Year-in-review lists are pop up all over the place at this time of year and we thought we’d jump in on the fun. Here are our top 10 posts about social media, associations and big data.
The Post In One Minute: Creating the right culture at and around your association is important to growing membership, retaining the members you have, fostering trust and encouraging innovation. Social media can help your organization create a culture of knowledge by connecting people in the industry with information from the association or other sources. It can also create a culture of customer service and community by connecting members with quick answers to questions and by sparking conversation between colleagues. Finally, it creates a culture of excellence by making it easier to recognize members for their accomplishments and highlight the association’s role in their success.
The Post In One Sentence: “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.”
The Post In One Minute: Membership drives are important as this is the time when most associations put the bulk of their resources into recruiting and retaining members for the upcoming year. Integrating social media into this process requires associations to break down their target audience by need/want and tailor their social media content to those necessities. The article outlines five different member segments; the long-time member, the lapsed member, the never-been-a-member member, the new-to-the-industry member and the business member. The piece explored the different perspective of each group and how to use social media content to connect with them on their level to highlight the association’s value.
The Post In One Sentence: “It’s vital that organizations think about their different audiences when it comes time for a membership drive and tailor their communications to each segment.”
The Post In One Minute: Analysis is a constant in life. Just like you have to frequently check your mirrors and blind spot while driving, it’s crucial to keep yourself updated on the success (or lack thereof) of your association’s social media accounts. This article outlined the five Cs by which you can start to grade your social media efforts. Consistency (how often you post) was first, followed by creativity (how original and engaging is your content). Completeness (the degree of detail in your account’s design and layout) came next and then calculation (how often you measure your goals and progress towards them). The last C we covered was crowd (who your audience is made of and how many are in your target demographics).
The Post In One Sentence: “Whether you’re a veteran or a relative newcomer to any (social media) platform, grading yourself on strategy and results is crucial to growing, improving and benefiting your organization as a whole.”
The Post In One Minute: Yes, we know, you’ve heard the term ‘Millennial’ so many times, it’s starting to lose meaning. But recruiting this younger demographic is important to the sustainability of your association. Surveys say that Millennials value education, networking and access to professional articles, publications and best practices above all else. The bottom line is, Millennials love information. Social media is a great way to connect this younger generation with the information they crave. When your association is doing the connecting, it becomes valuable to these young potential members, making it likely that they see long-term value in your organization.
The Post In One Sentence: “Once (Millennials) realize the value of your organization as a way to gain information, they will be more likely to invest in the association’s other offerings to members, such as events, webinars and mentorship programs, which can be a great way to increase non-dues revenue.”
The Post In One Minute: Rooting around on the internet for social media content can be quite a chore for the busy association professional. We tried to help a little by uncovering five places where great content might be hiding. The first resource was hashtags, which help you connect to the content your audience finds most valuable. The next was the other offline communication channels your association puts out, like magazine and newsletters. The article also pointed out that your association can take trending topics or the latest news story and find an angle that is relevant to its members. Your association can also ask its staff or board members for any interesting tidbits they might know about. Lastly, the article says to not be afraid to create your own content. Make a video, write a blog or create an infographic and then share it all over the place.
The Post In One Sentence: “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.”
The Post In One Minute: Gamification is an oft-used buzzword these days, but the concept of using games to engage people in an initiative is a long standing one. Including elements of gamification your association’s social media efforts can have a profound affect on the involvement of your target audience. The first element you can include is mystery which can be achieved by asking an association-oriented trivia question or initiating an online scavenger hunt. The second element is reward, which can be achieved by starting a social media content (such as nominating topics for a webinar and voting for the best idea) and giving a prize to the winner. The last element was storytelling which can be achieved by following around a first-time attendee at your conference and dedicating Instagram to their experience or even just live-tweeting an event.
The Post In One Sentence: “The opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression.”
The Post In One Minute: Micro-volunteering is all the rage among associations and their members, especially the younger ones. As work life becomes busier, members aren’t so keen to put more on their plate by volunteering for time-consuming committees or long-term projects. Social media offers a chance to give members an opportunity to do small, manageable tasks that help their professional development and the association at the same time. Members can moderate a Twitter roundtable or Twitter chat, be a “guest-manager” on one of your social media accounts for a day, cover an event through your association’s platforms (live-tweet, live-blog, Instagram, etc) or take part in “social media tag” which means giving a shout out to your association and passing it on.
The Post In One Sentence: “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.”
The Post In One Minute: Sponsors and the money they bring in are an integral part of an association’s short-term and long-term success. Social media can be a key cog in boosting value for sponsors, making it more attractive for these contributors to keep giving and for new ones to start a partnership with your organization. Your association can highlight the benefits of a sponsored program in a quantifiable way with an infographic, thus attracting more attention to the sponsor. Creating a unique hashtag for a sponsored event or initiative that mentions the sponsor is another great way to continually boost the profile of a sponsor. Lastly, teaming up with a sponsor to do a social media contest is a great way for everyone to win and to broaden the reach of the sponsor’s brand.
The Post In One Sentence: “By telling stories on social media about a sponsor’s contribution, you are giving them more exposure to your association’s members, industry stakeholders and the public, broadening their reach and encouraging others to interact with their brand.”
The Post In One Minute: Here’s how the 80/20 rule on social media goes; 80 per cent of the content you post should not be a direct sales pitch and the other 20 per cent should be a direct pitch. No one wants to hear about how awesome your association is all the time, they want to see why you’re so awesome. The best way to show this value is by providing valuable, engaging content that your target audience is going to want to see every time they come online. Find the content that your members are wanting to see and post it. Once you have their attention, feel free to sneak in a little promotional material from time to time. People will respond better when they know that your organization is not only focused on extracting money out of them, but also providing an great experience they can engage with.
The Post In One Sentence: ” People are more willing to visit your Facebook page, share your tweet or like your Instagram post (thus increasing exposure) if the bulk of content is something that engages them and doesn’t attempt to embark on a one-sided sales pitch.”
What’s Wrong With This Picture?: Analyzing a Benchmarking Report About Associations and Social Media
The Post In One Minute: Marketing General Inc. released a benchmarking report in November detailing the social media efforts of associations. Among the interesting takeaways we pulled from the report were that blogs were being underutilized by organizations (only 26% maintained a blog). Furthermore, associations were relying too heavily on the number of likes, follows, etc., to tell them if they were having online success when they should be looking at other, more significant data, like interactions and impressions. Lastly, we concluded that too few associations were posting properly on Facebook with almost less than a third of organizations posting between one a day and one a week; otherwise known as the Goldilocks Zone (because it’s just the right amount).
The Post In One Sentence: “Measuring the impact of your social media efforts on (likes, follows, etc) alone would be like a doctor looking at a patient’s outward appearance for five seconds before declaring them absolutely healthy, only to realize later that the patient has some terrible disease only visible upon further examination.”