How Membership Associations can effectively use Social Media to overcome challenges
Today, Membership Associations are often expected to do more, with less. That challenge can result in a core aspects of the association (collecting annual dues, planning for conventions, etc.) to take priority over the things needed to effectively use Social Media.
That’s a mistake. Social Media offers Membership Associations with easy and fun way to promote what they are doing and, in turn, make it easier to accomplish the core goals of the association.
A 2017 study found that the No 1 obstacle to growth in Membership Associations was a difficulty in communicating the values and beliefs of the association. That was closely followed by associations having insufficient staffing.
Effective Social Media, combined with regular monitoring of the Social Media landscape with the Dynamics 365 CRM platform, addresses both of those issues. Spending 15 minutes a day crafting a Facebook update, or 5 minutes writing a targeted Tweet or Instagram post, can often accomplish nearly as much as spending a week writing a 30-page whitepaper does. Ideally, you have the resources to do both, but we aren’t always in ideal situations.
You may understand that you should be doing more on Social Media, but what’s effective Social Media? What are the key things to focus on if you are running a Membership Association Social Media account?
1. One stop shopping
Your Social Media platform will often act as the point of first contact for members, prospective members and the general public. Therefore, it should reflect the core values of association. Make sure that your mission statement, guiding principles and contact information is easily found, either in your profile or as a pinned link at the top of your feed. This way you can direct all inquiries to your pages, rather than individually answering the same type of questions over and over.
2. Utilize the expertise of your members
Let your members do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to content creation. Remember, they are experts in what they do and by creating a Social Media environment that encourages contributions you can turn a Social Media page into an interactive community and resource for your members.
3. Engage. Then engage some more.
One of the biggest mistakes associations make is they create a Social Media account and then forget about the ‘social’ part. Not only are you failing to utilize the full potential of Social Media when you fail to engage with your members; you might actually be poisoning the relationship. After all, who likes to be ignored? It only takes a moment to respond to an @. The benefits of doing so far outweigh the time cost (and help to create that community mentioned above).
4. Promote your members.
Many of your members will have content they create on their own Social Media channels. Make sure you share that content with your followers. Doing so has the double benefit of providing quality content on your feed, but by also helping solidify your relationship with the member whose work you are sharing.
5. Create original content
If you successfully do the above you will have an organic and thriving community that will bring members back day after day. However, you shouldn’t ignore your own content creation. Take some time each week to create original content that will be of use to your members. If you effectively do that then members are more willing to engage with your promotional material.
6. Strike the right balance between promotion and original content
Would you want to read a feed that was nothing but advertising and self-promotion? No, of course not. And, neither do your members. Although you do want to take advantage of your Social Media channels to promote what you’re doing, you don’t want your members to tune you out. Find the right balance between original content and pure promotion.
CRM Dynamics is comminuted to working with Membership Associations to help them find the blueprint for success. If you would like to learn about are exciting new developments, give us a shout!
We are also looking for Membership Association professionals to take part in a two hour focus group in the Toronto-area. If you are interested in helping us help you, more information can be found here.