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5 Out-of-the-Box Ways to Engage Members on Social Media

When I first joined Twitter in 2009, I was a 19-year-old concert junkie who thought it was the COOLEST thing to have a direct line to my favorite bands and their members. That summer, the Vans Warped Tour production team used the social media network to ask concert goers to volunteer for a couple of hours, in exchange for a spot on stage during the set of their choosing. Um, excuse me? 28-year-old me is still reeling over how cool that was. And without a tool like Twitter, it would’ve been nearly impossible to pull off.

Using social media as a way to engage an audience in unique and unexpected ways has been a no-brainer to me ever since. These platform’s very existence depend on interaction. And as a member-based organization, fostering a sense of community is in your roots. That will always be true, no matter how communication channels change over the years. The real-time, highly visible nature of social media is just what associations need to create meaningful and continuous member engagement.

Here are a few thought starters:

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Why should anyone join your association?

Posted by Sarah Hill

The benefits seem so obvious to you and your members, but sometimes it’s a surprisingly tough sell to potential new members as to why they should commit the time and money to your association.

In our experience with small staff associations, we’ve collected a few of the big FAQs that can be tough to answer as an association member or executive. If you get stuck with one of these excuses for not reaping the awesome benefits of your association, we’ve got you covered. In fact, we even scripted out the conversation for you. Don’t forget to jot down a list of the benefits unique to your association so you can be equipped with a thorough, complete answer when someone asks!

Why should anyone join your association? 

Q. Why is being a member of your association useful to me? I get plenty of networking and interaction with LinkedIn or other social media groups.

A. Social networking is an incredibly valuable tool for networking! We know that, because we participate in social networking ourselves. But you just can’t beat the value of a face-to-face meeting. A handshake and a business card can sometimes go much farther than an E-mail conversation, and you will love the meetings and events. We have fun, network, and come up with some amazing ideas. You can create relationships online, definitely, but they’re solidified in person!


Q. I work in a great office with a ton of well informed, intelligent, driven colleagues. Staying in the office is really the best thing I can do for my career.

A. It’s awesome that your coworkers are so great, and they will always be your first resource. But every company has some natural turnover, and wouldn’t it be great to interact with other members of your field who could eventually join your professional team if an opening came up? Also, some of the best ideas come from thinking outside the box. You’d be surprised how easily the ideas can flow when new minds meet outside of the office and bring them back to your desk.


Q. For just a little more money than your membership, I can hire a for-profit service or donate to a political group to accomplish the goals you’re promising with your association.

A. While there are several companies or political groups who could help you, our association offers our members the chance to reach goals themselves and be part of the effort directly. You could build business relationships and be involved in spurring positive change that could teach you some valuable lessons that you can carry throughout your career and put on your resume.


Q. I don’t have time. All I have bandwidth for is work, traffic, and time with my family. There’s no way I can possibly squeeze another thing in, and honestly I think the little relaxation I get is more important.

A. The work/life balance is incredibly important. But consider that our events aren’t always all business. We do have plenty of important work to do, but our association has fun too! Not to mention your level of participation is up to you. We certainly would love to have you wherever you have room to volunteer, but our association doesn’t want to take time away from your family or relaxation time. Our association wants to help with that balance, not tip it in one direction or the other! After all, we all do have lives outside of the association too.


These are just a few questions you’ll encounter, and you’ll face many more. Remember that membership recruitment starts with an honest, friendly conversation. Start talking!


If you want some help connecting with the generation of emerging leaders, check out our guide to connecting with "Generation Connected."

Click here to read our  guide to reaching

Topics: association management, small staff association, membership management

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