Any business, whether its Starbucks, Apple or a small, regional association, relies on the repeat customer. These are the people who come back again and again, the loyal few who, as a member organization, make up the foundation of your association’s success.
The same concept of building loyalty applies not just to the overall mission of an organization, but to the individual parts of the organization as well. When we look at social media, building engagement on your association’s accounts is the first step in making your online efforts successful, but generating that engagement over and over again is the key to a sustainable and impactful online presence.
Here are three ways associations can endear themselves to members so they will engage with its social media accounts more than once:
Respond And Be Fun About It
Nothing kills the buzz of engaging with an organization on social media like not getting a response. When your association doesn’t recognize an attempt at an interaction from a member, it tells that person they are not important enough to engage with. If they made to feel like they’ve been relegated to an afterthought, members are unlikely to try to engage with your association again.
Respond to any engagement (unless of course it is troll-like in nature, in which case, ignoring the obvious bait is recommended). This can be as simple as a liking a common or retweeting a member’s post that mentions your association. This is a good first step, but if you really want to get members in the mood to talk to you again, go that extra mile. Tweet an actual response. Say thank you or ask a follow up question. Be fun with your response. Be witty or add a pun to your response. If being clever isn’t your forte, add a picture or a GIF when responding. Members will appreciate the time and effort you put in and will be more likely to engage with you again.
Keep Your Finger On The Pulse
Think about this for a second; the liveliest conversations you have at the dinner table, bar or coffee shop are probably about topics you find most interesting or affect your life the most. This seems fairly obvious, but it’s an often overlooked cornerstone of generating return engagement on social media. When you post content or get into discussions about the most relevant and interesting topics for your members, they are more likely to come back time and again to talk to you about these topics.
The key in keeping your finger on the pulse of your member’s most talked about topics is to do your watch and listen. Spend some time looking at what your members post about, what topics produce the longest conversations online, what questions are being asked on forums like LinkedIn, what members are blogging about and what issues keep popping up in offline discussions. Once you have gathered this information, you can develop content that speaks to the needs, wants and interests of your members a lot better than throwing out a wide variety of content and hoping it appeals to your audience.
Spread The Love
If people get a better-than-expected return on investment from something, they usually tend to keep investing in that thing. The same holds true to social interaction. When a member engages with your association on social media, they probably expect a response and maybe some helpful advice or a friendly follow up. When your association goes a step further, it can mean a big difference in getting that member, and many more, to keep the conversation with your organization going.
The best way to reward those members who engage with your association beyond expectations is to spread the interaction past the single point of engagement. For example, give a shout out to the member who engages online with your association the most every week through your various platforms. Have a space on your website, newsletter and magazine where you republish the best interactions with your members from social media. Share their interactions for all to see and give a friendly word to them while you’re doing it. All of this helps shine the spotlight on a member and makes them feel special, which increases the odds that they will return to engage with your association more than just the once.