Digital Engagement for Associations: 20 Dos and Don’ts

By Association Adviser staff • May 22, 2024

In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital engagement, associations are continually challenged to connect meaningfully with their members, prospects, and sponsors. From strategic channel selection to leveraging emerging technologies, the path to effective engagement requires a thoughtful approach. Here is a recap of our webinar Digital Engagement for Associations: 20 Dos and Don’ts. These tips will guide your association toward success in digital engagement.

Perform a health check on your current digital engagement strategy and assets, and then use that information to decide on next steps:

  • DO an inventory on your digital assets: Take stock of all your digital assets, including websites, social media profiles, email lists, and more. This inventory will provide a clear picture of your available resources.
  • DO review and save historical data: Past engagement data holds valuable insights into what has worked and what hasn’t. Review and archive this data for future reference and analysis.
  • DO assess your association bandwidth: Understand the capacity of your association to manage digital engagement efforts effectively. Consider factors like staff expertise, time availability, and budget constraints.
  • DON’T be afraid to survey your members in a variety of ways: Gather feedback from your members through surveys, interviews, and polls. Understanding their preferences and pain points is crucial for refining your engagement strategies.
  • DON’T be afraid to ask for help: If your association lacks expertise in certain areas of digital engagement, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from external consultants or agencies.
  • DON’T think you know it all: Remain open to learning and adapting. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and there’s always room for improvement.

Identify the relevant channels for promotion and engagement to your existing membership:

  • DO identify the relevant channels and establish their purpose: Determine which digital channels are most effective for reaching your target audience. Consider factors like demographics, interests, and communication preferences.
  • DO establish a plan for cross-channel digital engagement deployment: Coordinate your digital engagement efforts across multiple channels for maximum impact. Ensure consistent messaging and branding across all platforms.
  • DON’T shy away from new or less obvious channels and strategies: Be willing to explore emerging platforms and technologies that have the potential to enhance your engagement efforts. Staying ahead of trends can give your association a competitive edge.
  • DON’T be afraid to use AI (Artificial Intelligence): Artificial Intelligence tools can streamline processes, personalize communications, and analyze data more efficiently. Embrace AI where appropriate to improve engagement outcomes.
  • DON’T feel the pressure to do it all: Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to digital engagement. It’s better to excel on a few key channels than to spread yourself too thin across multiple platforms.

Leverage digital assets to attract new members, sponsors, job seekers and more

  • DO create a digital version of every single member benefit that you can: Embrace the digital age by offering digital versions of member benefits. From online resources to virtual events, provide value in the digital realm to enhance member satisfaction.
  • DO find ways to personalize the digital experience per user: Tailor the digital experience to individual preferences to foster deeper engagement. Utilize personalization tools to deliver relevant content and experiences to each user.
  • DON’T over-automate: While automation can streamline processes, resist the temptation to over-automate. Maintain a balance between automation and human interaction to ensure authentic digital experiences.
  • DON’T forget your existing and prospective sponsors: Don’t overlook the importance of engaging existing and prospective sponsors through digital channels. Highlight sponsorship opportunities and provide digital advertising options to attract and retain sponsors.

Recognize the common pitfalls in the ever-evolving digital landscape:

  • DO pay attention to digital engagement, effectiveness, experience: Monitor digital engagement metrics to assess effectiveness. Track metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and email open rates to measure the impact of your digital initiatives.
  • DO get your team on the same page for digital engagement: Ensure that your team is aligned and equipped to execute digital engagement strategies. Foster collaboration and provide training to enhance digital literacy among team members.
  • DO set goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) around your efforts: Establish clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for your digital engagement efforts. Define measurable objectives to track progress and success.
  • DON’T shy away from testing budget on a new advertising media: Don’t hesitate to allocate budget for testing new advertising media. Explore emerging platforms and channels to reach your target audience effectively.
  • DON’T forget to leverage your technologies: Maximize the potential of technology solutions to support your digital initiatives. From content management systems to customer relationship management software, leverage technology to streamline processes and enhance user experience.

Digital engagement is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Associations must tailor their strategies to fit their unique goals, resources, and audience preferences. By following these dos and don’ts, associations can navigate the complexities of digital engagement with confidence and achieve meaningful results. If you would like to watch our webinar Digital Engagement for Associations: 20 Dos and Don’ts, click here

Want to discover how we can boost your member engagement? Request a meeting to discuss today!