Why Member Engagement No Longer Means Face-to-Face – Part 3
By John Cook, Vice President of Marketing, MicroNet, Inc.
Tactic #3: Storytelling Drives Digital Engagement
As outlined in my last post, content is critical for your chamber or association to fully engage members and prospective members. With that in mind, it is important not to overlook the power of storytelling. A story can engage your audience like nothing else. Depending on your organization’s mission, this is a tool you can leverage in a very compelling way.
The member success story may be the best kind of story for a chamber or association. The storyline typically goes something like this:
- Outline the pain and problems with which a member struggled.
- Describe the solution they found to the problem, i.e. the benefits received from joining your organization.
- Highlight the positive outcomes which followed the solution.
Obviously your members joined for a reason. They have challenges for which they believe you have solutions. Prospective members with similar issues or problems would love to learn how your members solved those issues. In some respects, it is very similar to a product review or endorsement. It allows their peers to tell how your organization helped them out. That is powerful stuff.
In fact, why not leverage your blog, or create one if you don’t already have one, as a way to communicate “happy member” stories? No one really wants to listen to an organization talk about how great they are or how wonderfully they’ve served their members. But, it is completely different if your members are the ones doing the talking.
Buyers (including your prospective members) want to be served, not sold. They want to be educated, not evangelized. They are looking for feedback and opinions from your current members, so why not be the conduit of this type of helpful information?
Consumers of all types trust the wisdom and recommendations of peers and professional groups more than those of companies or organizations. Last year, BrightLocal's Local Consumer Review Survey reported that 79% of online shoppers trust online reviews, and over 70% reported that positive online reviews influence where they buy. The same concept is true for your organization and the prospective members you are trying to engage. There is inherent interest in the stories that your current members tell about their experiences with you. Give these folks a platform and let the storytelling begin.
Watch for more trends and more of my thoughts over the next several weeks on why you should reconsider the role digital engagement can play in your organization. Are you currently reaching out to your prospective members with any type of storytelling on your blog or social media? If so, please tell me about it.John Cook