There is a shift in consumer behavior towards online buying, and associations need to adapt in order to stay competitive. There are many reasons why your association needs social media, but perhaps the biggest is member engagement. Members want to feel more actively engaged with the associations they are part of.
Social media also helps with:
- Thought leadership
- Brand recognition
- Tracking potential members (lead sourcing)
- Customer service and relationship building
- Keeping up with your competition
Social media platforms
Take a look at your goals, and decide which social media platforms make the most sense for your organization. There are a lot of platforms out there these days, and it may be hard to know where to begin. In 2012, the average Internet user had three social media accounts–now the average is closer to seven, according to Sprout Social. The four platforms below are among some of the most popular with members, and are a great place to get started.
- LinkedIn: a professional platform for business-related posts. Also doubles as a job search tool.
- Twitter: best used for short, snappy announcements due to the character limit. Great for linking to fuller articles and other accounts.
- Facebook: the most popular platform overall. Great for posts of any length and visual content, like photos and videos.
- Instagram: a solely visual platform intended for photos and videos with accompanying captions.
Free tools and resources
There are free tools and resources online that can help you streamline your social media presence.
- Content scheduling tools, like Buffer and Hootsuite. Save time by scheduling a week’s worth of posts all at once. Pick the date/time you would like your posts to go out, and attach whatever media you so please.
- Visual content tools, like Promo, Typito, or Giphy. These are free services that allow you to create custom videos with captions/text to promote your products or services. Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other type of content, according to HubSpot.
- Analytics tools, like Tweetreach. TweetReach is an analysis tool to measure hashtag reach. When creating a custom hashtag for your brand, product or service, you can use TweetReach to measure how many impressions the hashtag has received in order to measure whether the hashtag is successful.
You may be asking what kinds of content are appropriate to share on an association social media account. The sky is the limit, and creativity is encouraged, but these content types may help inspire some of your posts:
- Industry-related news and articles
- Member testimonials
- Employee profiles
- Trending content (like fun industry hashtags/challenges or crazy holidays)
When looking for writing inspiration, consider how you want to come across to your audience. How do you want to represent your organization? Take on that voice, and get inspired by brands and other associations you love and support. How do they craft their posts? How do they come across?
It’s important that your social media presence is consistent and well-rounded, or else your audience will eventually tune out your posts as white noise. When writing your posts, be cognizant of what you have recently posted. To simplify this, you can track the types of content you post in an Excel/Word document to ensure that you’re not posting the same content over and over.
Mix it up, be fresh, and have fun! Social media is great for your association, but it’s also a fun communication tool that keeps you connected to the industry and your members.