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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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When a Member Just Isn’t Professional

Posted by Sarah Hill

If you read People Magazine, you know that often the most famous people have the worst behavior. Could you apply that truth to one of your members? And what do you do when it happens to you?

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Here are a few ideas.

  • Let it go

Maybe he or she just has a habit that’s personally annoying to you. Read the room and see if that members is being received with criticism. If not, drop it!

  • Find a position better suited to that member

An active member is nothing to sneeze at, so keep him or her engaged and helpful but perhaps in a position that deals a little less with the public and potential members and more with his or her friends inside the association.

  • Talk about it

Often a passive way of dealing with things is best, but sometimes you need to be direct. Just tell him or her what you’re thinking, but delicately. Remember that constructive criticism is one thing, but hurt feelings can sour a relationship possibly forever so be careful about what you say.

Of course a lot of this comes on a case by case basis, too. If your member in question is aggressive, a bully, disruptive or otherwise inappropriate for your group or your association's mission, it may be time for him or her to step down from membership. That, of course, is a VERY extreme case.

Finally, take a good long look at what you consider “professional” and your association’s current desires and needs. This is important: NOT your charter, not your mission statement, your association’s CURRENT desires and needs. Consider for a moment if perhaps what you may consider unprofessional or rude is just the way the industry is headed. Jeans at work, for example, used to be appalling but is now the norm in many workplaces.

That kind of introspection is tough, especially because it turns the blame back on you. However if the case can be solved with just a little education and open mindedness on your part that’s ultimately a simple fix. Plus it’ll help you be a little “hipper” as well!

For more ways to engage with your members, download our free guide to member engagement below. It’s 100% free, and just takes a click, so what are you waiting for?

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Topics: member engagement, member retention, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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