Growing membership is a crucial focus for many associations after the decline seen over the last few years.
One of the best ways to reach new potential members is via social media since, no matter who your ideal association member is, they will likely be on at least one social media platform.
Here are six ways we recommend using social media to grow membership in your association.
To get the best results from your social media efforts, you should first research your target audience to ensure you are using the best platforms and content to reach them.
1. Make social media a part of your omnichannel engagement strategy
A critical mistake often made by associations is that they only use social media as a sales platform or an independent information source for their members. Instead, social media should be an integrated part of an association’s 365-day omnichannel engagement strategy.
In essence, rather than focusing most of your social media activity and engagement around an annual event, you should be providing regular valuable and engaging content all year round.
This will improve your reach and performance on social media, and this will also demonstrate your value to potential members and help you retain existing members by staying front of mind.
2. Run social media ads targeting interests and job titles
Social media ads are an excellent avenue to explore when you want to grow membership in your association. Most platforms allow you to target users based on some variation of their interests and job titles – i.e. two of the main areas that make up an association’s member profile.
Having your research in place before running your ads is crucial to ensuring you get the maximum return on investment for your ad budget. Otherwise, you risk losing money on audiences who are less likely to become members of your association.
3. Use hashtags relevant to your association in your posts
Hashtags are a handy feature on any social media platform as they help your posts appear in front of audiences interested in that hashtag, even if they do not follow your profile.
E.g. Posts that use the hashtag #strokeresearch will reach users who are typically interested in posts with those themes and can help your association’s posts get in front of this audience.
The trick is to choose hashtags relevant to your content and audience that also have a high enough following to display to a significant number of users on the chosen social media platform.
4. Tag others in your posts
There are two significant benefits to tagging other users and profiles in your social media posts:
- Your association’s post will reach the tagged user’s followers (i.e. a larger audience)
- Your association will be viewed with higher authority by users through a connection with someone they already follow
By tagging others in your social media posts, you can usually find new potential members who are ready to trust and engage with you right from the start.
Not sure whom to tag or when to tag them?
- Speakers at your past or upcoming events to promote/praise their talk
- Meeting and event attendees to say thank you for a great session
- Sponsors and collaborators
- Other associations and researchers congratulate them on their outstanding work and achievements.
5. Get current members to talk about you on social media.
As well as tagging your existing members in your posts, please encourage them to promote you to their followers on social media actively. Many people can be hesitant to commit to membership fees based on the information from the association alone. Often, your existing members can provide the advocacy and testimonials needed to convert those who are unsure about joining.
Tip: Make promoting your association on social media as easy as possible for your members by creating a toolkit of existing image assets and copy snippets that they can use online.
6. Participate in industry conversations online
Put your association where your ideal members are already looking – in conversations about the latest developments in their field or industry.
Monitor relevant hashtags and other industry accounts to see what people are discussing so that you can get involved in the conversation when you have something valuable to add. By sharing an opinion that resonates with your target members, you can raise awareness of your association with the relevant audience, grow your following, and ultimately increase your membership.
Social media is one of many tools we use to help our associations grow their professional membership.
Get in touch with Congrex Switzerland for our support in managing and growing your association.
Congrex Switzerland is an international operating event agency delivering customised solutions for medical and scientific associations. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings as well as the management of associations to help them grow and prosper. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 70’000 delegates and manages the secretariat of several Swiss and European associations.