For those that missed the webinar, the session featured a montage of video interviews on how to ‘give your members what they need, when they need it’ with membership and marketing professionals from Coeliac UK, the National Hair and Beauty Federation, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Association of Landscape Industries (watch the interview montage on YouTube).

Marketing and Communications Manager at the British Association of Landscape Industries Darren Taylor spoke to us about gaining insight into what’s valuable to members through conducting member surveys and also spoke about the value of providing training and promotional opportunities for members. Mobile engagement is high on Darren’s priorities for 2021, including use of SMS for reaching his members in the field and prompting quick easy engagement.

Tori Priestley, Marketing Director at the National Hair and Beauty Federation shared their experiences of becoming a lifeline in supporting not just their members but the wider industry. They have seen dramatic growth in digital connections with 1000% increase in website visitors year-on-year, Instagram followers growing from 5.5k to 72k and Facebook likers from 14k to 85k. Their social media posts now regularly see over 900 likes and 200 comments (with a recent post attracting 1,800 likes and 550 comments) and they have been able to harness that by directing people to register on their site to download valuable resources. Their ‘back to business’ guide was downloaded 33,000 times generating 25,000 new leads for their non-member newsletter. All of this engagement has resulted in the NHBF growing by 1,800 members since February to 7,300 members.

Senior Communications Officer for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Christine James talked about supporting their members with timely relevant guidance and the role of digital communication in delivering that, particularly how social media has changed the way they engage and the hunger for information and connection driving a significant increase in visitors to their website (80% year-on-year).

Coeliac UK have a diverse community of members, researchers, commercial partners, healthcare professionals, donors, fundraisers and volunteers to support. They’ve had to take a creative and agile approach to providing that support and raising funds during a time where their plans were massively disrupted. Director of Membership and Services Annette Woolman shared how they’ve been using digital to bridge the gap. She spoke about new initiatives such as providing additional training to volunteers and gave some useful advice for those considering developing an app to connect with their audience.

The five main ‘takeaways’ for valuable member engagement for the foreseeable future were:

  1. Be prepared to adapt and change plans to adjust to members needs
  2. Provide strategically positioned clear guidance in a way that’s accessible
  3. Deliver tools and benefits that make life easier
  4. Engage with real issues in real time and encourage members with good news stories and vision for the future
  5. Be where your audience are at (even when that means supporting your organisation on the front line of Social media)