Social media, when used properly, is an excellent way to engage with your members. Facebook specialist Mari Smith said it best: “Content is king but engagement is queen, and the lady rules the house.”

If you’re wanting to understand how to use social media to better engage with your members, it’s pretty simple. You sign up. You follow your members. You talk to them. On Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn. On whatever platforms they are on.

People do business with people they know, like and trust, and the more you talk to them, the more they will get to know you.

How to use social media to increase member engagement

Social media engagement is a lot like dating. You wouldn’t marry someone the moment you meet them (unless, of course, you’re a contestant on that dreadful reality TV show! The one I loathe and my husband loves… yes, I often wonder how we ended up together!). You want to know them first. You go from sitting on the couch alone to registering on an online dating site to having a date or ten, to being involved. You might even get married and have kids! Or you might just move in together. This might all happen over a period of weeks, months or years. My point is that it takes time.

Getting to know, like and trust your members, and getting them to feel the same way about you, takes time too.

So how do you actually do this on social media?

Firstly you need to go where your members go. If they hang out on Facebook, you need to too. If they are all over Twitter, then what are you waiting for??

Next, you need to FOLLOW THEM. Like their pages, follow them on Twitter, connect with them on LinkedIn. You need to make the first move. Just like dating. If you like someone, TELL THEM. It horrifies me how few associations actually follow their members on social media. Whyever not??

Then you need to interact with them. Ask them questions, comment on their posts, answer questions. Start off just by saying hello. Don’t wait to be approached first, just jump right in and show your interest.

You might want to do something that will surprise and delight them. Such as the time Deb from Dello Mano sent my father a box of brownies and ginger biscuits after my mother died. She had never met me, let alone dad. And I have no idea how she knew he adored ginger.

Finally, you do it all again. And again. And again.

What do you talk to your members about on social media? How do you make them feel valued? What do you do to increase engagement? I’d love to know.

Mel Kettle works with associations, not-for-profits and businesses to help them communicate effectively and authentically so they attract, retain and engage their members and customers. To inquire about working with Mel, please email mel@melkettle.com or click here.

Pre-order a copy of Mel’s book, The Social Association – 5 key skills not-for-profits need to increase member engagement, generate ROI and create a thriving online community, published in February 2018.

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