Associations often stress the importance of continuing education and professional development to members, but association professionals themselves must always be learning and adapting their skill sets as well. It’s essential that association marketers know the latest trends and developments in the world of marketing, especially the evolution of online platforms. This realm of marketing can shift rapidly and association professionals must stay on pace with changes so they can adequately meet members where they are and with what they are looking for online. Here are a few resources association professionals can use to stay current with the latest social media trends that will allow them to connect and engage with members a whole lot better.
Podcasts are probably the best way to get in-depth knowledge about the latest and greatest news about social media marketing. Each one can be like going to a conference seminar and workshop and many come out bi-weekly, weekly or monthly, so they are current and immediately helpful. Lastly, podcasts offer a multitude of views and perspectives from a variety of people for each show and they feature the honest and analytical opinions and experiences of these people, rather than standard surface tips, advice or tutorials.
Some of the best social media marketing podcasts out there include The #AskGaryVee Show (built around audience participation and the topics of brand building, entrepreneurship, marketing and creativity), Social Media Social Hour with Tyler J. Anderson (introduces specific tactics and resources marketers can start using right away) and This American Life (which isn’t about social media marketing, but will definitely showcase the way marketers can tell a captivating story piece by piece).
Blogs And Industry Websites
Some of the best, most prolific and most veteran social media marketing aficionados ply their trade on a blog or website of some sort. The association industry in particular is full of some amazing professionals who specialize in spreading the latest news on social media marketing and how association marketers can continually improve their online marketing strategies to stay current and effective. These columns are published very often, so content doesn’t go stale, and frequently offer up the most practical advice for association marketers that want to tweak their social media strategy to better serve members.
Some of the best industry websites to put into your daily must-read list include SocialFish (who push a lot of data-based articles, infographs and guest posts that can help with social media strategy), MemberClicks (a blog that is updated almost daily with short, sweet and immediately helpful marketing tips of all kinds for associations) and Social Media Examiner (the most in-depth and comprehensive blog we’ve seen on social media strategy and recent online marketing news for everyone from small businesses to non-profits).
Seminars, Online Chats And Networking
There are hundreds of marketers working in the association industry, many of them working every day to innovate and improve their social media strategies. While these insights are frequently conveyed through blogs, professional publications, podcasts or other official sources, many of the most creative ideas fall through the cracks and never reach other association marketers. This is when all the little opportunities to connect with dozens of marketers in the industry come in handy. Networking events, conference seminars, one-off webinars and online chats can introduce you to people just like you who have experienced real-world issues and dealt with extremely relevant challenges in the social media space and have created innovative solutions. Mining these people for the small of big things they have will no doubt result in success for you and your association.
Some of the best places to go for this crowd-sourced knowledge include CSAE or ASAE conferences and seminar (many which have at least one or two sessions on marketing, social media and online engagement and plenty more people willing to talk about their experience with social media) and the weekly Association Chat Twitter chat (using the tag #assnchat, association professionals from all over the world gather to talk about various topics, often with a bent towards marketing, social media and engagement).
Sometimes, the best way to learn and evolve is to jump right in and take action. Trying out new tools, styles, strategies and platforms is often the path to finding how social media is changing and how your association can use these changes to improve its online marketing strategy. Hands-on learning is the best way to become proficient in a new technique, tool or feature that social media platforms often introduce on what seems like a monthly basis.
The key to experimenting on social media is to test and track. Set up a private testing account on which you can experiment with new design tools, new features and any other new element a social media platform might introduce. Next, when implementing an experimental strategy on your actual account, track the response and vary the strategy slightly over a period of time to gauge which approach is the most beneficial and engaging to members. This is how you can learn what’s new, what works, what doesn’t and how the tastes of your target audience are changing so you can keep pace.