Integrating Elements of Gamification Into Your Association’s Social Media Strategy

“The opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression.”

The above quote served as the introduction to a presentation on using the science of play to create better association events by Julie King during the CSAE Trillium Chapter’s Summer Summit. King would go on to talk about how play can engage an association’s members and, in another presentation, how organization’s can use the elements of gamification to create a better member experience.

While gamification (the practice of applying the typical elements of game playing to other activities) is often associated with mobile apps, there’s no rule saying that it has to be restricted to the online world. In fact, during King’s presentation, several discussions among attendees resulted in ideas for how associations can use gamification in all areas of their operation.

Having said that, gamification is a perfect fit for association’s looking to boost their social media efforts. By using some of the elements of game play in social media strategy, associations can engage members, promote their services and increase the value they add to peoples’ lives. Here are a few elements of gamification and some ideas on how to integrate them into your social media efforts.

Mystery

Nothing captures peoples’ attention like a good guessing game. Working towards a big discovery is a key part of game play and gives everyone an opportunity to not only focus on the end result, but on the experience and the process as well. Incorporating mystery into your association’s social media strategy every once in a while will give your members a chance to see what your organization has to offer from a different perspective while also giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Integrating mystery into social media can be as complex or as simple as your association wants to make the task. Achieving an air of mystery can be as simple as asking a trivia question about your organization or industry on Twitter or Facebook. For example, you can tweet the question, “Who was our first president?” or “What is the name of the article on page 12 of the latest issue of our magazine?” Racing to find the answer and be the first one to solve this ‘mystery’ provides an opportunity to engage with members, for members to achieve something and for you to drive traffic to areas of your association you want highlighted.

If you want to go a little more complex, social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are ideal for creating mystery. Providing visual clues for members is a great way to get them engaged and invested in the outcome. For example, post a portion of a picture that defines the location of your next event and have your members guess where the annual conference will be next year. It’s a fun and engaging way to get your members thinking about an upcoming event and give them some stake in the outcome. You can even award a prize to the first person who guesses correctly, which brings us to the next element of gamification…

Reward

Everyone likes getting rewarded for their efforts against fierce competition, whether it’s a trophy for winning the big golf tournament or the accumulation of “money” in a video game. Rewarding your members for a job well-done on social media is a great way to engage members and recognize them for their efforts, which means they are getting more value out of your association.

Again, using a reward system on social media can be as small or as big as your association wants. For example, ask your members to submit ideas for topics they would like to see as a webinar or conference presentation. Collect them and pick a winner who could receive a discounted conference registration or free attendance at the webinar. You can even go a step further and take some of the best ideas and pit them against each other in a bracket-style showdown for the best one. Members can vote each day through Twitter and Facebook (and Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn, etc.) and the person who submitted the top choice could receive a prize.

If you want to go for something even more creative, try a project like Twitter Bingo. Twitter Bingo works like normal Bingo, but instead of numbers for each of the squares, there are tasks that can only be completed through Twitter, such as retweeting the association, mentioning another member in a tweet and tweeting one fact about the association. You organization can send out the Bingo “card”, members would complete the tasks and send the card back with screen-shot proof and either receive a prize or be entered to win a big reward.

Narrative

Storytelling is one of the best ways to learn. That’s the reason children are taught important life lessons through fairy tales and nursery rhymes and why some of the most popular video games in the world have great story lines. Stories need a good narrative to be successful and there is no better place to get your association’s story out than through social media. By incorporating this element of gamification into your online efforts, your association can connect with members and help educate members about products, services and value in an engaging way.

Integrating a narrative into your association’s social media can be done in a multitude of ways, both big and small and at any point in between. Depending on the platform, the narrative is going to look different. For example, if you association is on YouTube and wants to create a narrative about its conference, you can follow a first-time conference goer around and film his/her experience, edit it together and tell the story of the event through the eyes of a newcomer. This allows you to highlight the event through a unique perspective and one that your members will value. You can also create a recap of your event on YouTube and Instagram or tell the story of an award winner, the organization’s lobbying efforts or its history through a blog or a Facebook post.

If you want to try something a little more complex with a narrative, you can create a Choose Your Adventure blog post to promote your next event. Create multiple scenarios around the story of attending your next event. Members will need to navigate through the scenarios to reach a successful end. This creates a situation in which members will subtly learn about the features of the conference while having fun and being engaged. It also incorporates the concepts of mystery and reward into one project, making this blog post an all-around gamification superstar.

Three Ways Your Organization Can Freshen Up Its Social Media Content

Social media is often a “What have you done for me lately,” game and if your answer to that question is, “What we usually do,” your organization might be in trouble.

Nobody likes seeing stale, monotonous content on social media. For example, if your organization’s tweets consist of two republished articles and a page from your website every single day, your followers might go elsewhere for their daily dose of creativity and engagement.

You might be saying, “Well, we do the same thing again and again because it works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” You’re very right, you need to be consistent in giving your network what they want and if tweeting three republished articles every day gets engagement from the right people, you’re doing well. However, fresh content and the usual, reliable content can coexist on the same social media account. Fresh content is a way to engage a wider audience, highlight more value and set you apart from the crowd.

Look at it this way; your house could look absolutely amazing with antique furniture and classic paint colours, but if you still have that ratty couch you pulled from the dumpster in your college days, that’s all anyone is going to be looking at. Add a fresh couch and it completes the entire home.

If you’re stuck on how to inject some newness into your content, fear not, we have your back with these three ideas:

1. Get Tweeting, March Madness Style

It’s the latter days of March and that means it’s time for the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament, which is like Christmas for college sports fans. Millions of people fill out their brackets before the tournament and watch the games on TV with fervent attention. Why not have your organization tap into this cultural phenomenon while creating fresh content for social media by having its own March Madness style initiative on Twitter?

If you need some ideas for what this would look like, think about your association’s next conference. Think of eight, 16 or even 32 speaking topics and pit them against each other. Ask your Twitter followers to retweet for one choice or favourite for the other and slowly eliminate the topics until you have one or two champions. This will get your members involved and excited for the event while adding a breath of fresh air to your social media content.

2. DIY Quotes Across Multiple Platforms

People love quotes. There’s something about seeing a product, organization or idea captured by one person’s wisdom or wit that makes people want to engage on social media. One study concluded that tweets with quotes received a 19% boost in retweets. If you scroll through Facebook or Pinterest, you’ll pass a quote as often as a you pass another car on the highway.

Your organization can take advantage of this trend in human nature, but with a twist. Don’t rely on mining quotes from famous authors or philosophers, source quotes from your community and target audience. Call up a veteran member of your association or a loyal customer of your business, ask some questions and let them know what it’s for. Extract a quote that captures the value of your services, your business concept or the community. Post this quote on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest and link to your website.

Using the conference example again, call a member of your association that frequents the annual conference and talk to them about the importance of education. They might say something along the lines of, “Education is the rungs of the ladder that has helped me rise in my career.” Not only is it a quote (which is awesome for engagement), but it comes from someone your target audience trusts. It also injects a little fun into your daily posts.

3. A “Life in a Day” Remix

Three years ago, YouTube decided to pursue a massive project; create a movie that captures the day in the life of people from all over the world using footage from regular people. It was a huge success, garnering more than 10 million views on YouTube and receiving plenty of accolades.

Your organization’s version might not be this successful, but it can definitely add a little something extra to your video efforts. Put a camera at the front of your office or store and encourage staff, volunteers, visitors, members and customers to record their experiences whenever they get the urge. Tell your network to get busy filming on their own, recording their life in a day or a week. Provide some prompts on what to talk about and tie them into your organization. Edit these clips together them together and show the world how different people view your organization and how your organization adds value to people’s lives.

This is a great way to incorporate fresh views on your association, non-profit, charity or small business into one video while including everyone from staff to your board of directors, customers, members and volunteers. It also provides an we’re-all-in-this-together vibe that strengthens your community, both online and off line.

10 Things Associations Can Say With Video, In Honour of YouTube’s 10th Birthday

My, how time flies.

It seems like just yesterday that a young YouTube was entertaining us with Charlie Bit My Finger and Double Rainbow Man while making our mouths water with all the marketing and awareness opportunities it presented. And now YouTube is 10-years-old.

The video-viewing platform has aged well and is still be a terrific option for associations looking to engage with its members. In fact, we have put together 10 examples of how your association can talk to members through YouTube in honour of this milestone. Here they are:

“Look How Our Staff Helps You Every Day”

It’s easy for your members to see your association as a series of circles on their calendar. April is the month to pay dues. July is the summer networking event. November is the yearly conference. YouTube is a great way to show people that your organization is more than just the sum of these flashy events. One way to do this; create a “Day In The Life of Our Office” video. Show members what your staff do every day, what projects and services they are working on and how they define success for members and the association as a whole.

“Here’s How You Can Get The Most Out Of Your Membership”

Members usually have a tough time justifying the expense of membership if they aren’t using the services that come along with it. Sometimes, the reason for this is they don’t know what services are best and how to access them. Underline the value of membership and help members develop their careers by creating a video or a series of videos that highlight lesser-used services or a package of benefits and showing members how to get the most out of them. It will be a small investment with a potentially huge return.

“Our Annual Conference Is Pretty Awesome for Members”

Your annual conference is awesome; you know, your staff know it and your planning committee knows it. Members might not know it, yet. Similar to membership, conferences are often a big expense that people can’t justify without knowing what exactly their getting. Next time you go to your conference, come prepared with a camera. Film all the different aspects of your event, capture what sets your association apart and interview attendees. Put it all together and showcase the sights and sounds of your conference. It will help your association make a more vibrant pitch to members who are on the fence.

“Check Out How Valuable Exhibitors Think Our Trade Show Is”

It’s getting tougher and tougher to convince potential exhibitors that paying for space at your trade show is worth it to them, especially with social media opening up quick and inexpensive opportunities for businesses to reach clients. Nothing will help persuade them to make the investment like hearing the return on investment from a competitor. Create a testimonial-type video with a number of exhibitors mentioning the benefits of your association’s trade show. Interview attendees about the value of the trade show as well. Businesses may not listen to your association, but they will listen to customers.

“This One Member Is Pretty Awesome For These Reasons”

Everyone likes to be recognized. Your association is in the unique position to give exceptional members some attention. In doing so, your organization is setting itself apart by providing members a spotlight in a competitive industry or by simply being known as an organization that rewards loyal, hard-working members. If you hear of a member who has done something interesting or has achieved a big goal, ask them if you can profile them with a video. Tell their story and show other industry members how much more exposure they can gain through your association.

“Learn A Little Something About Our Board Members”

Your Board of Directors is a large influence on your association. The decisions it makes affect every aspect of the membership experience. If your members don’t know your Board, they can’t understand or believe in the choices they make. Creating a video introducing your Board to members is a great way to make your association’s governance more relateable. Videos are an especially handy tool for when a big, association-changing decision is made. You can write press releases all day explaining the logic behind the choice, but hearing it directly from the top (your Board) helps members get used to it faster.

“Look At Our Advocacy Efforts And How They Benefit You”

Associations can set themselves apart through advocacy. The logic behind effective lobbying is “strength in numbers” and this is what associations provide. However, the value of advocacy is often abstract for not easily quantified. Therefore, showing members how your association has their back on important legislative issues with video can add proof to your organization’s claims of value. Create quick clips of your association’s trip to government, film a press conference to make it easier for media to access and interview members on the issues that matter most to them.

“Here’s What We’re Doing For Young Members and Students”

It’s great to recognize long-time members, but it’s also crucial to attract the next generation of professionals to ensure the long-term health of your association. Create a video showing how young members can thrive by joining and participating in the organization. Film events your association provides for young professionals, showcase the awards available for students or interview a younger member about why they feel your association is valuable and a great tool to climb the ladder.

“Check Out This New Member Service, It’ll Help You Out”

Here’s the scenario; your association has just come out with a new service for members and all the staff is excited to launch it. There’s only one problem; your members don’t know anything about the new service. A video will add to your marketing and awareness efforts by explaining to members how to get the most out of this new service. Videos are a useful tool for this purpose because it can provide a explanation for members without overwhelming them with page after page of words while helping them with the addition of visuals, including charts, graphics and point form guides.

“This One Veteran Member Is A Star Of The Industry, Hear Us Interview Him”

Veteran members are a great source of compliments for your association. Your association has probably been a valuable resource for this member which is likely the reason they have stayed with you for so long. Film a short interview with this veteran member and talk with them about their accomplishments. Ask them about their commitment to the association and how it has helped them develop professionally. Hearing the value of your organization from a trusted colleague in the industry will help convince potential members that it’s worth following their lead.

Four Types Of Culture Your Association Wants And How Social Media Can Help You Get Them

Merriam-Webster released its 2014 word of the year a couple weeks ago and it’s not what you’d expect. Instead of a buzzword, such as content marketing or slacktivism, the world-renowned organization chose an much more important word; culture.

According to the good people at Merriam-Webster, culture is a term to convey a kind of academic attention to systematic behaviour and allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group. In other words, culture is the definition of an entity, such as an association, based on the way they act and talk.

Culture is obviously an important term in today’s world and it is an idea that influences how your association operates. Culture dictates how your staff works, what your organization’s goals are and how members interact with the association. A great social media strategy can help your association enhance a culture that entices new members, draws the attention of present members and strengthens the organization in other areas.

Your association certainly has an ideal culture in mind. That philosophical notion is put into concrete terms through things like a mission statement, specific member benefits, the type of education sessions offered at conferences and how staff communicate with members. All these things combine to define what your association represents and what it’s known for.

Good association culture is not a new thing and social media alone doesn’t create a culture of success, but it can highlight it, underline it and put an exclamation at the end of it.

Here are a few examples of what culture your association would want perpetuate and how social media could help

A culture of knowledge

If you want your association to be the go-to resource for industry knowledge, social media can give you a helping hand. Your association’s goal might be to provide the most up-to-date research and relevant content to help members. Online platforms are a hugely effective way to spread information. You can reach hundreds or thousands of people with a link to your latest publication or a research report through Twitter. You can write a blog outlining how to deal with new legislation that affects members. You can post a how-to video on YouTube that helps guide members through difficult times, such as a natural disaster. By getting that information out in large amounts and making it accessible to all strengthens your association’s culture of knowledge.

A culture of customer service

If you want to maintain a culture where members, sponsors and industry professionals feel comfortable communicating with your organization and get great service, social media is a the perfect tool for you. Any online platform cultivates instant two-way communication. For example, Twitter allows a member to ask a question of an association or comment on one of its services and receive a timely, tailored response. Social media allows your organization to be accessible and transparent to its members, which is a great asset for when non-members or potential sponsors want to find out more about your organization, but aren’t ready to take the step of calling, emailing or walking into the office.

A culture of community

Every association wants to create and grow a culture of community and make the organization a place members think of when they want to connect with colleagues. Social media was built to create a tighter community for people with similar interests or career aspirations, which makes it perfect for associations looking to instil this culture. Your association can stimulate conversation between members and those in the industry through social media, as it gives people a platform to connect with people they may never otherwise talk to. Having an association LinkedIn page is a great example. By creating informative posts and putting forward conversation topics, your association can build a sense of belonging and inclusiveness for members.

A culture of excellence

If you want members to think of excellence and accolades when they hear the name of your association, social media may be one of your best friends. One of your association’s main goals is undoubtedly to help advance the careers of its members. One way to do this is through programs that promote striving for success, like awards or professional designations. Marketing these programs can get a huge boost from social media, as it creates a culture of recognition that others want to be part of. Recognizing members and accomplishments is done best when there is a large audience and social media is great in this regard. For example, you can highlight a member who just won an award through Twitter, a blog, a YouTube video, Instagram, Vine or Facebook. The more you get the word out, the more your association’s culture of excellence grows and flourishes.

6 Ways Social Media Can Help You Promote Your Association’s Conference

There’s no two ways about it, conferences are a vital part of most associations. They generate a large chunk of the organization’s non-dues revenue and they provide attendees with a collection of services that make the association valuable and worth investing in, like education and networking.

The difficulty lies in signing people up to go to a conference. Annual association get-togethers usually cost a decent sum of money and often include traveling, which means time away from work and family. Therefore, it is essential to have the best product in order to entice people and make it worth their while. Promoting the excellence of your association’s conference can be done with the traditional means; direct mail, phone calls, magazine ads and the like. But it can also be done effectively and less expensive with social media. Here’s how:

Infographics

Infographics are a great way to take cold, hard numbers and turn them into engaging visual displays that highlight the value of attending your association’s conference. You can have all the statistics you want on comparative pricing, hours of education, number of trade show sales and other figures, but if no one is paying attention, it’s useless. Infographics draw the attention of potential attendees, extract the useful facts and figures from a range of numbers and illustrate the value of the conference in plain language. As a bonus, infographics can be shared on almost every online platform, from Twitter to a blog to your website.

Video Tour

A lot of potential attendees need to see it to believe it. What this means is that the conference is an abstract idea with little concrete value until they have visual evidence to make it a reality. Video tours can help make your conference a reality and assure members that your organization is doing things with quality on its mind. Making a YouTube video of the venue and the city where the conference will take place puts an image into the minds of potential attendees and encourages them to confront the possibility that going to the conference might just be a great experience. As a bonus, these video tours may help potential exhibitors and sponsors envision a role for them at the event.

Interview

Posting an audio, video or written interview on your social media platforms sends a message along the lines of, “Don’t just take our word for it, check out what attendees like you have to say about the conference.” Conducting an interview with an attendee of a previous conference provides potential attendees with the perspective of someone who in in their shoes and who they may trust a little more. Choosing to interview someone who is well-known in the industry will also provide more legitimacy to the strategy and will probably lend itself to being shared more online as this individual most likely has a larger than average network.

Pinning Conference/Travel Tips

We already touched on the potential benefits of infographics to your conference promotion strategy and pins have much the same effect, but in a slightly different way. Pins provide the visual representation of useful information to potential attendees, just like infographics, but because pins are often smaller, stand-alone pieces of information, it’s gives your association the ability to let attendees personalize the content they store. For example, you can pin family-focused travel tips for the city where the conference is being held. An attendee who might bring their family will find this valuable. You can also post various schedules of education sessions that might appeal to certain segments of your membership and potential attendees can pin the ones they find most useful.

Giving Attendees a Voice in Program Planning

Social media has the power to give potential attendees more say in some of the aspects of the conference programming. Posing questions on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter about session topics, round table discussion issues or even food choices gives your association a chance to start a discussion about the event, encourages engagement among members and boosts awareness of the conference’s quality and value. It also provides potential attendees with an emotional investment in the process and final outcome, which makes it more likely that they will make a financial/time commitment. As a bonus, this will help you create programming that fulfills the goals of the conference.

Social Media Contests

Social media contests create a win-win situation and everyone loves a win-win. Contests can help your association promote its conference in two main ways; by directly increasing registration and by increasing awareness of the event. For example, if you promote a contest through social media where every registrant is entered to win a free trip to the conference, it encourages people to sign up. Similarly, if you create a contest where every retweet, like, share, comment, re-pin, etc is rewarded with an entry for free registration, it manufactors a situation where the reach and effectiveness of your promotion is continually growing.

The Five Types of Videos That Will Better Engage Your Association’s Membership

There’s a reason FaceTime and Skype are popular communication apps; it’s always better when you see the face that matches the voice.

The above statement can help association’s learn a little something about connecting with members. Every organization has a voice they strive to speak with and that voice is developed over time through newsletters, advocacy, magazines, websites, events and similar communication initiatives. When association’s do it well, members come to recognize and trust this voice. However, putting faces to that voice can be a key piece in raising your association to the next level. Videos are a great way to accomplish this goal.

Videos can come in all shapes and sizes. So which videos are the right ones for associations? We’ve put together a few examples that can help you cover important angles of your organization and better engage members.

Highlighting Members and Their Achievements

Members are the lifeblood of any association. Without members, there is no organization. Every benefit, every event and every project is based on helping members grow and be successful. But you knew all of that already. Videos can help your organization highlight members, their contribution to the industry and society and draw attention to your association’s part in that success. A video will give your members a platform to speak about their accomplishments. It will also help people realize that you are focused on helping professionals excel. A video is important as it puts a face to the name and it allows others tell the community about the importance of your association instead of it coming from the association itself, which can often be tuned out.

Event Previews and Recaps

Events serve two main purposes; to give members a chance to learn and network and to capture a big percentage of your association’s non-due revenues. Drawing people to events is never a cakewalk, especially if you are a national association that has to persuade members to spend money traveling and attending. Videos can help your organization engage members and play a part in promoting key events.

An event preview video can come in the form of a digital tour of the venue, presenters talking about their sessions, or a long-time attendee talking about the value they get from the event. An event recap can be a bit more fun and creative, showing all elements of the event. It will appeal to an attendee’s nostalgia and encourages promotion of future events through word of mouth.

Welcome to the Office

Long-time members, new members and potential members of your association all want to know that the people working for them are dedicated, passionate and focused. Your staff are the ones working behind the scenes to ensure the organization is living to its promises and creating the best experience for members. A video can help put this into perspective for members and can go where words often cannot when describing the importance of the association.

Videos that introduce members and potential members to the association can focus on a Day-in-the-Life theme to highlight exactly what the staff does to improve the organization, or it can an introduction of the staff with them explaining what the association means to them. These sort of videos are a warm welcome to new members, familiarizes existing members with staff and provides a human element to the organization for potential members.

How-to Guides

The value of a good how-to cannot be overstated. Your members come to your association because they want to achieve more in their careers and help grow the industry. Your association is probably giving them the tools to accomplish this, but they may not be clear on how to use these tools most effectively. This is where how-to videos come in handy.

A how-to video can help members access the right programs/benefits for their goals, it can help them take advantage of the initiatives your association has instituted and it can help guide them through processes that may seem complicated at first. For example, if one of your association’s benefits is a certification program, a video showing the steps involved in achieving this certification and how to complete them can be advantageous to members who may be confused by the process. This will help members receive greater value for their money and will allow your association to see a greater return on investment.

Association News and Accomplishments

We’re guessing that your association achieves a lot. It has probably helped its members’ profession rise to new levels and redefined what it means to be part of the industry’s community. But does anyone really even half of everything the association has achieved? Maybe or maybe not. With a video, the answer leans more toward a for sure.

Videos are a great way to tell a story about the latest developments on your association. You can illustrate how the organization met with politicians to lobby on its members’ behalf, or showcase a new technology that members can use. Videos are an engaging way to showcase what can seem like mundane news because their images are engaging and capture the attention of members. So next time you need some more awareness of your association’s news, try a video on for size.

How Managing a Social Media Account is Like Going to the Gym

Being fit is a big business these days. There are gyms on every other corner and home fitness programs are becoming commonplace in many a basement.

There’s plenty that a social media manager can learn about this weighty trend (excuse the pun). Managing an organization’s Twitter account, Facebook page, YouTube channel or any other social network can be a lot like lifting weights and putting in hours on the treadmill. So if you are feeling guilty about skipping your workout today, sit back and at least read about some exercise.

Stretch First

It’s always a good idea to stretch before doing any kind of physical activity; your body will thank you tomorrow morning. Preparation is also important in the social media world and when managing your account.

Before you start (or re-start) your organization on a social media platform, it’s important to do some homework. You need to know which platform is best for your association, non-profit or small business and which audience you’re trying to target. Knowing the goals you want to achieve is also crucial to being successful on any platform, as is drawing up a design plan for your new account.

The planning isn’t done when the social media account goes live. It’s crucial to plan your social media strategy on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Building a content calendar is a helpful tool in preparing for the week or month ahead and ensuring that your account is engaging and efficient. It’s a win/win for both your organization and its community.

Don’t Overwork Your Muscles

Every exercise guru knows that rest is just as important as being active in the world of fitness. It’s never a bright idea to work the same muscle over and over again, every day, because the muscles cannot recover fast enough. It becomes counterproductive.

Social media is similar in that posting about the same issue or topic too frequently will drive people away. For example, if your association, non-profit or small business tweets about itself and a great benefit/cause/promotion twice a day, every day, people will find little value in following the account and will stay away. Remember to provide diverse, but relevant content to your network to keep them engaged and coming back for more.

You will also have to think about how often your organization posts in general. Posting too frequently can leave your community feeling overwhelmed, but not posting enough can make your desired audience forget about you entirely. Experiment with posting frequency, analyze the data and set yourself a schedule you can follow.

No Pain, No Gain

The old adage, no pain, no gain, has more than a little truth to it when you’re in the gym. When you’re a little sore, it usually means that you’ve done something right and you can build on that feeling. Going through some tough times is also normal on social media.

You’re probably going to run into a little pain when managing an organization’s social media account; i.e. some criticism or negative reaction. This is normal and can even be advantageous. As a public and engaging media, social networks open your organization up to scrutiny and criticism. Some people may shy away from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or any other platform because of this inevitability. But there are many steps you can take to handle the odd negative interaction.

One of the most crucial steps you can take to combat criticism is to turn a negative into a positive. Use criticism to improve your services and gain trust from members/non-members, customer/potential customers and donors/potential donors. This will help your organization grow and be stronger.

Have a Spotter

A spotter is a teammate, a coach and a cheerleader rolled into one. He/she is someone who can help you through a workout and make sure you don’t get hurt when you’re lifting weights. Having a similar people at your organization or on social media will give your online efforts a boost.

We’ve covered the importance of having a content calendar, but we haven’t mentioned the need to get feedback on this plan and any other content you share. Getting input from colleagues or staff on your content calendar, blog, YouTube video or other content will expose you to new perspectives and help you catch any mistakes or omissions. Getting your staff/board/donors to participate on social media will also help make your accounts strong.

One of the most important goals of social media is to engage with your target audience. When you interact with your audience, you’re more likely to make a lasting connection that results in a monetary investment. Find out which content is most valuable to your audience and connect with people on a regular basis and they will become your cheerleader both online and offline.

Cool Downs are Important

It’s not a bright idea to go straight from the gym to your car to your couch. You need to do some cool down exercises to help your muscles recover and lower your heartbeat. A cool down is also important when managing a social media account.

A cool down in social media language means collecting the data from your efforts and analyzing it to create a better strategy moving forward. It is essential to track your progress on social media and gather as much data as you can. When analyzing this data later (at the end of the month, the quarter or the year), look at which content provided the most value and seek to increase the frequency in which you post this kind of content.

Knowing which data is most important is also a key factor in ‘cooling down’. There are a few key stats that all organizations should be paying attention to and which can tell you a lot about how your social media platforms are doing.

Three Key Takeaways

– Have a plan for your social media account. This will help you be engaging and relevant and guard against too much repetition in your content.

– Get feedback from colleagues and encourage participation on social media from inside and outside the office.

– Take some time to analyze your strengths and weaknesses on social media and don’t be afraid of a little criticism; it can be turned into an opportunity for your organization to grow.