Associations=the original social network. Think about it. Most associations average a century’s worth of industry-specific knowledge and tried-and-true trade practices. They put people in contact with other people of interest, hand down valuable industry information through the generations and promote individual growth in the corporate world; all while simultaneously fueling the success of their given trade.
So what happens when new technologies and networks emerge on a daily basis, making communication between people of the same interest happen in the blink of an eye and surpassing the middle-man? This is a constant battle for associations in retaining members and gaining new ones, namely younger members who are used to this fast-paced lifestyle. No need to be a scaredy cat though, because there are steps to take in combating this and making new technological advances actually play in your favor.
In a digitally driven world, younger generations are coming out of the gate and into the corporate world with a whole wealth of knowledge on the newest digital media trends and applications. With the emergence of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ (not to mention all of the digital platforms they are available on), young adults are educated and equipped to blast out their thoughts with a quick touch of an IPhone/IPad. This being said, more and more organizations are keeping up with their corporate social media accounts. Why? Because one of the first things people do when researching a company/organization is go to their Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. and follow them! Keep in mind: If your association is going to have corporate social media accounts, be sure they are being updated on a daily basis. Also, be sure that whoever is handling said social media accounts actually interacts with their connections rather than just sending out information.
Offer online continuing education programs.
As an association, you want your members to know you are constantly offering them the tools they need to succeed in your industry. This is where online continuing education comes into play. Provide a 24-hour Live Learning Center Portal. A Live Learning Center Portal will engage your association’s membership by providing access to easy-to-use, valuable new offerings such as digital recordings of conference sessions and the ability to earn Continuing Education (CE) credits. Offer live webinars and post those videos to your Live Learning Center Portal for members to access at their convenience.
Update your members on a regular basis.
This is three-fold. The first step is to be sure your association is sending out a weekly or bi-weekly e-newsletter which offers the latest and greatest industry news, as well as any updates and upcoming events. Spotlighting employees and featuring relevant companies is highly encouraged. The second step is to constantly update your association website. Your website is a direct reflection of your organization. In other words, if a corporate website is stagnant, visitors will believe the organization is stagnant. If the site is being updated on a regular basis, visitors will view the organization as it is- which is constantly evolving. This will also make visitors more apt to repeat visits to see updates. The third step is to make your website mobile friendly. Since about 70% of individuals who surf the World Wide Web access their information via mobile devices, you want your website to be user friendly on those interfaces.
Once you put these tips into practice, be sure to remember it is a constant work in progress!