Four Micro-volunteering Opportunities For Association Members On Social Media

Micro-volunteering has become all the rage in association circles and for good reason. Volunteering has always been a key tool for industry organizations because it lowers costs, gets members engaged and participating and improves services by adding a diverse and expert set of voices. The ever-growing, fast-paced reality of today’s world means fewer and fewer members are looking for the long-term commitment inherent in many association volunteer opportunities, such as sitting on a standing committee.¬†However, members still want to get involved in helping their association, which is why micro-volunteering, the practice of volunteering in¬†small increments of time, is growing in popularity.

It’s one thing to recognize this desire for micro-volunteering among members and another thing to find and provide these opportunities to them. Have no fear, we put together four social media-based micro-volunteering opportunities your association can offer to members. Here they are:

Moderate A Twitter Round Table

It’s always great to get an industry veteran on board with a volunteer opportunity, but some of the most well-known and well-respected people in the business are often busy or trying to refocus on family and leisure. Moderating a Twitter round table is a perfect way to include a senior member in a micro-volunteer position, capitalize on his/her clout among other professionals and add value for members by sharing the expertise of the moderator.

Contact a senior member of your association, preferably one that has a fair amount of experience on Twitter, and work with them to determine a topic and questions for the round table. Promote the round table to your association’s network, especially their ability to ask questions of the moderator and join in on the discussion. This planning session will probably take about an hour and the round table itself will usually run no more than an hour and a half for a total volunteer time of about two hours!

Manage An Account For The Day

This is a great opportunity to include all the different segments of your association’s membership into a micro-volunteering role. Recruit a student, a young professional, a veteran, a supplier/business member or any other demographic of member and have them post from the association’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account for a whole day. Not only is this fun and engaging for both the member and the audience, it also highlight’s your association’s connection and dedication to the type of member doing the posting.

This micro-volunteering opportunity doesn’t take much planning with the volunteer, but it does take some. Prior to the day, discuss generally what might make for some good posting with the volunteer, but don’t give specific guidelines as you want to give the volunteer some freedom to use their own point of view. Make sure they know what is acceptable and unacceptable to post. This planning process and the day of posting should only take up about two hours total for the volunteer.

Cover An Event Live On Social Media

This is a great opportunity for a member who wants to have a hand in shaping an association’s event without having to sit on a planning committee or get stuck at a registration area. Recruit a social media-savvy member to live-tweet an event, write blog post recaps or post on Facebook, Instagram, Vine or Snapchat during the event. Not only will this take pressure off your staff, but it will give an attendee’s-eye-view of what your association offers.

Before a volunteer or volunteers can cover an event live on social media, there has to be a small amount of planning. They need to know the schedule of events and which people and issues are the most important to highlight. This involves a quick email on your part a small amount homework on the volunteer’s part. While the event may take up one to three days, the social media aspect will only require a few hours from the volunteer, totalling altogether about four to five hours. You can even incentivize the opportunity further by giving your volunteer free or discounted access to the event!

Take Part In Social Media Tag

This is the easiest and quickest way for your association’s members to participate in a micro-volunteering opportunity. Association’s are always looking for a way to get the word out, promote their value and highlight the services they offer. Instead of having volunteers write long testimonials or sit on marketing and communications committees, have them play social media tag. This requires them to answer a question, such as, “What is the best reason for being a member of Association X?” and then tagging someone else on their social media platform to answer this question. It’s fun, easy, uses elements of gamification and helps spread the word about your organization.

Like we said above, this is the easiest and quickest form of micro-volunteering there is. It will not take a member more a minute or two to contribute to this cause, but it has the potential to have a long-lasting effect on how both members and potential members view your association.

How Social Media Can Make Membership In An Association Into A Lifestyle

When someone becomes a member of an association, it almost always means they are serious about their career and contributing to their industry. But let’s face it, membership can often seem like a feast-or-famine scenario where there is lots of action from the association in a small time frame and then nothing for months. For example, there’s always lots of hype around an association’s annual conference; the lead-up the event itself and the aftermath, but that generally accounts for about three weeks of the year, after which members are left to look far into the distance for the next chance to network, learn and have some fun.

This hurry-up-and-wait mentality can have a negative effect on members of any association. Long stretches without any meaningful involvement in the association can lead to frustration, resentment or, worst of all, apathy. All these reactions result in lower member engagement, lower participation in association services and fewer renewals when it comes time to pay the annual dues.

One of the solutions to this problem of vast peaks and valleys of association activity can be found in social media. By using multiple online platforms, associations can turn membership from a once-every-other-month practice into an everyday habit. When this happens, joining an association becomes a lifestyle, one that members are likely to keep up with for a long, long time. Here are a few ways that your association can turn membership into a lifestyle:

Talk About Your Members’ Interests

Your members don’t live inside a bubble; they have other interests besides talking about their job and their industry. Take an interest in the hobbies and pastimes of your members and talk about it on social media. This doesn’t mean that you need to stray from your association’s main message or mission by talking about the latest hit reality show. Instead, find a way to relate your members’ interests to the services your association provides or the overarching industry your association represents. This will keep your members coming back to your social media accounts and highlight your organization as well-rounded and consistently relevant to the lives of its members.

Finding out what your members are interested in is as easy as accessing Twitter Analytics. The “Followers” tab on Twitter Analytics allows you to examine which general areas your audience (hopefully made up of your members) are interested in. For example, the results may show that your members are really into technology or sports. Tweet a news article that ties one of these areas into your association or post an update on Facebook sharing content that connects your audience with information they might be looking for because of their interests.

Give Practical Advice

It’s human nature to keep coming back to something that gives value. People will always go back to a restaurant that has good food and good service. Individuals will always tune into the radio station that has the best handle on traffic and suggests the most useful alternate routes. And members will always want to engage with your association if it offers the most practical advice they can use in their everyday lives. Providing great tips, advice and how-tos is critical to keeping your members’ attention and ensuring a daily or weekly visit from them. When your association is being useful, your members will make a habit og coming back time and again.

Practical advice from your association can come in two forms: advice about accessing your association’s value and advice that helps your members’ professional development. Providing tips on how to extract the most value from an association’s programs is a great way to tie the everyday concerns of your members into your organization. You can create a fun YouTube tutorial on navigating your association’s website or using the members-only job board more effectively. You can also put together content that touches on your members and how they can do their jobs better. Lists are the best way to do this (people love lists!) and a blog is a perfect platform. For example, you can write about the top five ways to manage stress at your members’ workplaces or the top three institutions for continuing education for your members.

Have Some Fun

Everyone likes a little fun. That’s why we have weekends and holidays and at least two weeks of vacation every year. Just because your association often deals with the professional side of your members doesn’t mean it can’t get in on some of the fun too! Taking a break from serious topics, blatant promotional material and standard-but-important association updates is a key factor in drawing your members to your organization on any day and for any occasion. Incorporating some fun into your activities will means members don’t just see you as a business investment, but a life investment.

The most obvious point to start integrating some fun into your association’s marketing efforts is with social media and gamification. We’ve covered how association’s can use gamification in social media to engage members in a prior blog post, but the message boils down to being creative and focusing on achieving elements of play, such as rewards or mystery, while relating it to your association. Another way to help your members have fun on social media is to post an interesting, funny or motivational quote from someone in the industry on Twitter or Facebook. Additionally, you can write a blog post that combines the aforementioned practical advice with fun elements, such as a list of the top 10 songs your members can work to or the top five movies that depict members of your association’s industry.

Encourage Discussion

Most people life having a say in their lives, which means your association can’t create a lifestyle by never asking for the input of its members. Getting your members engaged and contributing to your association’s activities gives them a stake in the outcome of decisions. Your members will be more likely to attend events or use a service when they feel like they have had a hand in shaping these elements of your association. When members are a part of the process, it becomes more than faceless communiques and throwing money at membership; it becomes part of their life and everyday thoughts.

Social media is the perfect forum for getting your members engaged and contributing to an ongoing discussion about the efforts of your association. Have a Twitter chat about an issue in your industry or association, live-blog/tweet your annual conference, interview members on YouTube and ask for comments on the video or create a “Digital Idea Wall” on Pinterest of Facebook. All of these social media efforts will give a voice to your members and keep them engaged and loyal to your association.

How Associations Can Capitalize on Social Media’s Obsession with Food

The industry built around humankind’s love for food is an unstoppable force. There are whole TV channels dedicated to food, there are whole sections of book stores focused on providing home cooks with inspiration and there’s always new and quirky restaurants popping up to cater to foodies. The craze has, naturally, filtered through to social media where Pinterest is drenched in recipes, Instagram is plastered with food pics and Twitter abounds with restaurant suggestions. But none of this matters if you’re an association. Your mission is to provide education, knowledge, advocacy and professional development to members and this doesn’t really include jumping on the food-obsessive bandwagon, right? Actually, that’s where you’re quite wrong.

Here’s two ways your association can capitalize on social media’s obsession with food and help members at the same time.

Host a “Knowledge Potluck” and Post It to Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your association’s next networking event, mentorship night or Tweetup, try putting a twist on a potluck. Everyone knows that a potluck involves having event attendees bring one item of food each to share with the group. Go right ahead and have your staff, board of directors or even your members bring their best example of cooking, but also ask them to provide something for a “Knowledge Potluck.”

A knowledge potluck works the same way as the ordinary food kind, except that everyone brings one piece of practical advice, one idea or one story that will help their fellow colleagues (and your members) in their careers. These pieces of knowledge can be mounted on a big board in the room or at each person’s food offering. Whatever you decide to do, take photos of the gathered knowledge and post them to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to share with your other members.

Create a “Recipes for Success” Pinterest Board or Facebook Album

If you took a good look at every person’s account on Pinterest or Facebook, chances are, 90% of them would have a board or a few pictures in an album dedicated to recipes and food. Your association can jump on this trend by creating its own set of recipes, but substitute food for management acumen. Have your staff, board members, award winners, volunteers or members write down their recipe for success, whether it’s a dash of planning, a spoonful of positivity or a heaping amount of financial expertise, and then post them to Pinterest and Facebook.

Not only is this great for boosting engagement (like we said, everyone searches for recipes on Pinterest), it gives your association a chance to highlight members, start conversations between members and provide members with insight into what has made other people successful in their industry.

Why Blog Posts Alone Aren’t Enough For A Social Media Strategy

You might know us, but we don’t know you. You might be a small business that focuses on serving a niche audience. You may be a professional association looking to reach members, both new and old. Heck, you might even be an individual trying to find a way to boost your personal clout on social media. It doesn’t matter who you are, the point is, if all you’re doing is blogging, you’re doing it wrong.

Blogging is a great way for you to promote yourself, your business and your services, but social media has evolved to a point where a blog alone will not sustain an online marketing strategy. Here’s why that is the case and what it means for your social media efforts:

The Meaning of Blog

There’s a reason why blogs are a popular and effective way to market your organization. In fact, there are several reasons. We’ve outlined them before, but the meaning of a blog boils down to this; you just want to be heard. You want your organization’s efforts, expertise, services and ideas spread to loyal followers and potential partners alike. You want to make it easier for people to find you online. You want to make the best parts of your website more accessible and enticing for visitors. All this starts with a blog because a blog helps your organization’s SEO results, gives a new perspective on the value of your organization and acts as a starting point for website exploration. This might have been enough to suffice in the past, but not any more. If you want to accomplish these goals, you’re going to have to marry your blogging abilities with the use of several other online marketing platforms. Only then will you truly find the meaning of blog.

Go With The SEO Flow

Blogs are great for boosting your organization’s search engine optimization (SEO) results. If you want a potential customer or member to find you on Google, a blog is great. The reason is, Google gets bored; the search engine will knock you down a few pegs in the order if you are not frequently creating fresh, relevant content. Since your home page, contact information, etc., doesn’t change that often, a blog is a perfect way to keep Google interested and your organization’s name at the top of searches.

However, recent changes to Google’s search algorithms mean that a blog alone isn’t enough to catapult you a few spaces and onto the first page of results. Google now emphasizes the importance of other social media platforms in an organization’s SEO results, especially Twitter. Building a presence on multiple social media platforms and consistently posting relevant content to these accounts will help your organization improve its SEO. The bottom line is, the more places you show up online with quality content, the more Google will like you. Do your blog a favour and partner it with another piece of social media, like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Go Shout It From The Rooftop

Another important element of a blog is its ability to convey important information. A blog can tell your established community, like loyal customers, about a new initiative you are starting or it can give some interesting insight into your operations for those considering your services. A blog is an important space that is able to highlight the value your organization can bring to an individual and can do so in a variety of interesting, engaging and interactive ways.

This is all fine and dandy for our organization, but the truth is, if no one is visiting your blog, the great content it provides is next to useless. Social media has changed the way people get their news and information and creating a list of must-read blogs is just not as popular as it was a decade ago. It is much more common for individuals to access content from other platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook. For example, Facebook is the main gateway for Millennials to learn about several current event topics, according to an American Press Institute survey. This is the reason why blogs work so well in a social media team; blogs provide the content that engages your target audience and other platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, act as a megaphone, drawing people in so they can get a better look. So next time you want your blog’s message heard, go shout it on from the rooftop that is formed from one or several other social media accounts.

Go Pave New Roads

One of the biggest and most recent buzz words to start coming from everyone’s mouths is “traffic.” Everyone wants increased traffic to their organization’s website and a blog is one fantastic way to achieve that goal. We have already covered why a blog is great for SEO purposes and how a blog can act as a gateway for people searching for a specific product, service or piece of information that your organization has written about. From your blog, visitors to your website can then look around and explore other parts of the site, which increases the likelihood that they will use your services.

To really get a grasp on why a blog is only one part of increasing traffic to your organization’s website, here’s a little metaphor: Imagine your website is a city that is looking to bring more tourists in to boost its economy. A blog is the equivalent of a plane that flies tourists from one city to your city. This is great for tourism, but to really boost tourism, you would want to operate several planes from several cities. These other planes are your other social media accounts. One plane could be Twitter, which brings people to your website by linking to content from the site in tweets and the account’s home page. Another plane could be Facebook, which also provides links via photo albums, posts, calls to action, etc. The point is, when you pave new roads to your website, it makes it easier for people to visit.

How To Mark An Association Milestone Or Special Occasion With The Help Of Social Media

Associations are no strangers to special occasions. They put on big events, celebrate the achievements of members and are often in the thick of things when something big happens in their respective industries.

However, while association’s are great at showcasing the greatness of others, they often lack this same zeal in marking their own milestones. Many associations have a rich history of improving their industry, providing services and helping members excel and celebrating this heritage is important to pursuing future success. This is an example of a huge milestone, but associations don’t need a 25th or 50th anniversary to make a hoopla over themselves, they just need a small victory, or even just a memory of one, to highlight its achievements and its value to its members.

Marking an association milestone is important, but your organization can’t organize a big event or call all its members every time it does something interesting or memorable. That’s why social media platforms are the perfect tools to mark these milestone. Here are a few ways you can celebrate some common association achievements using social media:

A Major Anniversary

Whether your association has been around for 10 years, 50 years or 100 years, an anniversary is a cause to celebrate. It’s an occasion not to only to mark the successes and loyalty of your members, but also the accomplishments and lasting value of the organization itself.

The great thing about an anniversary is that you have a fairly large period of time to work with. You can develop a strategy to roll out over a whole year, which means you can incorporate many different ways to mark this milestone. Creating YouTube videos to mark the history of the association is a great place to start. Make a video that interviews influential members from each decade your association has existed or a series of Heritage-Moment-like videos to showcase the history of your association. Profile key members, such as the founders, award winners and trailblazers, and other important moments in your association’s history through a blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. At the end of the year, create an online “Hall of Fame” for your association by taking these profiles, videos and posts and putting them all in one place, such as a dedicated Pinterest board or Facebook photo album.

A Great New Partnership

Partnerships are often a huge deal for associations and mark a turning point in an organization’s quest to provide better service, improve credibility, develop a stronger lobbying influence or attain another advantage. Marking this milestone is an important step in letting members know the association is stronger than ever before and consistently looking for ways to help them excel in their careers and in life.

Social media can help you mark a great new partnership in two main ways; by spreading the word and showcasing the advantage of your association teaming up with one or several other organizations. There are three words to help you spread the word of a new alliance through social media; share, share and share! Tweet about it, post it to Facebook, share through Instagram, write about it on your blog and put it up on LinkedIn. Your members don’t just want to know that the partnership is happening, they want to know how it’ll help them. Create an infographic blog post showing the direct value the partnership will have for members and share it to Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Host a Twitter chat and have representatives from the partnering organizations field questions from members or create a YouTube video where a member interviews these representatives and asks questions about the member value of the alliance.

A Government Relations Victory

Associations can lobby the government for years about one issue, so when the organization scores a victory, you’ll probably want to make the most of it, especially because it usually means big things and big changes to the way members go about their work.

Changes in government policy or legislation because of an organization’s lobbying efforts usually affects an association’s members in a quantifiable way. Use social media to highlight these positive effects and underline the association’s milestone. Use an infographic on your blog or create a video to take the milestone and turn the victory rhetoric your association uses into cold, hard numbers and facts that your members can relate to and use in their jobs. Go a bit further and profile a member, charting the ways in which a government relations victory will help him/her in the present and into the future. Share little, shareable facts, quotes and 140-character stories of the victory through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Lastly, don’t worry if you haven’t won a government relations victory in a while; celebrate the achievements of the past by creating a timeline-type blog post about previous lobbying milestones or mark the occasion by using the popular Throwback Thursday hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to share the anniversary of a monumental government relations victory.

Four Ways Your Association Can Better Recognize Members Using Social Media

Everyone likes a pat on the pack for a job well done, which is one of the primary reasons associations have been so successful across the decades.

Let us explain; an association’s mission is to help their members excel in their industry and careers. Being recognized by a legitimate, well-known and well-respected organization is one way people can set themselves apart from the pack, which can lead to a job, a promotion, better salary, improved working conditions or any number of different benefits. This is why association services like award programs, professional designations and committees are popular. They give members a chance to be recognized and gain prestige.

So, if recognition is valuable to your members, and thus for your association, incorporating the concept into other areas of your organization can yield some great results. Fortunately, recognizing members on social media is fairly easy to do. Here are some ideas for how your association can shine the spotlight on members through online platforms, from simple to out-of-the-box.

Give Them A Shout Out

Recognizing members on social media can be as simple as mentioning them and their accomplishments on your association’s platforms. Make sure to keep track of the achievements of members, big or small, and highlight them. For example, if a member has cut their carbon footprint, congratulate them and their success with a tweet. If a member published a book or an article in a professional journal or was invited to talk at the local post-secondary school, include this information in a Facebook post.

Singling these members out for the small achievements they earn will not only make them feel appreciated, but will also go a long way to helping them show the world how accomplished they how much dedication they have for their job, which helps them in their careers. Giving your members a quick shout out on social media allows your association to give them this valuable exposure while saving resources to highlight the major accomplishments members attain.

Publish An Interview With Them

Conducting an in-depth interview with a member and incorporating it into your association’s social media is a great way to draw attention to your organization’s brand ambassador’s and their achievements. Their will always be special members, those ones who have been loyal to the association and have made a name for themselves in the industry. These are the members who win awards or get other major accolades. Recognize them by filming an interview and posting it to your YouTube channel or create a blog post featuring your discussion with this member.

The members who you are likely to focus on with this strategy are those who are either very experienced, are trailblazers or obviously stand out from their peers. Regardless of the reason for their success, they are role models for the rest in the industry. This is why profiling them in such a prominent way will not only make it obvious that your association appreciates them, but will let others in the industry know that part of being successful is being an active member of the association.

Create An Online Hall Of Fame

One of the highest honour athletes can receive is to be inducted into their sport’s hall of fame. Incorporating this concept into your association’s social media strategy can have the same effect on members. Create a “Hall of Fame” board on your association’s Pinterest account and profile a different member weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Use Instagram to accomplish the same thing, profiling a new member every so often and including a photo and description of their accomplishment, such as being one of the organization’s longest-serving members.

Other than having the moniker “Hall of Fame” next to their name, members will appreciate the relative permanence of this strategy. They are in elite company and will be able to enjoy that exclusivity for a while. This is particularly relevant on Pinterest where boards are featured prominently at all times, whereas tweets drift out of the public eye as time goes on.

Let Them Be Social Media Moderator For A Day

With great accomplishments come great power. This is what you’re saying to members who have achieved something great when you make them a social media moderator for a day. They can give their own insights, expertise and perspective when in charge of social media accounts, which boosts awareness of their own personal brand among those in the industry. For example, recruit your major award winner to lead a Twitter chat from your association’s account or take over your association’s Instagram account for the day to document a ‘day in the life’ of an award winner.

Not only does this strategy encourage engagement between members and one of their high-profile colleagues, but it also rewards a member who has done something extraordinary with the power to highlight the things that make them exceptional. In the era of increased personalization, this is a unique way to give members a chance to recognize themselves in their own way. This is truly something they can point to as not only an exciting experience, but one that raised their stock in the eyes of others.

What The 2015 Pan Am Games Can Teach Us About Social Media

The 2015 Pan Am Games officially closed last Sunday in Toronto and although the city still has the Para Pan Am Games to look forward to, this occasion gave the city and the entire country a chance to reflect on the achievement of its athletes and the process of hosting a major multi-sport event.

The lessons were plentiful and the opinions of experts and the general public alike shifted slowly from the opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies. At the end of the day, the event was deemed a success by a vast majority of the commentators. Here at Incline Marketing, we always like to learn from successful organizations and events, so after examining what the Pan Am Games did right, we came up with four lessons from the event that can be applied to building a successful social media strategy. Here they are:

Plan For The Worst And You’ll Get The Best

Negativity reigned supreme among a majority of the local media and among the public before the Games started. The traffic was going to be absolutely, insanely horrible, no one was going to show up to the events and the newly built venues would be white elephants for decades to come. The Pan Am organizers heard these dire prophecies and worked hard at creating strategies to combat them. In the end, everything worked out as close to perfect as they could have, thanks in large part to the preparation of the organizers and volunteers.

A lot of people like to spout worst-case scenarios about social media too. For example, people fear that it opens them up to too much criticism or that the money/time spent on social media efforts is a giant waste. However, if you can plan effectively, you can take much of the sting out of these nay-sayers. Draw up a plan to deal with negative comments or sudden crisis on your social media platforms. Have guidelines that you and other staff should follow when posting to the organization’s Twitter account, Facebook page, etc. Develop strategies to measure your return on investment and achieve your goals. Having these plans in place will ensure that you’re prepared for the worst, but will most likely achieve the best.

Exclusivity Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Part of the success of the 2015 Pan Am Games was its high level of accessibility. Tickets were relatively cheap and plentiful. Events were spread out across southern Ontario so people from different regions could take part. Open events, such as concerts, were held almost every day of the Games in popular spots. These are just some examples of how the organizers made the event inclusive and drew the attention of thousands of people that critics said would remain apathetic and disengaged.

There are many organizations that tout exclusivity as the ultimate reason for not only their success, but their very existence. In rare circumstances this may be true, but using wide-reaching exclusivity to draw an increased customer/membership base is generally an out-dated concept. When your organization makes content easily accessible through its social media channels, it is being inclusive. This inclusiveness gives people a sense of belonging, increases engagement and builds a community that people want to be part of. This is nothing but a win-win for your organization and its target audience.

Pride Is Powerful

Every single day throughout the course of the 2015 Games, Canadian athletes would say they performed at their very best because of the home crowd. When thousands of people are cheering you one and celebrating your every victory, no matter how big or small, it’s natural to want to work as hard as you can and give back to your supporters. The athletes were greeted by a wave of national pride and they rewarded Canadians with a record number of Pan Am medals.

Shining the spotlight on people’s accomplishments has a hugely positive effect on them outside of athletics too. Social media is a great vehicle for recognizing people in your community or a member/customer who has done something special. Highlighting their achievement in such a public way is an opportunity to show appreciation for the people who help make your organization a possibility. Just like support from fans, recognition in other industries is a two-way street. If your organization recognizes how hard you’ve worked to accomplishment something, you’re going to be more likely to renew membership, volunteer on a committee, subscribe to a newsletter or attend their next event.

Engagement Begets Engagement

By the time of 2015 Pan Am Games were winding down last week, the conversation was not about if the event was a success (there was no doubt it was), but if Toronto should host more international sporting competitions. People wrote about bringing the Track and Field World Championship or the FIBA World Championships to the city. And of course, the biggest clamour was for another bid on the Summer Olympics. This signalled a huge shift from the prevailing notion at the start of Games that Toronto was just too darn apathetic for a major multi-sport event to take off. But because the Pan Am organizers did such a good job at engaging the citizens of the city, Torontonians are wondering where they can get more.

Social media has these same addictive characteristics. The name of the game for a multi-platform strategy is engagement. The purpose of Twitter or Facebook or Instagram is to connect with your organization’s target audience and get them engaged and invested in the organization’s efforts, both online and offline. When engagement is fostered through social media, it becomes easier for your audience to see opportunities to get involved in other areas. That may be volunteering or attending events or simply referring your organization to their friend. The point is, engagement snowballs; when you make it easy to connect with your organization online, you open up your audience’s eyes to possibilities that exist in all areas.