Connecting with our members during this pandemic without live events and meetings has been nothing short of a challenge. Sure, we’re able to use video meetings in place of our live events, but we know now more than ever how very different it is to focus and engage with your computer screen. We’re distracted, and truth be told, we’re all a little “Zoom fatigued.”
Our experiences prompted us as leader interns to transform our media presence. Our chapter communicates using email, the chapter website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but we know due to the vast age range of our chapter members, not everyone uses the same platform for communication. With all this in mind, we made the following changes to help promote membership engagement online:
Provide brevity and consistency on all media platforms: We ensure all platforms are up to date with adequate communication and information. Updating all platforms with graphics utilizing Sigma’s branding guidelines provides cohesiveness, consistency, and reproducibility between platforms.
Increase the number of quality posts featuring chapter news and member-focused content: By increasing awareness of other chapter members, we hope to prompt further connections and member collaboration. On the flip side, the more quality content we post improves our chances of reaching beyond our current followers and potentially encourages nursing professionals in our area to join Sigma.
Acknowledge accomplishments and highlight member specific news: We began sharing a member of the week post entitled “Sigma Spotlights.” These posts recognize accomplishments of our members in a supportive and positive environment. Highlighting member specific news helps educate members on information they might have missed due to the lack of social interaction. These posts also provide a great networking opportunity to unite members on common interests.
Promote awareness for online service and outreach opportunities: Highlighting service and outreach opportunities in our community can increase involvement and participation, promoting a greater service impact. By sharing reminders of the events and opportunities, members will be less likely to ignore or forget about them.
Grow membership by increasing connections with past nursing alumni, present nursing professionals, and future nursing leaders: An informal mode of communication like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter invites members to collaborate and familiarize themselves with members outside of their induction class. Introducing members to their chapter leaders encourages chapter member awareness and curiosity, prompting further engagement. Utilizing the discussion feature on The Circle allows chapters to bridge the gap between members, promote introductions, collaborate, and advertise events.
Connecting Sigma’s past, present, and future nursing leaders through increased social media engagement during a pandemic helps to close the gap between members and promotes increased collaboration and communication. We all miss the in-person events and small interactions in hallways between colleagues where information was easily and quickly shared. But social media can help, and within our chapter, we’ve seen it do that with just a few tweaks to our process!
Our members have stated that they feel more informed and connected to the chapter and one another. Also, our chapter’s participation has been greatly increased since our implementations.
Catherine Lawless and Marisa Probst are undergraduate Leadership Interns for Sigma’s Beta Xi Chapter at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, USA.