What Facebook’s Newest Features Mean For Associations

Facebook had the whole internet talking last week with the arrival of the social network’s latest feature, which was the addition of new “reactions” to supplement the iconic ‘like’ button. Now, users can also hit buttons signifying love, a laugh, surprise, sadness and anger.

So, what does this mean for the way marketers create and post content, especially for those working in the association industry? Well, the short answer is, not much. There will be no seismic shift in the way associations post on Facebook because of this expansion of emotional expression. Organizations will continue to post the same content they always have with the same goals. However, the impact of this content is definitely going to change.

More Data

Data is the name of the game for associations. They must adapt to provide for the wants and needs of a very niche market (their members). Knowing exactly what these value propositions are, as well as how to provide them, requires data. The new reactions featured on Facebook allow associations to collect more data on the thoughts and feelings of their target audience by examining how they feel about certain issues on a higher level. By collecting this data, association can use the numbers to determine the best course of action to take in others areas of their operation.

This calls for an example. An association may post many articles, blog posts, etc on a variety of topics across several months. When it comes time to build a roster of speakers and topics for a conference, a webinar series, certification courses or even content ideas for a magazine and other publications, the broad range of data that the new Facebook reactions provide can help strengthen the association’s efforts. Examining what members thought of each piece of content posted on Facebook, and going beyond the basic ‘like’, can provide the association with a better understanding of what members found valuable, surprising or in need of further explanation. These numbers are part of a wider base of member insights that can lead the association to more valuable offerings.

Better Reach

Getting to know your members better is an admirable quality in an association, but social media also has the ability to extend your organization’s reach, drawing attention to both its general mission and value, as well as to specific areas of interest and engagement for members. In short, social media can let the world know more about your association than it might otherwise know because of its accessibility and exposure factor.

If an extended reach is the goal, then, the new Facebook reactions can help you achieve this goal. The ‘like’ button was a great way for members to engage in an association’s content, one that helped splash your organization’s name further and wider, but it wasn’t appropriate for all circumstances. For example, when posting about the death of a long-time member or a new law that might hinder your members, the ‘like’ button is not an adequate way to respond. This led to less interaction/engagement and a decreased reach. However, now that your members can express a broader range of emotions, they are more likely to interact with a variety of different posts on different topics. An interaction, such as a sad or angry reaction, will have your post circulating to more Facebook feeds and thus, being seen by more people.

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