How Associations Can Use Instagram Videos To Add Member Value

Instagram isn’t a a new player on the social media scene, having been around for more than five years, but associations are just now starting to explore the possibilities that the photo-sharing app provides.

A recent Association’s Now article highlighted Instagram’s growing popularity among membership organizations. The use of Instagram among associations has risen from from 19 per cent to 30 per cent in the past year and it appears that the upwards trend will continue.

Although Instagram is primarily a photo-sharing app, the video feature gives associations one more tool to use to boost their communications and marketing efforts. Instagram videos are restricted to a 15-second time limit, so a lot needs to be said in a quarter of a minute. Here are three ways associations can use this time wisely and provide value to their members.

Conference Programming Videos

There is a lot of programming packed into a short period of time at most association conferences. Instagram is a great way to capture the day that was in short, bite-sized portions of content that attendees can easily interact with.

There are many options for associations when it comes to what they can put into a 15-second video about conference programming. Film a couple key parts of an educational seminar or key note speech and edit them together to give Instagram users a good summary of the presentation. Put together a few frames that showcase a networking event or night of entertainment for attendees. You can even get in the habit of creating a quick video explaining the itinerary for the day for multi-day events.

Not only will these videos give attendees a chance to interact with the association, they are also a great way to promote several aspects of a conference and give attendees an opportunity to experience several parts of the event even though they couldn’t or didn’t go to every talk, trade show or meet-up.

“Tip of the Day” Videos

Part of the value that any association brings to members is being a guide on the path to a successful career and being a provider of accessible, high-quality information. Instagram videos are yet another way for associations to be a go-to resource for your members.

Your association has access to a mountain of information that is useful to its members. This is evident in the number of journal articles, magazine pieces, newsletters, conference education sessions and daily knowledge that the association puts together and gives to members for their benefit. Condensing come of this information into a 15 second video is a great way to provide value to members with taking up too much of their time or attention. Create a video telling members about a new app that could relate to them or summarizing new legislation that effects them. Include practical advice and solid information and your members will thank you.

“Did You Know” ┬áVideos

There are products and services your association provides and members love to use and then there are products and services your association provides that are less popular. It doesn’t mean these offerings are bad, it might just mean members aren’t aware of it. Instagram videos can help members discover the extra value in your organization.

The “did you know” videos can work much the same way as the “tip of the day” videos. Highlighting an infrequently visited area of your website, explaining a new service your association provides or detailing the benefits of an offering can have a big effect on how people use them and, in turn, how much value they get from your association. For example, take members through the process of creating a job ad for their organization on the association’s job board. Once the process is demystified and made more accessible, it is more likely that more members will take advantage of the service. Once more members take advantage, they will receive more value.

How To Measure If Your Association Is Reaching Its Target Audience On Twitter

Like any good social media manager, you’ve measured your Twitter account’s engagement and now sit on a glorious pile of positive data that confirms your organization’s content is indeed reaching a lot of people.

But is it reaching the right people?

If you don’t know the answer to this question, that pile your sitting on is built on a very volatile foundation that is likely to crack any moment, sending you tumbling back down to Earth.

So, how does one go about analyzing the audience it is reaching on Twitter? The best way to go about discovering how well you are communicating with your target audience is by measuring key influencers.

Defining and Counting Key Influencers

Key influencers are those Twitter users who your organization wants to reach. They are members of your target audience, but also individuals or organizations that have contact with members of your target audience. For example, if you are running an association’s Twitter account, a key influencer would be both a member of that association or a member of the media who publishes articles about the industry. In this way, you are counting both the direct and indirect pathways to increased brand awareness.

The first step in determining who your key influencers are is to establish what audiences your organization wants to reach. Think about the different categories of individuals or organizations that would be interested in your content and that your organization would want to connect with. Think about it this way; if Twitter was a matchmaking website, which users would your organization want to be paired with? These are your key influencers. Connecting with them means having a chance to be valuable to them. Adding value to their lives means an increased likelihood that they invest in your organization.

Breaking down your target audience into key influencers must be done according to your organization’s specific circumstances. Here is one example of how an association might define key influencers vs. non influencers

Key Influencers

– Individual Industry Members

– Organizations and Businesses in the Industry

– Industry Media and Communication Professionals

Non Influencers

– Individuals and Organizations with no Tie to the Industry

Once you have defined how you will count your organization’s key influencers, it is time to go through your list of followers and calculate how many key influencers are following your content. By calculating the total number of key influencers as well as the number for each category, you can get a better sense of your success rate with reaching your organization’s target audience. Remember, quality is better than quantity when it comes to Twitter followers. Having 500 followers with 300 key influencers (60%) is always more effective and efficient than having 900 followers, but only 150 key influencers (16.7%).

Measuring The Engagement of Key Influencers

Measuring the percentage of followers that are key influencers is helpful in establishing whether you are reaching your target audience on Twitter, but if you want to take the next step, you’re going to want to measure how well you are engaging these key influencers.

You probably know how to measure the engagement statistics for your Twitter account, but here is a quick refresher just in case: Counting interactions is one of the best way to determine how much engagement your account is receiving. Interactions include retweets, favourites, mentions/replies and URL clicks. Since determining who clicked on which link is extremely difficult to determine, we are going to focus on the first three engagement numbers.

Review your interactions on Twitter in monthly periods. Determine if each interaction was from a key influencer and or a non influencer. Determine the percentage of interactions from key influencers. It is also helpful to compare your monthly numbers to see your success from month to month and across broader periods, such as quarters or even years.

Calculating The ROI

The final step in determining your success with reaching your organization’s key audience on Twitter is calculating the return on investment. There are two numbers that are vital in determining the ROI; cost-per-key-influencer (CPKI) and cost-per-influencer-interaction (CPII)

Calculating the CPKI is done by using a simple formula. Define your date parameters (ie. the month of June) and calculate how much you spent on Twitter as well as how many key influencers you gained as followers during that period of time. Then, divide your money spent by key influencers and you have your CPKI. For example, if you spent $100 and gained 20 key influencers in June, your CPKI is $4. That is how much you spent to get the attention of a key influencer in June.

The second calculation, CPII, is determined by using a similar formula. Again, you need to define a time period (ie. June), calculate the financial investment during this period and how many interactions your account received from key influencers. Dividing the money spent by number of interactions gives you the CPII. For example, if you spent $100 and received 52 influencer interactions, your CPII would be $1.92. The lower this number, the better ROI you are getting. It is also helpful to compare this number to the money spent on gaining interactions from non-influencers. If the CPII is higher than this second number, you are not achieving success at reaching your target audience.

How To Treat Current Events And Trending News On Your Organization’s Social Media Platforms

Navigating the news on social media is a tricky business. Not only is there so much of it to wade through on a daily basis, but because of the 24-hour news cycle and the way we use technology, one story might be popular for what seems like a split-second before another takes it place.

The pace by which news is delivered these days is enough to make you throw up your hands in frustration and declare that you’re over it all. Not so fast! Capitalizing on current events and trending topics can be an important part of content marketing for your small business, association or non-profit. However, it has to be done right or your efforts will be in vain, or worse, backfire on you.

We’ve put together a list of newsy dos and do-nots to help you find your way among the maze of current event topics and use them to your advantage on social media:

DO keep tabs on current events and trending topics

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in routine and miss something that your organization can comment on or use for its blog, Twitter account or Facebook page. Look at at least one national and one local newspaper a day and keep your eyes peeled for interesting pieces on the trending topic sections on Twitter and Facebook.

DO NOT post about a current event if it doesn’t relate to your organization at all

Your organization’s online community listens to you for a reason; you provide good quality content on topics that they are interested in. They find the information you put out valuable because it is information they can use or relate with. If you are posting about news simply because it’s popular, but it has no ties to your organization, it can leave your audience confused, disgruntled, frustrated and bored. You might get away with it once, but don’t make it a frequent practice.

DO set up a keyword alert on Google News

Google: The ultimate tool for newsies everywhere. The Google News tool is a great source for news from around the world. Setting up a keyword news alert will help you and your organization find articles to share and ideas for blog posts and videos. It will also keep you in the know about the latest trends and topics. As a bonus, the alerts can also help you find mentions of your organization in the news that can be shared or addressed.

DO NOT have a knee-jerk reaction to negative news on your organization/industry

The news you find online about your organization or your industry may not be all sunshine and rainbows. There will always be negative reviews or an opinion piece that throws criticism in your general area. Firing back right away is always the quickest way to create a PR nightmare. Instead, take some time to build a well-thought-out social media response and ensure everyone in the organization is on board with it. Don’t wait a long time to make your case, but have a strategy in place before you do.

DO be respectful when considering a social media post about a tragedy

Tragedies in the news are a sad reality and our first reaction is often to join the many others who are sending messages of support to victims on social media. However, many companies have seen a backlash against social media posts mentioning tragedies, such as 9/11. Before you post about a tragedy, think very hard about how appropriate the message is and its relevancy to your organization. Consider if a day of social media silence is better or if a post from your personal account would be more appropriate.

DO NOT wait too long to post about relevant news

In the sections above, we’ve mentioned that you should pause before posting about current events. However, this pause shouldn’t be too long. The 24-hour news cycle makes it easy for you to blink and miss a trending topic. Create a framework for dealing with breaking news on social media so that when it happens, you can cut down on the time you spend weighing the pros and cons of posting about it and get in on the action.

DO give a fresh perspective on a piece of news that has been trending for a while

There’s only so much of the same basic run-down of a news story that people can read. If there is a trending event that has been popular for more than a day, brainstorm a fresh way to cover it. Tackle it from a different perspective, find a different angle, make it relatable to a different audience and talk to people who no one has talked to before. Being fresh will give your audience a reason to read your material over the same old stuff.

DO NOT hesitate to break news yourself

There’s no rule saying you can’t make the news! If your organization has a newsworthy point of view, tidbit of information or an innovative new way of doing things, make it known to the world. Develop a strategy to market the news through social media, including which platforms you’re going to use, what your message is going to be, how you’re going to keep it fresh, which audience to target, how you’re going to make it newsworthy to the media and how you’re going to handle any potential criticism.

5 Places To Find The Best Content For Your Social Media Accounts

There’s a common phrase used to explain a basic principle of social media that says content is king. However, the platitude doesn’t mean a whole lot if the throne is empty. In other words, you have to find content first before you can think about how you’re going to use it to rule social media.

Finding good content to post to your organization’s social media accounts is often not an easy pursuit. It takes time, know-how and a keen eye. You also have to know where to look. With the mountain of information that is readily available online, finding the content that provides the right kind of value to your target audience can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Luckily, we’ve taken some of that hay out of the equation by putting together some suggestions for where to look when searching for good content. Hopefully with these five tips, you can find that needle much quicker.

Hashtags

When you want to know the latest on a certain topic, issue or industry, a hashtag can go a long way. If you’re not familiar with the power of hashtags for finding content, it works sort of like this: Twitter is a huge ocean of information being put out by millions of people. If you try to go fishing in that ocean, the chances of catching a fish are slim. Hashtags are like the streams, rivers and ponds that flow from the ocean. They are smaller and more contained, meaning you’re more likely to find a fish if you go searching there.

Find a hashtag that relates to the sort of content you are looking for and explore the content that people are posting to that hashtag. For example, we like to monitor the Association Chat hashtag (#assnchat) for all the news and views on the association industry. People are always posting blogs, articles and expert opinion on this hashtag, the best of which we share with out followers. One of the best ways to find a hashtag that fits your purposes is use hashtagify.me, a site that allows you to type in one hashtag and discover the most popular hashtags associated with it.

Magazines, Newsletters and Other Publications

There is no shortage of specialized publications for the industry you are posting about. If you look hard enough, there are magazines and newsletters and just about everyone, from pet grooming to turfgrass management to hair styling and everything in between. These publications usually contain well-thought-out insights from experts and often include new studies, perspectives and opinions. Many of these publications have online editions as well as hard copies, meaning they can be a source of content for your social media channels.

These magazines, newsletters and other publications are not hard to find. Many trade associations publish their own magazines that they make available online as well. Check out the national or local association to see if you can get access to their publications. Businesses and bloggers often send out weekly or monthly newsletter that you can sign up for as well. Put together a list of publications that you can subscribe to and a list of others that you can check on a weekly basis. Combining the two lists will help keep your content cupboard stocked.

News and Trending Topics

Chances are, over the course of a week or month, there will be more than a few times the news and your organization’s interests intersect. That’s why it’s important to keep on top of current events. When you can share interesting news, whether it’s hard-hitting journalism or a human interest story, your audience can relate to or can use in some meaningful way, they will find both the information and your organization valuable.

There are a few great ways to keep tabs on current events. The first is to set up a Google News Alert. Set an alert that will notify you every time a certain word or phrase is found in the news. This can be more basic, such as “golf” if you are in the golfing industry, or more specific, like the name of your organization. Another way to keep up with the news is through the trending topic section on many social media platforms. For example, keep an eye on the Twitter trending topics. Over time, the trending topics are often configured to match up with the content of your tweets. By keeping an eye on these topics, you can see what everyone is talking about and get in on the action. This way, you won’t be lacking for content.

Your Staff, Board or Customers

Two heads are better than one, so imagine how great five, six or 20 heads would be for finding quality content! You have a lot of great resources at your disposal in the form of your colleagues, board of directors, customers, staff or others that you work with. Most of the time you’ll find that if you simply ask, people will be more than willing to brainstorm with you, point you in the direction of content or pass on some of their own ideas. These ideas are some of the best because they help you find a new perspective that might be lacking in your current content line up.

The best way to go about finding this type of content is to simply ask. Section off half an hour or an hour every week to gather your staff or colleagues together and brainstorm ideas or share content they found during the past week. Create a document on a program such as Google Docs that allow your board of directors to jot down ideas or share blogs, articles, opinions or other forms of content. Create an Idea Box at your store, office or headquarters where customers, members or volunteers can drop off suggestions on which content to cover. All these methods will help keep your content calendar full for a long time to come.

Make Your Own

Whether you have exhausted all your resources and are still lacking content or are just trying to supplement a full schedule with your own take on things, creating your own content is a great idea. Not only do you have full control of original content, this type of social sharing helps drive traffic to your website, increases awareness of your brand and lets you share information that is most valuable and most important to your target audience.

Creating your own content can come in many forms. You can start a blog, a YouTube channel, create infographics, post a Facebook album or make an Instagram account. The best part about using this method of content creation is that it offers the opportunity for so much variety. With a YouTube channel, you can share how-to videos on your Twitter account. With a blog, you can share an interview with a member or an infographic on your products on your Facebook page. There are countless chances to be creative and share great content by creating your own!

Three Ways to Maximize the Potential of your Organization’s Facebook Posts

A good Facebook post is like a work of art. It’s like a great meal or a stunning piece of architecture; perfectly formulated to not only meet the needs of the community, but also spark the imagination. But just like great chef or architect, a social media manager has to endure a few misses before they can hit on the recipe for success.

All this might seem a little too fanciful and poetic for a social media platform. It is Facebook, after all, a place where memes rule and pictures of your friend’s dog manages to get 98 likes. However, if you pay attention to a few details, the random nature of Facebook engagement becomes a little clearer for those using the platform as a marketing tool.

Although there’s no scientific formula for success on Facebook, by utilizing certain data points, your small business, association or non-profit can turn your plodding, unmotivated posts into fit, focused messages that have the potential to win the hearts of your audience.

Stat #1- Length of Post

Unlike Twitter, Facebook has no maximum character count, which could leave you curled up under your desk, rocking back and forth, worried about what to do with so much freedom. Fortunately, there’s a way to give yourself a framework for the most effective length of post (LOP) on Facebook, just as long as you have some previous posts to look back on.

The first step in putting together a LOP framework is to determine which Facebook Insights matter the most to your organization. The data we usually work with to determine the impact of our efforts is reach and interactions (likes, comments, shares and clicks). These numbers tell you how much awareness is being generated by your post and how valuable your audience is finding the content you post. The insights you track should be based on the goal you’re trying to achieve. For example, if your organization wants to reach a lot of people, it might focus on reach and shares.

Now that you have determined the insights to analyze, the next step is to look back on the success of your previous posts. Pick the top-performing posts from among the month’s, quarter’s or year’s posts (perhaps those in the top 25%) by looking at the performance indicators you have chosen (such as total reach).

The final step is to determine the average LOP from those top-performing posts. For example, if posts averaging 100-125 words gain more reach than those posts with 50-75 words, there’s higher likelihood that future messages containing 100-125 words will achieve similar success.

Stat #2- Content of Post

Now that you know how long your post should be, it might be a good idea to figure out what you’re going to squeeze into your word count. The content of your post is the most important factor in drawing engagement and increasing Facebook’s ROI for your organization. If people don’t like how a home is decorated, they’re less likely to buy the house. The same concept goes for Facebook posts; if the content of your message doesn’t catch the eyes of your audience, no one will interact with it.

The first step in finding the content construction with the highest potential is already done for you, thanks to your work on the most effective length of post. You know your Facebook page’s top-performing posts and now you must determine what content they have in common.

First thing’s first, how are these top-performing posts written? Look to see if there are jokes in many of them or questions or a story. This will help you figure out if your audience reacts to a certain style of writing that sticks out amongst all the posts on their timeline. For example, if your association’s members engage more with a post that tells a story about another member, you can assume that using a storytelling bent to your posts will be more likely to yield favourable results in the future.

The next element to be aware of is the inclusion of media in your top-performing posts. If you see that eight of your top 10 posts have photos included in them while the posts that didn’t perform so great were without visuals, you can deduce that using pictures, infographics or videos will help your organization gain more engagement and increase its reach.

Stat #3- Timing of Post

If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one around to hear it, there is a noise (because science), but the same cannot be said for a Facebook post. If no one is on Facebook when you send out a message on your organization’s wall, it is not going to receive its full potential for engagement or reach. That is why you need to determine the best timing for your posts.

The process of determining the best time to post to Facebook is a little less work than the previous two exercises. There is a tool on Facebook Insights that allows you to see when the peak usage times are for your page’s followers. This tool lets you see the most effective date and time for your posts, including a day-to-day look at which hours see the most traffic hit Facebook.

With this information in your back pocket, it’s now time to determine the timing of your posts. If your organization only posts three times a week, analyze which days more of your followers are on Facebook. For example, if Monday, Wednesday and Thursday are higher traffic days, post on those days as there is a higher chance of your message being seen.

The next step is to establish which hours on those specific days are best for posting. The same tool that told you which days offer peak usage will also help you determine the hours during which the greatest amount of your followers are on Facebook. If you see that the activity of your followers peaks at 10 am on Monday, take a note of this trend and start posting between 9:50 and 10:50 on Mondays, instead of at noon on Mondays.

*****

Although there is no magic formula to increase engagement on or the reach of your Facebook posts, there is a way that you can increase the likelihood of this happening. By analyzing the three statistics above, you can construct Facebook posts that have the potential to increase the impact of your social media strategy and the ROI you are gaining from your efforts.

A Few Simple Ways to Analyze The Success Of Your Organization’s Blog

Your organization’s Twitter account is pretty good, the Facebook page is decent and its Instagram account is no weakling, but the blog you help run, that’s the crown jewel of your social media strategy. It’s updated frequently, is always stocked with creativity and novel approaches to conveying information and never runs short on visuals. Your proud of it and rightfully so.

However, there’s one thing that’s bothering you. It’s just a little worry tugging at the back of your mind, but you can’t dismiss it; you don’t exactly know how well the blog is doing. You publish quality stuff and it should be attracting all kinds of great statistics, but you can’t really be sure because you have never measured it. The problem is, you don’t know where to start and your organization can’t spend weeks collecting data and a small fortune on tracking software.

If this sounds like you, stay calm and read on. We’ve put together a few ways you can track the success of your association or small business’s blog that are free and easy to use.

Twitter Analytics

You can tell a lot about the success of your blog posts from the attention they receive on Twitter. Twitter Analytics is a free and easy-to-use tool that will help shed light on the way people are interacting with your blog posts.

The first step is look at the number of impressions your blog posts are generating. This will help you define the reach of your blog posts. The more impressions you receive, the more people who are seeing your tweet containing a link to you blog. The more people who see it, the more likely they are to interact with that tweet view your blog. If you discover your reach is low, try tweeting your blog post out several times a week and using different hashtags to reach a larger audience.

The next step to take is to record how many times your Twitter users are clicking on the link to your blog. This number will tell you how successful Twitter is at directing traffic to you blog/website and how much traffic in general is landing on your blog. Calculating this number can be done through Twitter Analytics or through a link-shortening site such as bit.ly.

Facebook Insights

While Facebook Insights don’t provide the mountain of data that Twitter Analytics do, it does give some fairly valuable information on how much attention is being paid to your blog posts.

Just like with Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights can give you an idea as to how many people are seeing your post about your blog and in return, how many people are interacting with it. The reach of your post notifies you about how many users have laid eyes on your post. The bigger the reach, the more people coming across your post. The next step is to take the number of interactions you received on these posts (likes, shares, clicks) and figure it as a percentage of total reach. This will help you conclude if your blog posts are being passed over or if they are drawing people to do more than scan words on their Facebook timeline.

One of the best tools to boost your reach (and therefore give you a better chance to increase engagement and traffic to your blog) is to analyze the time your audience is online. Facebook Insights provides a tool that allows you to see when the people who like your page are online. If the peak time for Facebook use is noon on Wednesday among your audience, that’s when you should be posting blog updates every week.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a treasure trove of information about your blog’s performance. It is so useful that it deserves its own post, but for now, we’ll just give you two very crucial metrics that will help enhance your understanding of your organization’s blog.

The first number to keep your eye on is plain, old page views. This number simply tells you how many times your blog has been viewed. This is a good place to start, but the number doesn’t tell even half of the story. From page views, you can examine average session duration. This is the average time spent on your site for every visit. This number can tell you if people are actually reading your posts or if they reading the first line and deciding it’s not worth it.

Another important number from Google Analytics that’s worth paying attention to is pages-per-session. This is the average number of pages that each visitor to the blog will click on through the course of their visit. One of the main goals of your organization’s blog is to drive traffic to other parts of the website. This metric will give you a good idea of how well your blog is accomplishing this goal. If the pages-per-session numbers are low, try putting a “suggested reading” section at the bottom of each blog post. This will direct readers to another post or part of your organization’s website that relates to the content in the blog post and that your audience might find interesting.

Nine Lessons That Doors Open Can Teach Organizations About Social Media

Over 150 businesses and buildings in Toronto threw their doors wide open and invited the public to explore as part of the annual Doors Open event this past weekend.

Curious residents were able to learn what it was like behind the scenes at historic venues, exclusive social clubs, sporting venues and other interesting sites around the city. The event has been growing for years and it’s not uncommon to experience hour-long wait times just to step foot in some of the locations.

Needless to say, if your organization’s events were as popular as Doors Open Toronto, it would be a dream come true. There are certain elements of the initiative that your organization can learn a thing or two (or nine) from, especially when it comes to your social media strategy. Here are a few of the lessons we picked up from a weekend of adventuring:

People Want To Hear From The Expert

Doors Open gives people the opportunity to explore some of the buildings on your own, which can be fun, but some of the best locations offered guided tours by someone with knowledge of the site. These guides know all the interesting history, the building’s bizarre quirks, stories about each room and how the whole operation works. The do-it-yourself exploration lacks the guided tours expert knowledge.

Integrating some expert knowledge into your social media strategy is always a good way to go. For example, if you want to write a blog about a fashion trend for your retail store or a new law that effects your association’s members, try reaching out to a fashion blogger or specialized lawyer to contribute a guest post. Your audience will appreciate both the fresh voice and the expert perspective that you may not be able to provide.

Going Behind The Scenes Is Cool

There are many Torontonians who have attended an MLS soccer game at BMO Field without knowing what it takes to put on such a sporting event. Doors Open allows people to explore what its like behind the scenes at some of their favourite places, which adds knowledge, excitement and value to their next trip.

Similarly, your audience may be familiar with your operation, but unsure about the inner workings and day-to-day activities that make the organization run. Social media gives you the chance to change all this. Creating a video that shows the day in the life of the business highlights your staff, your initiatives and all the interesting activities your do on a daily basis, but behind the scenes. Your audience will have more knowledge of how your operation works and will feel more engaged with the organization.

A Little Content Goes A Long Way

Doors Open Toronto is a one-day event and that means residents flock to the locations in big crowds. Crowds mean lines and lines mean waiting around. The best sites are the ones that offer a little something while you wait, like a video explaining the origin of the building or signs at various point along the line with snippets of historical facts. They are engaging and help pass the time.

There will always come a time when you have a “social media lineup” of sorts. Your video still needs editing or your big blog post needs polishing off or your Twitter contest is still in the planning stages. In these situations, a little can go a long way for your audience. Post a short blog post or video and make sure to tweet on a regular basis, even if it deviates from your plan. It will keep your audience engaged. Note: always make sure the content is relevant and high-quality even if it’s short!

Shareable Moments Are The Best Moments

There were no shortage of cameras flashing and selfie-takers at any Doors Open venue. The lure of sharing your experience was too powerful and the opportunities were too hard to pass up. The smartest guides would point out an interesting feature of the site and a crowd of photographers would scramble to take a picture with it to share online.

The lesson here is, people want to share experiences, but not just any experience, an interesting and engaging one. Make sure that you provide these moments on your organization’s social media accounts. Encourage people to share their experience with your product with a hashtag or create moments at your event when attendees are encouraged to share their experience.

Learning Is Never Overrated

One of the pillars of Doors Open is access to information. Crowds turn out to dozens of buildings because they want to know more about them, from the way they operate to how they reflect the city’s culture and identity. People are hungry for information and Doors Open serves it up on a silver platter.

Give the people what they want by creating learning opportunities on social media. Make your Pinterest posts infographics that make learning visual, fun and shareable. Create how-to videos and blog posts. Tweet content that provides value to your audience through the sharing of relevant information. Stay up to date on the latest news and relate the relevant pieces to your audience in a way that provides value to their lives or careers.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

The variety during Doors Open Toronto is one of its biggest draws. Visitors can explore everything from historical sites to sporting arenas to government buildings. The venues stretch from one side of the city to the other and all points in between. There are guided tours and explore-it-yourself sites. The point is, there is something for everyone, which is why everyone shows up!

It’s always wise to integrate this approach in social media as well. Don’t just stick to a single platform; experiment with multiple platforms and sources of content. They might not all work out perfectly, but it’s the only way to realize which ones will. Provide a multitude of different style of content to keep things fresh. For example, blogs can come in all shapes and sizes, including lists, infographics, editorials, videos, chronologies and interviews. Utilize them all!

Provide People With A Road Map

Having lots of options during Doors Open is great, but it can get a little confusing if the organizers didn’t provide one key component; a map. There are several maps on the official website and maps on independent blogs that list the best places to go in each area of the city. This makes it easier for people to plan their day and take part in the best activity for them.

Your organization can provide its own road maps using social media. If your company is doing a big sale or your association is putting on a big conference, write a blog post about the best products/seminars to pay attention to if you’re looking for X, Y or Z. Tweet or post on Facebook with details for events or initiatives. Show people how to best utilize your organization’s services by drawing it on a ‘road map’ and pinning it to your Pinterest board or posting it on Instagram.

Interest Follows The Crowd

When standing in line at a Doors Open event this past weekend, there was one persistent question being asked by people passing by; “What is this for?” These people saw the line, figured it must be for something good and asked about it. Not only do these people know about the event for next time, they might have even gotten in line themselves.

If you want people to talk about your organization online, you need to assemble a crowd first. The key is providing a platform to draw this crowd and, in turn, increased interest. If you’re putting on an event, create a hashtag, live-tweet the event and use the hashtag. By providing the platform for the crowd (a hashtag), people will be more willing to engage and when Twitter users see their friends engaging, they’ll ask, “What is this for?” and we all know where that leads.

Unmask Value Without The Hard Sell

We’ve already talked about the guided tour during Doors Open and their high engagement factor, but what we didn’t say was that some of the guides had a vested interest in the venues. For example, the GM of the National Club led the tour of the site. He could have used the opportunity to hawk membership, but he simply put on an engaging, interesting tour. At the end of the presentation, there were at least two or three people out of a group of 30 who asked about membership.

Marketing your organization on social media operates much the same way as the guided tour of the National Club; highlight the value without coming right out and trying to sell the product or service. Educate your audience, engage them with interesting content, provide a chance to network and share exciting pieces of information or experiences. All these things will uncover the value of your organization to the lives of your audience and will sell your organization to them without the risk of alienating people with a hard sell.