How to Share the Benefits of Association Membership with Millennials

share the benefits of association membership with millennials

Adapting to the Generational Shift

Associations have existed in one form or another for hundreds of years. Generation after generation, associations have enjoyed a steady flow of memberships. In the past, there was no internet resource for professional development. At the time, associations were the main source for industry insights. Today’s generation has an unlimited source of information at their fingertips with access to industry articles, events, and networking opportunities. As a result, association membership has decreased over the years.

The key to increasing Millennial memberships is to find out what associations can provide them that they can’t do themselves. Previously, we’ve discussed who Millennials are, how to reach them, and how to build a community for young professionals. As a result, here are our six hacks to engage Millennials and increase association membership.

Build a Strong Social Media Presence

associations social media

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Most young professionals communicate via social media. A few of the ways Millennials use social media to create a professional community include:

  • Following industry-specific twitter accounts
  • Joining Facebook groups of young professionals in the area
  • Following Instagram accounts of other inspiring young professionals
  • Creating professional connections on LinkedIn

In addition to following people and joining groups, Millennials use social media to access information about upcoming networking events and industry updates. To these young professionals, social media is the most honest way to get information. It doesn’t make them feel as if they’re being pushed into a corner. Associations can use social media to increase awareness about associations and show them the benefits of association membership.

A few ways associations can improve their social media presence is by:

  • Posting consistent, relevant content
  • Investing in social ad campaigns that target a young demographic
  • Using social media influencers to build your social brand
  • Creating social media groups for young members

Find all of this overwhelming? Using an AI content curator, you can focus more on in-depth social campaigns and less on finding relevant content to post for the day. For instance, artificial intelligence collects social media content that is relevant to your target audience and streamlines the process of social media presence. Reach more young professionals with less time spent finding things to post!

Share Educational Content On Your Website

association blog content

In the past, websites were often used with the expectation of being sold something. Today, Millennials are looking for websites that provide more useful information and fewer ads. This is perfect for an association! The purpose of an association is to build a community of industry professionals, to share industry insights, and provide networking opportunities.

Likewise, this is exactly what Millennials are looking for (if they only knew it was available to them). Today, a lot of association content is only available to association members. Why not provide a few examples of what they’ll be paying for?

Here are a few ways to sample content:

  • Allow non-members to view blog content that is older than 6 months
  • Provide a streamlined newsfeed of third-party content
  • Give a short list of links to social media accounts of seasoned members

In other words, millennials are much less likely to pay for association membership if they can’t research what they’re getting beforehand. That is to say, this demographic responds well when given the opportunity to do their own research and weigh the pros and cons of joining a new professional community.

Are you interested in adding a newsfeed to your website, but not sure how much association time it will take up? We’re trying not to toot our own horn here “toot, toot”, but using an AI content curator is the quickest way to get it done. By using this automated technology, setting up a streamlined process for your association’s newsfeed is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Send Valuable Monthly E-Newsletters

e-newsletter for millennials

However, contrary to popular belief, Millennials are still using email. This group uses email for everything from work to informational newsletters. They do so to establish professional contacts, for job opportunities, renting a home, utility bill accounts, online shopping, you name it! Most of this generation has the e-mail app on their phone, and check it daily.

The key to sending emails to Millennials is this: don’t make them click the unsubscribe button.

That is to say, send engaging emails to help increase association membership. For example, here are some quick tips for sending monthly newsletters that prospective young members will enjoy:

  • Send easy to scan information that provides value
  • Make emails membership oriented, compelling them to join without making them feel like they’re getting an advertisement
  • Apply curated content that intrigues and is visually appealing
  • Do not send more than once a month!

Collaborate with Local Colleges

associations in higher education

Lastly, these young professionals do exist beyond the internet ethos! Find them at the point where they need your help the most. By partnering with local colleges, your association can provide value at the most stressful part of a young professional’s career. It’s the beginning. Millennials have few professional contacts, a very small resume, and a hunger to be successful. By reaching out a supporting hand during this time, associations increase their chances of making lifetime members out of this new generation.

Most importantly, make these opportunities known. Make opportunities available to college career development offices. Give information out to advisors in departments relevant to your association’s industry. Meanwhile, create career building opportunities for students and alumni who may still be searching for a community. After that, join career development fairs and enjoy some networking of your own! Bring seasoned members to meet and greets with students and create opportunities for students and members to network.

show millennials why joining an association will be beneficial

As an Executive Director, you know the benefits of joining an association. Using these hacks, you can share these benefits with young professionals and guide them towards greater career development. To sum it all up, build your social media presence, share information with prospective members, send out new and exciting industry developments, and get involved in the Millennial communities.

Marketing for Millennial Association Membership: Form the Perfect Campaign through Social Media

form the perfect campaign through social media when marketing association membership

Member Engagement Strategies for Connecting, Recruiting, and Marketing Association Membership

Before we get into marketing association membership for millennials, it’s important to know who millennials are. Millennials are the people who were born between the years 1977 and 2000. They make up 25% of the U.S. population, and now they’re old enough to become the driving force behind many markets. They’re tech-savvy adults who want to feel a peace of mind about where their hard-earned money is going.

Millennials receive a lot of bad press. They’re called entitled, lazy, and selfish. But oftentimes, so-called “millennials” are mislabeled and miscategorized.

While millennials often receive a bad rap, in reality, millennials are discerning, adaptive, and strive to become successful adults. They are changing, and yet, at their core, want the same things any other generation wants. So how can you market association membership to this fluid demographic while still staying true to the needs and values your association already has?

create the best strategy for marketing association membership to millennials

The key to coming up with a marketing association membership strategy geared towards millennials is to understand who they are and what they want from an association. And most importantly, it is to understand what your association can offer millennials that they can’t get somewhere else.

Think about how to reach this demographic on their own terms. More than any previous generation, millennials are highly in tune with the world of social media.

So here’s the million-dollar question: how can associations utilize social media to recruit this next generation of potential members to join your association?

Understanding Millennials Will Help Market Association Membership

marketing association membership to millennials means staying aware of their need to save money

Millennials Want to Save Money

Millennials make up a huge portion of the working population, yet studies show that they are making 20% less money than their parents did at the same age. Consequently, they also own less property and are much more likely to be renting apartments or homes.

One way to make a millennial an engaged member of your association is to speak to them on terms that are important to them. How can your association help them save or invest money? How can you help them plan for their long term future?

The greatest benefit of using social media as a way to garner the attention of younger members is that it is essentially “free”. While millennials are already paying for internet service and data plans for their mobile devices, it doesn’t necessarily cost them more to see and use Facebook, or YouTube, or access their email.

Marketing association membership using social media as an engagement point for interaction can be key because you’re meeting millennials where they already are.

millennials want to get recommendations when marketing association membership

Millennials Want Recommendations

Very closely associated with the idea of saving money, millennials want to know where their money is being spent. That’s why unboxing videos are so incredibly popular. Millennials are reading reviews, and getting recommendations from friends and family. They’re making less money, so they want to be sure that when they spend it, they’re getting what they want.

When using social media to reach your target audience, instead of using a call to action like “buy now” to link to your blog post or website, invite them to “learn more”. Millennials want to trust that their money is going to something they believe in, and something they actually desire, so make sure to speak to that need when marketing association membership.

when marketing association membership to millennials, consider their desire for incentives

Millennials Like Incentives

Another way to bolster your engagement with would-be millennial members is to incentivize them to recruit more assciation members for you. Give them a chance to win a prize, or just give them a prize, for referrals to new members. Everyone wants to be part of a community, no matter what age.

Motivate them to help create this community and simultaneously give prospective members something to believe in, like the judgment of their peers. A huge amount of millennials (84%!) say that user-generated content, rather than advertising, influences how they spend their money. Use this knowledge to your advantage when marketing association membership!

millennials want to be engaged with, not advertised to when creating a strategy for marketing association membership

Millennials Want to be Engaged With, Not Advertised To

Millennials are a very savvy group. They have a great sense of when they are being marketed to, and they’re not fans of it. They are 247% more likely to be persuaded by blogs or social-networking sites than baby boomers are. This is because they view these online communities as trustworthy. And, in a sense, they are right to believe this. In this day and age, social media is the democratic voice of the people; it’s 2019, which is reason enough for associations to strengthen their social media presence.

What they don’t respond to is traditional advertising in newspapers, commercials, etc. Millennials would much rather recommend their friends to read an informative blog post than show them a newspaper advertisement.

This goes back to their desire to save money. Millennials don’t want to feel like they are being sold something, rather they want to feel like they are becoming part of something. If emails are still a large part of your marketing association membership strategy, tailor it to the millennial mindset.

“Click-bait” subject lines are likely going to get your emails forwarded straight to the spam folder. Send an email that invites both your prospects and your new members to partake. Invite them to share, and become part of the front-running team. Use an email campaign that doesn’t make your members feel like customers, but makes them feel like they’re part of a community that cares about them and their individual beliefs.

An Engagement Plan for the Next Generation

form the perfect plan for marketing association membership through a strong social media presence targeting millennials

Membership Organization for Millennials

We can’t expect to continue with the same marketing association membership strategies forever if we wish to grow our membership base with the coming generations. Millennials want to make money, they want to be engaged, and they want to invest in the things that matter to them. This might sound like every generation, but the ways in which they try to achieve these goals are substantially different than Gen Xer’s or Baby Boomers.

Social media is where the younger generation lives, so use this new medium to speak to your new audience. Millennials are diverse, and fluid. It can be hard to market your association to target them because they are truly such a diverse crowd. But the first trick to catching a fish is knowing where to find it, so get your waders on and hop into the river.

The Secret to Retaining Millennial Memberships in Associations

continue to build the value of association membership

Continuing to Build the Value of an Association Membership

Associations have been providing value to industry professionals for decades. Today, Millennials make up a huge percentage of the workforce. As a result, many associations are being updated to meet the needs of this growing demographic. By this point, you may have found ways to promote your association to Millennials and increase young memberships. Retaining millennial memberships is the next step to association success.

Using social media, association newsfeeds, and email marketing, associations can attract new, young industry professionals to join. How can associations delight this new member base, and build successful long term member/association relationships?

Millennials are a generation that cares about community involvement. They are service-oriented, which means they like to spend their time helping others. At the same time, Millennials are used to a world in which they can access unlimited information at their fingertips. For this reason, this demographic expects fast information and short response times. As a result, Associations must both become more efficient and more community-based. Here are a few ways that associations can achieve this feat.

Building an E-Community for Millennials

e-community for millennials

While Millennials do have a preference for a close-knit community, it doesn’t mean the same thing today. In the past, building a community meant bringing people together in person for meetings and networking events. Today, a community can be a virtual experience. For example, many of today’s young professionals connect via social media. Job searches, professional industry chat groups, and one on one communication is all done online. Associations have a bad reputation of being stuck in the past, unwilling to evolve into the world of social media engagement and mobile compatibility.

The solution is simple. If associations can re-think their business model to become more technology focused, Millennials will be more delighted with membership. As an association executive would know, a delighted member is a long term member.

A few ways that associations can meet young members where they are is by:

  • Building an association mobile app
  • Creating member chat groups (Facebook group, slack, Gmail chat, etc)
  • Hosting private facebook events: volunteering and networking
  • Sending an E-Newsletter with all community information
  • Showing Millennial members how to become Instagram ambassadors for the association
  • Hosting online webinars for members to participate in together

By making it easier for young members to connect with other professionals across the country, associations build a greater and more connected membership. The internet is the perfect tool for associations to take advantage of, so why not use it? If time is a potential issue, there are plenty of streamlining services that can make this process much more efficient.

Retaining Millennial Memberships Through Volunteer Work

retaining millennial memberships

As mentioned earlier, Millennials are very service oriented. They have an interest in sharing crowdfunding campaigns on social media, donating to local causes, participating in charity events, and building experience assisting non-profits. They like to help create positive change for their community.

Associations by nature are a service-oriented community, which makes them perfectly suited for this new generation of young professionals. If associations can hone in on this aspect of membership, then retaining millennial memberships should be a piece of cake.

Some examples of this could be:

  • Hosting or connecting members to nearby charity events
  • Providing consistent volunteering opportunities
  • Crowdfunding with members to donate to industry relevant nonprofits
  • Share examples of the association’s community involvement in an e-newsletter

Giving these opportunities to young members will increase member engagement, help them build a strong resume, and fulfill that desire for community involvement. Plus, organizing these nonprofit fundraisers for members looks excellent when recruiting new members to join your association.

Use Technology to Become Faster and More Responsive

association member retention

For a generation that relies on instant information, being fast and responsive is extremely important. Where older generations used the library for research, today’s generation has had the internet. In conversation, Millennials are quick to pull out the smartphone and google a question to get an immediate answer.

Alternatively, for customer service, the younger generation is quick to use a company’s chat service for a quick response. Unfortunately, associations have difficulty adjusting to this “quick information” era. Resources consist of lengthy white papers and response time take a few business days. As a result, retaining millennial memberships may be a more difficult task.

This is where associations must evolve and put in the leg work to prove a new responsive nature. There are a few ways that associations can become more responsive for members and focus on retaining millennial memberships.

This includes:

  • Adding a chatbot to your website so association employees can respond quickly to members
  • Responding to messages and comments on social media
  • Responding to comments on the association blog
  • Answering any questions via email
  • A phone line to call during business hours
industry associations

In addition to being responsive, Millennials appreciate quick information that answers questions they may have in a short period of time. This doesn’t mean get rid of case studies and white papers! Plenty of members still appreciate an in-depth and industry-focused piece of writing.

It appears that to help with retaining millennial memberships, associations can create short videos, FAQ articles, listicles, and slideshow-style posts that get straight to the point. This type of writing is increasingly taking over the market, both for younger and older audiences.

Using streamlining services like AI, you can focus more on retaining Millennial memberships and creating healthy association/member relationships. Spend less time choosing posts for social media, deciding what news to add to your website, or what content to add to the e-newsletter with technology that makes the process efficient.

Reasons to Strengthen Your Association’s Social Media Presence in 2019

Increasing Your Association’s Social Media Presence Needs to be a Key Goal for 2019

In this digital age, your association’s social media presence is a crucial part of not just your digital marketing presence but also helps to create a perception of your association as a whole.

Your association’s social media presence is something that can be used as a communication tool to engage with members you already have on the various social platforms. It can also be viewed as a strategy to interest potential members, like millennials who are digital natives and known for seeking information and communicating online. If done well, an association’s social media presence can easily translate into membership base growth, and retention, as well as increasing the effectiveness of the time and effort spent on growth. And more importantly, your association’s social media presence and engagement is something you can do which can be extremely cost effective in terms of ROI.

So let’s take a look at the reasons more associations are strengthening their social media presence in 2019. And also, let’s take a look at what they’re doing to achieve this.

so many people are connected to their phones, and engaging online, which is why your association's social media presence is more important than ever

Increasing your Association’s Social Media Presence Through Greater Visibility

Technology in today’s world moves so quickly, and so do our attitudes about technology. Not long ago we were told to be very cautious about the things we put on social media because potential employers or business partners could see them.

But that’s exactly what we want now. Your association’s social media presence is more important than ever. In a very real way, it looks unprofessional not to have a social media arm to your association. Your results on search engines can seem incomplete without having this badge of technological honor under your name. It validates your association as being one that embraces technology as opposed to one that looks like a dinosaur. Associations’ need to keep up with the times to continue to remain relevant to younger members who want to be part of something that they can relate to.

Visibility Includes “Housekeeping” Items as Well as Communication Through Social Platforms

Many businesses and organizations use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to stay in touch with their target audiences. But have you considered this is also another method of communication?

Social media platforms are a way for your association to advertise things like location, office hours, events, newsworthy members, and an overall way to speak directly to your audience. Having this high level of visibility is very important to your branding. For an association looking to maximize its ability to stay in touch with its base, having a social media presence is vital.

One more important aspect to consider regarding visibility and your association’s social media presence is that you need to make the social media itself visible. In other words, make sure that you advertise the fact that you are on whichever platforms you choose to utilize, but remember, the more the merrier. Add social media icons to your association’s website, and include them in all of your team’s email signatures. Also, include reminders for members to follow your association’s social media outlets through newsletters, emails, and other literature.

if your association's social media presence is not on your radar, it should be.

Let Social Media be an Advertisement for Your Association

Your association’s social media page might be the first place someone views your organization on the internet. Whether its a committed member of your organization or a new potential member, make sure that your first impression is a good one.

In a great article from Investment News discussing the importance of using social media platforms, they state that “clients and prospects look to your website and social media content as a way to get to know you better”. This is a great attitude to have when thinking about the kind of content you put out there to increase your association’s social media presence.

Consider the goals of your association when you are deciding what content to put out on your platforms. Let your organization’s goals and your social media presence’s goals share a common purpose. While inflammatory and flashy news articles might turn some heads, it’s ultimately not good for your branding and reputation in the long run.

Think of your social media presence as an extension of material that you produce for the members of your association. Your members are the individuals who follow you and care about what you have to say, but on a social media platform, you are also able to speak to a wider audience at the same time. While you are able to present your members with newsletters and emails designed specifically for them, think of your social media output as a way to deliver your association’s message to other interested parties.

Pay attention to what’s trending in the world, and find how it relates to your association and its values. This is your opportunity to stay relevant and do some free advertising.

utilize your association's social media presence to deliver your message to a much wider audience

Let Your Association Openly Communicate with the World

Beginning to work on your association’s social media presence can be intimidating. What your members, and potential members, want to hear from you might not seem obvious. However, the best part of social media platforms is that they are two-way streets.

While you should remain consistent on the quality and frequency of things you post, don’t be afraid to tailor your messages to your audience. The audience for every social platform is slightly different, but one thing remains consistent: people want to feel like they’re individually special yet inside a like-minded crowd.

If you don’t know what your members might want to share, ask them. You can create a poll as a way of giving individuals a strong voice. And they will inevitably want to utilize this voice. Post content that pertains to your association’s goals and values. Also, please note that you should be posting consistently, but that you can also give your message that extra personal touch. How? Well, by reaching out to the community at large.

when you association's social media presence is starting to grow, utilize tools to track its growth

Wrapping Things Up: Use Your Association’s Social Media Presence for Brand Building

Social media has proven itself as one of the most invaluable platforms for communication in the modern day. It’s used by individuals, organizations, brands, politicians, and everyone in between to help forward their agenda and communicate this world. Don’t let yourself be left out of the conversation.

Figure out a plan of action, and begin building your association’s brand through social media.

After all, this will strengthen not only your visibility and your web presence, but also your association as a whole.