It’s no secret we live in a digital world. With everyone being online and connected through the internet, it provides major opportunities for societies to connect with their members and build brand awareness, especially in times where human interaction may be limited.
Why it’s important
Having an online presence is integral to the success of a student society. Not only is it the most effective way to communicate with your members and let them know what events are happening or to share industry news, it’s a great way to remind your members that you exist. This might sound obvious, but if it’s been a while since your last event or stall, students may have forgotten about your club. Connecting with your members regularly and staying fresh in their minds helps with engagement and helping your members feel connected – not only with your society, but with each other. This is particularly important in the situation we’re facing right now, where self-isolation and minimal human contact is made a priority.
The power of online is endless – it’s an anywhere, anytime medium and exists everywhere. University clubs and societies have an opportunity to make their online presence something memorable, and there are many ways to do that.
How to connect
There are so many online platforms out there, it can be hard to know which will be the best to maintain a positive online presence and connect with your members. We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular ones and why they’re important.
As of January 2020, Facebook has 2.45 billion monthly active users, and Instagram just over 1 billion. Chances are, your members are on social media. It’s no secret that university students love social media and use it to connect with friends and the wider community, so having a social media presence as a society is paramount.
Other social media platforms you can use to connect with your members include Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and even TikTok if you want to get creative.
Making sure your society has one central place online that has everything there is to know about your society is also important. Having a website is the best way to do this - it can include things like when your events are on, an ‘About Us’ section, a list of your exec members and who your sponsors are (including the deals they provide your members). If you want to be really organised and connected, you can also have links to important university sites, such as Blackboard.
Most universities and unions have a website and Facebook page of their own. They’ll often have a section that lists all the societies on campus and what they do. This is great for attracting new members to your club who may not know about you - looking through the list of clubs is one of the first things people do when they start university. If this page has outdated or incorrect information, reach out and ask for it to be changed as a priority.
When your members sign up with you, more times than not, you’ve collected an email address. This is such important information for a club but is often seen more as a formality rather than an opportunity.
Sending emails to your members is one of the most effective ways to connect with them online. Whether you want to email your members to let them know about an upcoming event or job vacancies, emails tell your members that you’ve got something important to say.
Some clubs even use their membership email database to send monthly updates to their members, including everything from upcoming events to industry news and internship opportunities. This is a great way to engage with those members who may not always be active on social media, and helps them stay in the loop. Get’s Communicator Tool is an easy and effective way to do this. Reach out to us for more information!
What to say
Through any of these channels, it’s important to remember that the same rules for events - giving your members value, so they feel a need to buy a ticket - apply to your online presence. Your members are not going to read all of your social media posts and your emails unless you make it worth their time.
Share things that are interesting, relevant, and unique to your society’s purpose and objectives. Use personalisation in emails so that every member gets addressed with their own name by the society. Keep things short, snappy, and simple where possible.
Think about - if you were a member of a club (and you most likely are), what would I want to receive? What would make me want to read an email or a website blog post? Use this to underpin your online communication and you'll be on your way to an engaging and thriving online presence for your society.