Keeping up with the new technology can sometimes feel like a full time job in and of itself, on top of all the work you’re doing to run your organization.
New membership trends and technologies are developing and you feel like you’re going to lag behind if you don’t try to implement all of it. But trying to do too much at once will most likely hinder rather than help your organization, so here are the four main areas for your organization to focus on within the next year in terms of tech:
Mobile Access to Content
The way that things are going, mobile is taking over desktop in Internet usage. This means that your members, and your potential members, will be accessing your website and content on the go more than they will from their desktop.
Associations and membership organizations should think seriously about creating a mobile friendly website for their members—if this is not done, information displayed on your website is much more difficult for people to find and the website is more difficult to navigate, which could lead to fewer member and/or event signups, and fewer online donations.
It’s possible also that if your website is not mobile friendly, your members will think that you don’t care enough to make it easier for them to access the information you’re providing and that you aren’t keeping up with technology.
If you need help with getting your organization set up for here are some good tips for going mobile.
Website Integration with Membership Management Software
If you haven’t updated your website since you first set it up, then it’s probably time for a change. Your website should produce good content and be a useful resource for all of your members.
Having a blog is a great way to do this, and membership management software systems are starting to incorporate content management into their systems to help organizations manage their websites and blogs. The content that you create should be content that is of great value to your members—update your website with statistics, information on the industry, any events, benefits, and meetings, and tips and guides. Start or re-start a blog, and regularly update it, even if it isn’t a big update—your members will appreciate that you are providing new information and keeping them up to date.
Make sure that you:
- Answer questions
- Share important industry information
- Provide frequent updates for your members
Here are a few software systems that incorporate website/blog/content management into their system:
Social Media Awareness
Social media engagement is becoming increasingly more important to get word out about your organization and increase awareness. Many organizations are beginning to use their whole staff and many different social media outlets to raise awareness for their organization and gain more members. WebLink International did a webinar on social media strategies for increasing retention and member sales that offers these tips:
- Create goals (e.g. number of followers, number of event sign-ups)
- Develop a content calendar to support your goals
- Go beyond Facebook and Twitter—see how you can use YouTube, Google + or LinkedIn to grow your social media efforts
- Listen carefully to your members and pay attention to their interests and also their concerns—use social media to have conversations and ask questions, and make sure to respond to your members’ questions as well
- Share important information with your members so that they have something to discuss
Here are some great tips and guides on how to best use the different social media outlets:
- The Proper Way for Your Organization to be on Facebook
- Twitter for Organizations and Nonprofits
- Five Steps to Getting Started with Twitter, for Organizations
- 5 Ways Non-Profits Can Increase Engagement With YouTube
- How to Use Google+ to Promote Your Nonprofit Organization
- 4 Simple Steps to Growing Your Membership With LinkedIn
- How to Get Donations and Volunteers by Engaging Members on Social Media
“Big Data” Analytics
Your software needs to give you ways to analyze your data and spit it back out in different types of reports to help you make educated and wise choices for your organization. It’s important to be managing and tracking key data, such as:
- What content is being viewed the most?
- How are your members and visitors viewing your site?
- Are your social media efforts helping to drive traffic to your website?
When you carefully track and pay attention to your website traffic data, you can use that to help you make decisions for the future, whether that means more website content or certain technology changes. Google Analytics can help you with that—here is a post on various questions that have been asked about using Google Analytics for association websites.
When you’re thinking about what technology to implement, ask yourself if the technology will improve your association and if it will help you to better serve and help your members.
Know of any more technology trends in the membership industry? Add them in the comments below!
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