The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

Social Engagement Tips: Recap from Higher Logic's Social Networking Success Tour

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Tue, Jun 05, 2012

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This guest post is from Alicia Leonard, Vanguard's Online Community Specialist.

Social engagement… where does it fit in your association?  How do you know when you’re doing it right?  The past few years of association conferences have made social a no brainer. But with everyone jumping on board, many orgs still miss the boat on effective social engagement techniques.

So why should we care? (Other than the sunk expense and time?) Here are a few good stats from Higher Logic’s Social Networking Success Tour:

    • It takes 3-6 touch points per individual to gain meaningful member engagement.

    • On the flip side, if a member is subscribed to just ONE discussion group in a private, they are 90% more likely to renew their membership in your organization.

That means it’s a pretty darn good thing the number of helpful suggestions on how to drive engagement and keep your community shiny and new is endless. Here are a few takeaways from this week’s session in Chicago.

    • Using social makes your web communications all about the member, and let’s face it, without members, where would we be?  Offering a platform where your members can collaborate and learn from one another not only makes them feel significant, but it adds another benefit to your member benefits list, as well as adding value to your organization as a whole.

    • Make ‘em feel special – add public recognition tools.  Add customized digital ribbons to individual profiles.  Use the Most Active Members tool.  Anything you can do to make people feel their efforts are noticed and appreciated is sure to result in regular return trips to your network.

    • Think MOBILE, because that is definitely the way of the future.  While daily life with a smart phone today may make you reminisce about the sci-fi movies from your teenage years, they are indeed a reality, and people are using them for their primary source of information.  So associations need to think about engaging their members on the small screen as well. The sheer number of folks using smart phones will make it clear that mobile is the way to go.  (Bad pun intended.)

    • Add QR codes to your attendee badges that link to each individual’s profile in your social network.  No more will your attendees have to worry about running out of business cards or trying to remember that really awesome contact they made but can no longer remember.

    • Make it easy for your members to learn.  Host a social lounge at your annual event where you can provide personalized hands-on training for your social network.  Or host regular webinars where your members can tune in to learn more about how to maximize their experience with your social tools.

    • Bribery works!  Run a contest to improve/generate engagement.  Offer up a prize for most engagement points in a predefined time period.  Throw a bone to get folks to complete their profile.  Once you do the math, you’ll find that the cost is pretty reasonable, AND now your network is busy with your members collaborating, sharing and posting.

Driving engagement is not easy; social communities are not simply a build it and they will come endeavor. Like a garden, an online community needs to be seeded to keep it fresh and relevant.   But soon, your members will embrace engagement and see your community as a valuable member tool… one they will gladly pay for with their renewed membership.

Alicia Leonard is Vanguard’s Online Community Specialist.  Connect with her at aleonard (at) or on twitter at @ilorax.

Topics: Tactics, web 2.0, higher logic, social media

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