Why Using Social Media Will Keep Your Association From Being Lazy

Associations Now published a piece on its website last week explaining that association membership is a two-way street and detailed the dangers of thinking of members as “my members”.

Here’s a great quote from the post,

“It’s true that, once a member has paid her dues for the year, that dues money belongs to you. But that’s it. The member’s time, attention, energy, and loyalty don’t belong to you. They never do. They must constantly be earned.”

What the author, Joe Rominiecki, is saying makes a lot of sense; members don’t have to engage whatsoever with their association if they don’t want to. Member dues are important (especially financially), but an association’s value is also bolstered by member participation in seminars, conferences, committees, lobbying and publications. And this is just naming a few times organizations rely on members to contribute.

In other words, complacency is a real association killer. An active presence on social media can help stomp complacency out, draw more members in and hold their loyalty and participation longer.

The big reason why this is true is, social media allows an almost 24/7 direct line to association staff and provides a forum where you can engage members in a two-way conversation. It’s almost impossible to be complacent with a consistent social media presence.

An organization is relaying news and promoting its services via Facebook, answering questions and replying to comments on Twitter, addressing recent issues and innovations with a blog and encouraging networking between members with LinkedIn. YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest are making all these pieces of information engaging and interactive. Oh, and associations are also doing all these things daily.

Here are some more concrete examples of how social media can get members involved and keep them from seeing their association as complacent:

  • Members will always have suggestions on how to make an annual event better. No conference is perfect, right? Twitter gives members a place to voice their suggestions and for the association to engage in a dialogue about these comments. Openness to change and improvement are the exact opposite of resting of your laurels.
  • Recognizing members who have been honoured with special achievements or awards definitely shows members that you don’t just appreciate them when their dues comes in. Profiling these members in an association blog or through YouTube is a great way to show association support comes all year long.
  • Introducing and moderating a weekly discussion topic on LinkedIn drives engagement, allows the association to identify obstacles its members may be facing and connects them with other members that may be able to share solutions, hands-on help or words of advice. This marks your organization as one that constantly supports its members and is always up-to-date on the issues affecting them.

These are just a few scenarios where social media can be used to help members daily and to show them that their association is not complacent and always operates by asking, “How can we continue to better serve those who are a part of this association?”

So just remember, membership is a two-way street and social media keeps the relationship between member and association from getting bogged down by traffic.

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