There's no denying that the landscape of member engagement has changed tremendously over the last few decades, making it more challenging to gauge membership metrics. Not only has mass communication made it easier than ever to start an organization, but it's also led to more value being required to retain members and attract new ones. Figuring out how to increase membership retention within your association starts with engagement. The members — and non-members — you engage with the most will become your biggest supporters and followers on the other side.

Discover where your marketing matters

With the digital transition all but complete, the days of traditional print for newsletters and marketing material are coming to a close. This evolution into an instant messaging and gratification ecosystem has also created a larger volume of, well, volume. Being able to cut through the spam on social media to deliver a genuine message from your association takes a focused approach or a dedicated team. Most groups can't afford the latter so smart placement of content is the solution. A simple breakdown of market segments can be done through highlighting generational differences and how reaching members in each one can be accomplished.

Baby Boomers

This term captures the competitive and loyal spirit many older generations had within their association. The goal was simple. Do a great job, help the company grow and then retire at 65 with a company pocket watch and pension. This generation is leaving the workforce at nearly 10,000 new retirees every day. These considerations are highlighted as baby boomers are no longer a key demographic outside of member retention. For this group, you'll want to leverage platforms such as Facebook as younger generations use other social media for browsing content.

Gen X

Gen X currently makes up much of the senior level positions you'll see today. While they've had more time to spend with technology, it's been more about increasing efficiency rather than simply leisure. Member engagement should be focused on giving them value through education or making their daily life easier. Cut through filler and deliver content directly to them so they have to put in as little time as possible to get the most out. This is the generation that came into the workplace to question how things were done and make changes for the better.


Often found in management or subject-matter expert roles, millennials are the product of being born into the largest technological boom ever. Going from dial-up internet to a smartphone in their pocket before finishing school, they integrated technology into their lives rather than simply adapting to it like previous generations. Education also happened online for lots of these members, making instructional and informational content ideal. Millennials also represent the largest shift away from Facebook in favor of platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Gen Z

The current generation entering the workforce is Gen Z, and it's all recruitment teams are talking about. Gen Z is the generation of multitaskers. Many were born with access to a screen the moment they could move, and this has led to content becoming shorter and more focused to capture these trained eyes. Gen Z and millennials alike can easily determine whether a piece of content is genuine or simply pushing an agenda. Armed with both access to nearly every piece of information on the planet and the drive to pursue it, Gen Z has the potential to be the most advanced workforce yet.

Understanding how member engagement unfolds on your pages between certain segments can be considered part of information gathering. The next step is to use this data to tailor the experience across the board.

Know where to place your energy

Each generation's differences in workplace culture have made association member engagement difficult to get to a place that appeals to everyone. While nothing can truly please everyone, the answer lies in creating and posting content that aligns with how the average viewer uses each respective platform. Millennials may have grown up with more technology than Gen X, but they use social media less as there are faster ways to stay in touch now.

Gen Z comes with the explosion of TikTok, another social media platform that can connect you instantly with millions around the world. Initially, B2B companies were slow to adapt to posting on the short video platform, but those who have found that more lighthearted and humorous content performed well. This is an example of tailoring content to the platform which translates into targeting a key member demographic.

Getting members to interact with your association online is another goal to have in mind. A voice that has experience with your brand speaking out in support or to share a positive experience humanizes the organization with every instance. Share member success stories on social media posts as well as newsletters, prompting them to share it to their friends and family outside of the association. Natural marketing through collaboration often becomes a pivotal part of member engagement strategies.

No matter what, be consistent

No B2B association can succeed in member engagement if their plan isn't implemented correctly. Test out different types of content, find what works and create a cadence to how often you post and what type of posts they are. Instagram and Twitter are great for short content such as images and video clips. YouTube and LinkedIn thrive off of informational breakdowns and educational video essays. Regularly analyze the data, adjust where it's missing the target and your association will realize more engagement in no time.