Recommendations can have a strong influence on purchasing decisions, especially in our age of social media. But did you know that recommendations are also key factors in decision-making around joining membership organizations too? A recent MetLife/Ipsos survey found that: “[recommendations from friends, family and colleagues appear to have the greatest influence over a person’s decision to join. Nearly one-third (28%) of association and affinity members said that such recommendations were the most important factor impacting their decision to join. It was also important to many members that the association be well known and have a good reputation.”
So how can you gather and promote recommendations?
How about through your LinkedIn company page?
Many associations and non-profits are using LinkedIn to recruit and connect with volunteers and donors, but have you thought about asking for and promoting LinkedIn recommendations?
A survey by Search Engine Land found that “72% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.”
Wild Apricot learned first-hand the impact LinkedIn recommendations can have. With our focus on small nonprofits and local associations, we recognized that one of the best things for any company – particularly a smaller one – is good word-of-mouth from current customers. So to leverage positive customer feedback, we encouraged customers to post reviews on our LinkedIn page.
Then to determine how these product recommendations were influencing product trials and conversions, we conducted a test comparing a version of our homepage with excerpts from LinkedIn reviews to a version without. This test showed that highlighting LinkedIn recommendations on our home page raised conversions (of users signing up for a free trial) by 15%.” So, while it may be great to be “liked” on Facebook or tweeted about, we found that showcasing LinkedIn reviews had a tangible, measurable impact. Since we were able to demonstrate this impact, LinkedIn created a case study about Wild Apricot’s success.
Would this work for membership organizations?
With the MetLife research and other membership surveys confirming that peer recommendations can be key in decisions to join, it makes sense that including member recommendations on your LinkedIn site should be effective in building your membership.
Since LinkedIn is recognized as a social network for professionals, folks realize that the recommendations come from real people. This type of recommendation offers credibility for your brand or your organization. After all, it’s one thing to read a product review, but another thing to read a review and know that the person is a friend of yours; a peer; or has a similar role at a like organization. That connection can have a strong influence on a potential member's decision-making.
Now your members and supporters can follow you on LinkedIn
Recently, LinkedIn also added a follow button for companies. As a TechCrunch blog post noted, “now LinkedIn users will see ‘follow Company’ buttons on company sites, as well as on LinkedIn itself. Similar to Facebook’s Like button, as long as you are logged into LinkedIn, you can follow a company automatically by clicking the button. If you are not logged on, a box will appear asking for your LinkedIn credentials.”
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Image source: How LinkedIn Works by Infographiclabs