Close your inbox, log off of Facebook and take a few minutes to focus on some things you should be doing right now that will impact the future of your association. Here are five key areas to get you started:
- Engage your members on-line in social communities. It has never been enough just to have a social media presence, or even just one channel as your favourite. Your members and your community expect more. They expect you to communicate through the channel of their choice. Engagement goes beyond promotion. In fact engagement is not about promotion, it is about sharing ideas and responding. Pick some topics, even controversial, relevant to the topic domain of your association and start a dialogue. Subscribing to some thought provoking websites (Ted Talks, Mashable, Techchrunch) that consolidate and curate content can spark your creative juices. Linking and sharing some of their articles is an easy way to start a discussion about a trending topic. Allocate a few minutes of each day on your calendar to feed and groom your social channels.
- Engage your members offline. Use the telephone, social events, meetups and events to have some in-person face time with your members. A perfect time to pick up the phone is when you receive an email from a member. They might be surprised by the phone call, but I guarantee it will go a long way toward building member loyalty.
- Talk about the Elephant in the Room. You know the ONE! Every association
has its elephant, some are sacred cows masquerading as elephants so as not to be discussed! Communication becomes so much better when you tackle those tough decisions. Whether it is declining event attendance, financial woes or other pending doom, there is a good chance that some smart people in the room will have a solution. But it won’t be apparent if no one is having the discussion.
- Do all things SEO daily. Blogging, META, keywords, tagged photos, organic and paid search, otherwise known as feeding Google are critically important in today’s association world. Your association is competing with for-profit entities that look and feel like non-profit, but believe me, they are out to make a buck and they are investing in technology, digital marketing and other tools to beat you at the game.
- If you’re not doing the above 4, then run for the hills. You and your association may be in danger of losing your relevance in a world where fast paced changes in technology and easy access to expanding knowledge domains could lead your members to believe they can get along quite nicely without you.