As a club or association that is member based and focussed you need to remain (a) relevant and (b) consistently and persistently in touch with your members. The digital world has changed the type and structure of engagement and heightened the need to utilise digital tools and social frameworks to reach out to members.
It’s fair to say that the majority of members of all clubs have some exposure to social media, whether that takes the form of social networking sites like Facebook and Google+ or within their workplace, using social collaboration and social business software.
The underlying premise of social media is to establish an environment in which to better engage your member community. Engagement and involvement spark innovation. Most clubs and associations continually struggle to remain financially viable (take golf clubs as a prime example) and in the main attempt to keep bad news from members for fear of losing them. People join clubs and associations because they believe there is benefit in it for them. They also believe and support the concept of keeping it financially viable – if the basis of the club remains relevant.
The digital revolution places clubs and associations in an extraordinarily strong position to engage their memberships in a variety of ways, such as:
- Facebook and/or Google+ presence to advise events, competitions, rewards programs, fundraising opportunities and campaigns, crowdsourcing
- Twitter presence to advise real time updates about member benefits, industry news, straw polls
- Youtube to show that great things are happening at the club
- other social network sites as are deemed appropriate or relevant
- Direct contact via SMS and/or email with links to calls for action via Facebook or organisation website
- Implementation of a social business framework where enhanced engagement and collaboration strategies can be created to engage your community
At no other time has there been such a plethora of mediums to engage a community.
A social media strategy must have the following attributes:
- attachment to a real member benefit
- outcomes with achievable timeframes
- involvement of both the executive as well as the broader members
- an effectiveness measurement
- an engaging and continuous commitment to respond to member input
- an attitude that seeks to ensure content is contextually relevant
- independent member to member conversations
- contribution and sharing of knowledge
Social media offers clubs and associations unprecedented cost effective opportunities to remain visible with their members and accessible by their members. It’s time to open the door to participation and community driven business development. Don’t leave the decision too late to realise that existence of the organisation is totally dependent on its members.