be cancelled, associations are having to rethink their outreach efforts to find new and creative ways to connect, engage, and provide value to their members.
In fact, a recent survey conducted by Association Laboratory, found that more than half of association executives had made the decision to either cancel or postpone a face-to-face meeting this year.
While it can be challenging to replicate the same excitement and connection of in-person events, there are several impactful ways in which associations can still create meaningful engagement with their members.
Encourage Online Participation
Over the past few months as people have been spending more time home and online, it’s no surprise that the rise in social media participation has increasingly grown in popularity. Within the month of April alone, SproutSocial found that the number of incoming daily engagements increased by an average of 44 engagements across all social networks and industries.
Leveraging the popularity of social media is an easy and effective way to reach out and directly connect with members. Depending on your engagement goals there are a number of ways in which you can achieve this. A few examples include:
- Generate a social challenge – Develop a challenge that is unique and relevant to your organization. The topic you choose for your challenge could be industry related, professionally focused, or even personal. Encourage participation by having members record their efforts and post their videos directly to your organization’s social media platform.
- Relive Past Memories –Create a sense of nostalgia by having members share photos and memories from past experiences with your organization. This can be a great reminder of your member community especially if you’ve had to recently cancel a major conference or event.
- Develop Member Spotlights – Use your social platforms as an opportunity to showcase and highlight the amazing members within your organization. A simple way to incorporate this idea is to create a daily, weekly, or even monthly member spotlights. Your selected spotlights can be based on a variety of acknowledgement themes such as recent graduates, community involvement, milestone members, notable professional achievements, industry advancements, etc. Not only does this provide an opportunity for your current members to feel valued, but it also allows non-members to gain a better sense of your organization, who your members are, and why they choose to be a part of your community.
When it comes to generating online engagement, the possibilities to achieve this are truly endless. The key is to get creative, have fun and make it easy for members to connect with both your organization and their online community.
If you’re ready to jumpstart your online engagement strategy but find yourself in a creative slump, consider these tipsfrom Hootsuite as a way to kick start your creativity.
Create a Virtual Connection
One way in which associations can adapt to the cancellation of their in-person events is to consider moving to a virtual platform. Depending on the type of event this may be a quick fix, or it may require a bit more planning. Either way you should opt for a platform that’s both user friendly and functional for your needs.
Platforms like MOSAIC Learning’s Combobulate ENGAGE makes it easy for associations to customize event content and organize important details. So, whether you’re looking to host a smaller networking event, or a large-scale annual conference, your platform should be a vital tool that can help you achieve your engagement vision.
And while you may not be able to replicate every scheduled detail in your virtual setting, know that with some innovation and creativity you can still provide an impactful and meaningful experience to your members.
Assist Where Needed
During these times of uncertainty, many of your members may be dealing with a series of new and unexpected hardships. Events such as the loss of a job, financial strain, health concerns and more can undeniably create a whirlwind of stress and anxiety.
To help support your members’ look for ways in which your association can provide assistance and value to your members unique needs. For instance, offering career resources such as resume reviews, professional development courses and networking connections can help those who’ve recently lost their job feel confident and prepared as they begin searching for new opportunities.
Providing relevant tools and resources is another great way to show support for your members. Utilize your monthly newsletter or email communication to provide insightful content pieces such as health tips, ways to reduce stress, financial budgeting resources, recommended reading lists, and more.
Taking the time to think about your members and their current needs reinforces to your members that you genuinely care about their well-being and that you are there to support them.
If your association is currently looking for new and creative ways to enhance engagement with your members, let us help. Here at MOSAIC our expert team of marketers will work with you to develop a strategic outreach plan that not only adheres to the guidelines of social distancing but one that will also provide value to your members.