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Building a Lively Community in 60 Days

How enthusiastic are your association members? Whether it involves volunteering roles, campaign participation, sharing social media updates, or something else requiring active involvement, an engaged membership is what keeps an association thriving. If your membership engagement levels could use a boost, chances are you’d like that to happen as quickly as possible. Here’s how you can increase engagement and build a lively community in 60 days.

Start with a Plan

If you rush into trying to create more engagement without a plan, you’re less likely to succeed. Set aside a block of time and sort out:

  • Your aim. You want more engagement, but what will that look like? A more active online community? More participation in a specific event? More conversations on social media? Get clear about what you want.
  • Your methods. How are you going to achieve your aims? Read on for some ideas to get you started in the next section.
  • Your review process. How are you going to measure your results? What data can you use to let you know what’s going right, and what needs rethinking?

Choose Your Ideas

Don’t spread your resources too thin. There are many way to increase engagement. In time, your association will benefit from a well-rounded approach that covers many ideas, but first, start by focusing on a couple. You could look at:

  • Increasing your social media presence – an active social media presence that offers value to followers will give your association a boost.
  • Revitalizing your referral program – an easy-to-use referral program combined with rewards for your members will spread the word about your association.
  • Running contests or giveaways – who doesn’t love a contest? Encourage engagement with a contest that requires some input.
  • Building your online community – as well as social media, you can use blogs or forums to build a thriving online community with plenty of member involvement.

Think about where your members are most active and start there – you’ll be tapping into existing interest and talking to an audience who wants to hear what you have to say. Can’t see any areas that are particularly strong? Think about which area would best suit your association and current resources, and start there.

Provide Motivation

“Support our association” isn’t a clear motivation for members. It should be clear why engaging with you will benefit them. In some cases this can be quite concrete – refer a new member for a reward, or enter a contest to win a prize. Sometimes, the motivation will be more abstract – weighing in on a subject that has implications in their professional field, or joining in with an online community to connect with other members. In all cases, it’s important that you motivate your members.

Make Engagement Easy

People are pressed for time these days, so don’t make demands on their time with overly complicated steps. Engagement should be as easy as the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen. From forum sign ups to contest entries, make sure the process is as simple for your members as possible. Many of your members will be mobile users, so make sure your website is optimized for mobile viewing. You could consider developing an app or a specific, devoted mobile website to keep your association at their fingertips while browsing online.

With commitment and focus you can build a thriving community in 60 days. Plan your campaign carefully, decide on ways to reach out, make it easy for your members to engage, and watch your community grow.

Building a Lively Community in 60 Days

How enthusiastic are your association members? Whether it involves volunteering roles, campaign participation, sharing social media updates, or something else requiring active involvement, an engaged membership is what keeps an association thriving. If your membership engagement levels could use a boost, chances are you’d like that to happen as quickly as possible. Here’s how you can increase engagement and build a lively community in 60 days.

Start with a Plan

If you rush into trying to create more engagement without a plan, you’re less likely to succeed. Set aside a block of time and sort out:

  • Your aim. You want more engagement, but what will that look like? A more active online community? More participation in a specific event? More conversations on social media? Get clear about what you want.
  • Your methods. How are you going to achieve your aims? Read on for some ideas to get you started in the next section.
  • Your review process. How are you going to measure your results? What data can you use to let you know what’s going right, and what needs rethinking?

Choose Your Ideas

Don’t spread your resources too thin. There are many way to increase engagement. In time, your association will benefit from a well-rounded approach that covers many ideas, but first, start by focusing on a couple. You could look at:

  • Increasing your social media presence – an active social media presence that offers value to followers will give your association a boost.
  • Revitalizing your referral program – an easy-to-use referral program combined with rewards for your members will spread the word about your association.
  • Running contests or giveaways – who doesn’t love a contest? Encourage engagement with a contest that requires some input.
  • Building your online community – as well as social media, you can use blogs or forums to build a thriving online community with plenty of member involvement.

Think about where your members are most active and start there – you’ll be tapping into existing interest and talking to an audience who wants to hear what you have to say. Can’t see any areas that are particularly strong? Think about which area would best suit your association and current resources, and start there.

Provide Motivation

“Support our association” isn’t a clear motivation for members. It should be clear why engaging with you will benefit them. In some cases this can be quite concrete – refer a new member for a reward, or enter a contest to win a prize. Sometimes, the motivation will be more abstract – weighing in on a subject that has implications in their professional field, or joining in with an online community to connect with other members. In all cases, it’s important that you motivate your members.

Make Engagement Easy

People are pressed for time these days, so don’t make demands on their time with overly complicated steps. Engagement should be as easy as the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen. From forum sign ups to contest entries, make sure the process is as simple for your members as possible. Many of your members will be mobile users, so make sure your website is optimized for mobile viewing. You could consider developing an app or a specific, devoted mobile website to keep your association at their fingertips while browsing online.

With commitment and focus you can build a thriving community in 60 days. Plan your campaign carefully, decide on ways to reach out, make it easy for your members to engage, and watch your community grow.

John Foley, Jr

John Foley, Jr. is President and CEO of interlinkONE. interlinkONE provides software and marketing services for associations and professional societies to generate prospective member leads, increase engagement, and strengthen member retention. John is a renowned international speaker who passionately speaks to associations in the areas of transformation, multi-channel marketing, social media, mobile, and content marketing. Some notable association affiliations include Mr. Foley’s involvement as a board member and acting CMO for the recently merged Association of Marketing Service Providers (AMSP) and National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), as well as his membership with the Business Marketing Association and American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). He often takes part in the weekly Twitter chat for associations, "#assnchat,” and contributes content to many industry resources. Learn more about John at http://JohnFoleyJr.com, and how interlinkONE can help you at http://interlinkONE.com and http://MarketWithMAX.com.