Monday, October 1, 2012

Tips on 4 Tools that Boost Association Membership

A few years ago, I was working with a client on its membership marketing program. The committee wanted a “list” of key people to reach. While the committee debated, I did a quick LinkedIn search and discovered more than 4,000 people with that exact title. With that knowledge, they began to develop a LinkedIn engagement strategy starting with a LinkedIn group around the specific topic (not the organization).

Since then, I’ve been watching and studying other “non-traditional” tools that can help associations and nonprofits reach their goals.

One tip included in Geri Stengel’s LinkedIn tips applies to everything we do in association membership, marketing, advocacy and development:
  •  Build Your Network (audience) Before You Need It. If you try to build your audience (members, nonmembers, prospects, etc.) during crisis, it is too late. Start now if you haven’t already.
Here are some background materials that I’ve found useful and want to share with you and other association executives:

  • LinkedIn (as illustrated above) can be a great tool if you are seeking business professionals.
  • 5 Ways to Make LinkedIn Board Connect Work for Your Nonprofit. Nice article by Geri Stengel via Beth Kantner’s Beth’s Blog. 
  • Geri’s tips on LinkedIn provide basic ideas (such as know what you’re looking for) that fit all media.
  • Pinterest, the fastest growing social media site, had more than 23 million unique visitors ... just in July. Most are women. So, associations and nonprofits seeking more engagement from women should be developing a Pinterest strategy. These two posts offer you some good ideas:
  • How to Succeed on Pinterest if Your Website Doesn’t Have Images from SocialFish 
  • Pinterest Marketing Kit provided by MarketingProfs ... this is the link for you to download the  (Note: If you are not a free MarketingProfs member, you may need to join.)
  • We all know that video is a key element of telling our stories in a meaningful, emotional and impactful way. Our challenge becomes when and how do association professionals use video to help us achieve our goals?
  • This whitepaper from Forrester provides valuable information.


  1. Here's a fifth tool: If the members of the association are location based (i.e. retailers) the association could use FourSquare and create a 'badge' that customers of that business could earn by visiting the business.

  2. Thanks Tom ... you are correct ... for some associations, FourSquare could be a good fit. The key to which tools to select is to know your audience and where they are.