Keeping your association growing and vibrant requires continually recruiting and engaging with members. But, that can be tough to do when in-person events and meetings aren’t practical.
The good news is that there are highly effective ways to expand your reach online.
Here are three techniques for reaching more prospective and current members in a “virtual” environment:
1. Put your online community to work.
One of the greatest aspects of an online member community is that it goes beyond a one-time networking event. It connects members with each other and gives them access to relevant content year-round from the convenience of their home, office, or wherever they are.
Here are some ideas for using your online community to reach more members:
- Open your community to non-members. Giving non-members access to your online community helps to demonstrate the value of becoming a member of your association. But, make sure they don’t have access to the entire online member community. Use online community software that allows you to limit what non-members can see and how they can participate.
- Set up a new member group. Create a discussion group for your new members. This allows new members to get to know each other. It also gives your organization the opportunity to share information and participate in discussions with them. They’ll feel more welcome and be inspired to participate more.
- Recruit online community volunteers. Get members more involved by creating volunteer opportunities within the community. These can even be simple, one-time opportunities. For example, volunteers could sign up to get a conversation started or write a content piece to be promoted in the community.
2. Take your career center to the next level.
Job opportunities are one of the top reasons members join a professional association. Here are some techniques for using your career center to reach more members:
- Integrate your job board with your association management software (AMS). With this type of integration, non-members who visit your job board and sign up as job seekers via job alerts or account registration can be automatically delivered to your AMS as a list of new member prospects for your use in new member marketing and acquisition efforts.
- Connect your career center with your learning management system (LMS). With this type of integration, members visiting your job board can receive recommendations for courses and continuing education tied directly to your association’s learning offerings, providing additional opportunity for new learner and member acquisition.
3. Host virtual networking events.
In the era of social distancing, virtual events have become more familiar to us all. Hosting a virtual networking happy hour can offer a collaborative way for your members to stay connected and grow their networks while enjoying the benefits of an informal happy hour.
Here are some tips for hosting a virtual networking happy hour:
- Think “small”. To give everyone a chance to engage and contribute, keep groups small – no more than 15 people.
- Target late in the day. Later in the day is usually easier for most people to attend. Their work day is over, and the event offers a transition into their evening. Be sure to consider your members’ time zones when scheduling the event.
- Get the conversation started. To make sure the happy hour doesn’t start off in awkward silence, have a set of conversation topics ready to help kick off the event. These topics could be related to your industry or your association. You can even include some non-controversial current events or lighter topics to get conversations started.
Ready to take the next step?
YM Careers offer job board software and career center solutions to help you reach more members. Learn more: Explore YM Careers