Emails are quick to send and still the go-to communication tool in many associations and membership organisations. But they are also (mis-)used for any thinkable use-case. Using email inboxes as document archives, wading through mounds of emails regarding a specific decision or just scheduling an appointment are not tasks that email is made for. This means many organisations are missing out on convincing advantages that interactive platforms offer to internal communication. These five points show why a member platform is indispensable.
Why emails are a thing of the past
The email is still used more frequently for internal communication than an interactive member platform or a social intranet. They stick to email because it has long since become firmly established. For decades, it was rightfully number 1 for all things touching on internal communication. But is this over 40 year old technology really the best we have?.This has changed with the introduction of interactive platforms into everyday work. Here you get all your colleagues and stakeholders on board and create a foundation to move the whole organisation forward. For fear of overburdening less tech-savvy stakeholders with interactive platforms, however, organisations shy away from switching to the modern medium. As a result, they miss out on effective improvements in communication and collaboration. Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are already used outside of the association, these learnings can be used to recognise the advantages of an interactive member platform within the association.
Why interactive member platforms are indispensable
Truly interactive member platforms ensure smooth cooperation in a wide range of areas. This creates advantages – on an interpersonal and business basis. The following aspects show why your organisation should no longer operate without a member platform or why you should increase the use of your current one.
1. Dynamic interaction instead of one-sided information
Hardly anything has advanced as much in recent years as the internet: From static information sites to the first networks to chatbots interacting with customers. The internet has become “social” – two-way communication is the focus. With the technological change, the demands of internet users have also changed. They no longer want to just consume, but rather actively participate. The same applies to the members of your association. What they have learned and gotten used to on social media, they also expect at work: easy and fast opportunities to participate. While emails offer this only to a very limited extent, interactive member platforms can excel in this respect because communication occurs dynamically in groups. Discussions are bundled in one post for all participants to see. Consequently, others have the opportunity to contribute at any time – be it through comments or interesting markers. This also reduces friction and misunderstandings, because there is always one central place of truth: the post with its comments. Quick opinion polls and brainstormings can also be targeted much better and are answered more quickly. This transparency enables all users to stay on track and share their input, not only improving individual processes but also the impact of your organisation as a whole.
2. Innovation as a decisive factor for success
In addition to increasing technological change, your members also face steadily growing complexity and competition. So the ability to innovate is more important than ever. Only those who constantly question and renew their own processes will be able to thrive, because the old ways of doing things have to continuously adapt to new circumstances. Your member platform helps your members to share their ideas and experiences to further their own development and business. In essence your member platform creates a digital home or hub for your members to communicate, collaborate and participate.
3. New ways to distribute information
Each knowledge holder within your organisation potentially has information and experience to share. Policy and working groups usually reach milestones that are relevant to more members than the ones within the group. Good Ideas often get stuck within one group or a circle of individuals. This is where an interactive member platform offers new opportunities: Content can be shared to multiple target audiences with just one click. Generally relevant information would be published within the usually closed working group but also into larger, more open groups within your member platform to spread the information. Nobody has to keep track of mailing lists, members can independantly join the open and more topic-focussed groups to access more relevant information.
4. Online Meetings and email – But there is more
Discussing topics via email often results in loads of emails that are difficult to keep track of and generally a huge time sink for only partially involved stakeholders. But Online Meetings have their disadvantages, too. They require everybody to be online at the same time and turn less effective the more stakeholders get involved. This is where a member platform with elements from social media helps. The wall of posts with their associated comments give a fast overview over current and important topics. Members get to personalise this stream by joining or leaving certain topics and groups. Especially critical information is posted in must-see areas and can even be pinned to the top. There’s no more effective way to keep large target audiences informed and engaged.
5. Entice your members with a new content mix
More interactive content feeds in a closed member platform lead to more participation. Your members will still receive their usual official workgroup-related content as well as the official information about current affairs and upcoming legal changes. But this is augmented with comments, tips, hints, appreciation and, sometimes, useful criticism. Whereever you encourage or simply allow participation your members will see a new content mix. Members will add experiences, regional or general successes and valuable feedback for other members to be inspired by.
It’s time for a change
In times of digitalisation and less travel, it is essential to consistently create new value for your members, entice them with refreshing and inspirational content and bring them together on a regular basis. This is exactly what a member platform does for your members and your membership organisation.