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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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Is Your Association Rewarding Good Behavior?

Posted by Christina R. Green

Your members have lives outside of your association and those lives shapes their expectations. You see that when they ask why your search doesn’t behave like Amazon’s or why your phone’s hold message doesn’t give approximate wait time.


These comparisons are exasperating but there are times when these mega-retail giants can help you shape your members' experiences in a positive way.

Encourage Good Behavior

One of the things Amazon does well, and it’s easy for an association to mirror, is it rewards its customers for behaving the way it wants them to by incentivizing desired behavior. With the growing popularity of Prime and its free two-day shipping, Amazon knew it would quickly exhaust itself. Enter no rush shipping. This option rewarded people who chose to delay delivery with a $1 credit on movies, music, or e-books. Smart move on Amazon’s part because it meant a larger delivery window for them and the promotional credit would be used against (another) future purchase.

Ways to Use Incentives

There are several ways to reward desired member behavior. Follow the give and get method. If you give members something they want, you’ll get what you want.


If you want members to pay before their dues expire make it worth their while. You’ll save on printing, mailing, and/or the time of emailing future reminders plus you’ll have money in the bank. You can do this by offering something free (like a PDF) or a savings coupon/promo code on an event ticket or store item. Think about something that will drive action but have only a negligible effect on your revenue.

Conference Registration

Most associations encourage early sign-ups by offering early bird pricing. You can also make early registrants eligible for a meet-and-greet with the keynote speaker or give them first access to a popular session or free e-book.

Social Media

You can use incentives to drive social media interaction. Don’t ask for shares or likes anymore (Facebook doesn’t like it). Create a contest where members become eligible if they answer a question to something you posted. You can also increase engagement in your online community by offering an incentive to contribute, update their profile, or join. 

Many sales people talk about the art of the ask and while asking is important and generally effective, providing people a reason to do something is even more so. 

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Topics: association leadership, member engagement, Association Views

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