I was in Melbourne over the weekend to facilitate a workshop with an association Board, to help them better understand how to communicate and engage with their members, and the role social media could play. My brief included helping them identify how they can individually provide ongoing support to the marketing communications team by using their personal social media accounts.

This Board, like many association Boards, is made up of a group of very enthusiastic, member-focused and willing-to-learn volunteers who lead busy professional and personal lives, outside of their Board commitments. Additionally, while they want to be actively involved, they are time poor and they mostly don’t have a lot of knowledge around how to best use social media.

to engage with your members

Image: Courtesy of Shutterstock

After my presentation on the benefits and positive impact social media can have on improving member engagement, we worked together to identify a number of ways they could provide support, without adding hours to their week. These included:

  • each Board member was encouraged to have at least one social media account, and which one they chose would depend on their personal preference – for most it will be LinkedIn, some are also active on Twitter
  • making sure their social media bio is up to date and includes their Board position
  • connecting with as many members as possible via LinkedIn and on Twitter and engaging with them regularly
  • sending a personal message when inviting members to connect, that mentions they are on the Board of the association and inviting them to connect and share any feedback they have relating to the association
  • following all the association’s social media channels and regularly liking, commenting on and sharing the association’s posts
  • regularly liking, commenting on and sharing members’ posts
  • spending ten minutes a day on the social media account of choice and using this time to have conversations with members and stakeholders, like, comment on or share interesting content published by the association and members, finding accounts to follow. It’s easy to find ten minutes a day – while you’re waiting at the supermarket checkout, commuting to work, in the coffee queue, while watching TV at night.

Other things you could do include:

  • divide up the membership so each Board member has a list of members they are personally responsible for engaging with – this could include following and engaging with them on social media, connecting on LinkedIn, seeking them out at events, calling them once a year to say hello
  • create a public Twitter list of members that all members and stakeholders can follow
  • create a member-only Facebook and/or LinkedIn Group for members to join and create networks
  • create a  member-only Slack workplace (it’s free) with channels for member interest groups, events, and other relevant topics
  • create a hashtag for use on Twitter and Instagram posts, and encouraging members and stakeholders to use it.

How does your Board support your social media efforts to engage with your members?

If you would like me to speak to your Board about the positive benefits and impact of social media please get in touch. 

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 call her on 0404 600 889.

Order a signed 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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