More than likes, shares and hashtags, a guide to member engagement

Rather than aiming for two Facebook posts, five tweets and ten pins on Pinterest a day, what should you be doing to create real member engagement? This article tells you the top things to consider when devising a social media strategy, and how you can find the balance between posting little and often with no response, and hardly ever with good quality content. There are also tips for increasing your focus towards good quality content and letting the posts deal with itself through automation and OFEC-approved tools. Use this and find your sunset point!

Top tips for membership engagement

Both on and offline, engagement with your clients lead to the best results in terms of success for your association. Here is a compilation of top tips for member engagement:

Part 1

Before we begin to look at member engagement boosting tips, we must define what engagement means to your organisation. Is it the number of likes on your company’s Facebook page? Is it the number of retweets or followers? Perhaps it is the number of renewals on your membership or association site?

According to Michael J Brennan in his post on Engagement Pyramid and Cycle,

Engagement = Relationship + Action

This means you define the engagement you want to see on your membership association.

We can look at this in two ways:

1. On your site itself

2. On social media

On your site itself, it begins with the journey of your new members.

Some top tips include:


  • First impressions last- so it is crucial that the new members are welcomed to your association appropriately.
  • As you do in new societies and environments, it is essential that a “water cooler” environment is present both online and through social events, so that the members can go for “chit chat” and get to know each other, and establish a level of comfort between one another before more serious topics are dealt with (according to Community Roundtable).
  • Identify key influencers and establish a positive relationship with them. These individuals will act as your biggest fan (or angriest customer, so it is in everyone’s best interests to keep them happy).
  • Relationship capital…should be at the heart of any brand’s social media activity, according to Anna Lawlor, journalist, content creator and co-director, Social i Media
  • She also says that it is ill advised to use social media as a broadcasting tool. No one wants to listen to someone brag on about themselves, if it isn’t adding value to the reader’s life. Which leads us on to our next point
  • Add value. Sounds pretty simple, as membership associations exist to add value. However, sometimes the phrasing of certain posts may be unclear on exactly how it adds value to the reader, and that can lead on to disinterest.
  • Plan the objective of the posts and desired response you want from posted threads and comments. Clarity and planning allows you to figure out what you want to gain from it, and thus measure positive engagement from the amount of desired responses.
  • Segment, segment, segment. Focusing your content to specific interest-based companies leads to more positive results, and better engagement from the members.
  • Be an avid site manager and a mother hen. It is not enough to just respond to all comments and posted threads, but you should encourage other members to respond too, especially if new members post it. Peer response gives the author a satisfaction that is lacking in response from an ‘authority figure’ such as the site manager.
  • Go crazy with communication tools. Build in text, image, audio, and video, making it more interesting to the reader, who can view it in numerous ways.


According to the Community Roundtable,

“lurkers have value. Even if not interacting, lurkers are consuming content that is a way of participating and being present. Lurkers may also respond to content in a different channel, which is generally difficult to track.  Additionally members have a wide variety of thresholds to participation – some people need to lurk longer than others.”

Do you know who the influencers and lurkers are in your association?

Part 2

Looking back at our possible engagement measurements above on an online platform, we can analyse these actions to see whether they can be used as a good measure of engagement:

Likes on Facebook page

While these show loyalty (relationship), without further action (maybe comments, shares or likes on your page), the ‘likes’ itself of your organisation’s Facebook page cannot indicate engagement.

However, if you do a promotion post, calling out for likes on your post/page, then the boost since the post can be measured as a direct response.


Now, twitter is widely considered to be the number one platform for organisations to connect with their clients/customers, as it is for popular artists to connect with their audiences. As it is for them, you can use this to join in on an ongoing conversation, create new hastags and trends, and ultimately converse with the people you want to connect with.


Ways to boost member engagement on social media

  1. Use social media to get to know your members (not as a broadcasting tool)
  2. Events
  3. Freebies/loyalty rewards, fun competitions to encourage and celebrate members


If you are interested here is a useful guide to twitter. I hope you find this useful!