We did a year-in-review list last year and it was awesome, so we decided to do it again. Here are our top 10 posts about social media, associations, communications and marketing from 2016.
The Post In One Minute: Creating a loyal and consistently engaged following on social media is crucial for associations in their quest to make their digital marketing strategy a success, which is why you need more than one-and-done interaction with your target audience. To keep your members and other stakeholders continually interested and coming back to your online domains again and again, it’s a good idea to foster conversations, add some fun into the interaction, know the topics your audience talks about most and go out of your way to mention people in your posts.
The Post In One Sentence: “The best way to reward members who engage with your association is to spread the interaction past the single point of engagement, such as highlighting the member who engages with your association the most every week, having a space on your website, newsletter and magazine where you republish the best interactions with your members or simply sharing members’ comments.”
The Post In One Minute: Return on investment is often viewed as a revenue or profit-driven stat, but when it comes to social media, this perception is dangerous. When determining the ROI of social media, it’s important to create engagement-based benchmarks (such as website traffic, reach or engagement rate) for your association instead of financial ones and gauge your return based on the efforts you put in (such as time, amount of content, etc.). Once you track the data, you can then create ways to maximize engagement and therefore boost your ROI based on audience behaviours, which will ultimately benefit your association in other areas, such as event attendance.
The Post In One Sentence: “Instead of measuring financial gains or losses from its financial investment in social media…, your organization should look to measure the impact of their online efforts compared to its content input.”
The Post In One Minute: Consistency is great when managing social media, but boring is not. When your digital marketing falls into a rut (and even when it doesn’t!), it’s important to mix it up to keep your audience engaged and finding value in your organization. Implementing some out-of-the-box ideas into your social media strategy can help rejuvenate your association’s presence online. Three ideas for achieving this include a Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank-type contest, challenging members to a round of “Association Champion Bingo” and creating a crowd-sourced mini book by and for members.
The Post In One Sentence: “Sometimes the transition from reliable to boring isn’t even perceptible until it’s too late and your association’s members have tuned out.”
The Post In One Minute: Podcasts are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways for companies, organizations and brands to connect with a broader and more engaged audiences. Associations would be wise to at least consider producing a podcast and integrating it into their value propositions and communications efforts. Some of the benefits include using podcasts to increase education and professional development offerings, the ease of creating a podcast and their accessibility to members (which makes it a win-win) and their revenue-generating potential podcasts have for associations.
The Post In One Sentence: “Podcasts are perfect way to share knowledge, which make them a great tool for associations looking to offer professional development, first-class information and even certification.”
The Post In One Minute: Twitter Analytics is one of the myriad of tools available to association marketers who want to use data and analytics to improve their overall social media and digital communications efforts. Using Twitter Analytics effectively is crucial to parsing the mountain of numbers available at your fingertips and using to build a successful strategy to engage an association’s target audience. Three tools that marketers may have overlooks within Twitter Analytics include Audience Insights (a view of your follower demographics), Events (the big happenings that people will be talking about in the near future) and Top Tweets (what content of yours has appealed to your following the most in the last little while).
The Post In One Sentence: “The Audience Insights section of Twitter Analytics offers a valuable peak at the demographics you are reaching with your efforts and just how effective your content is at targeting those people who are most likely to signal a return on your investment.”
The Post In One Minute: Time and resources are at a premium for all associations, so any strategy that can help you maintain a high-quality social media presence while being more efficient is a winning strategy. Scheduling posts in advance is one way to make better use of your time, as is creating an open idea bank where you, staff, volunteers, committee members and the board of directors can add content for you to use later. You can also maximize resources by reusing and repurposing older content by making it relevant to current issues members face. Lastly, set aside a few minutes at the end of the day to work on content for the future and after a couple months, you’ll be surprised at the stockpile of great content you can use when in a time-crunch or when writer’s block hits.
The Post In One Sentence: “Reusing and repurposing content doesn’t mean you need to reduce quality; rather, it means building on the work you have already done to conserve time and resources.”
The Post In One Minute: Netflix is the top dog when it comes to customizing and personalizing the user/member experience, which is one of the biggest reasons why the platform is so successful. Associations must look to follow Netflix’s lead in an era when people crave personalization, especially when it comes to communications and digital marketing efforts. One way to tailor an association’s content to the interests and values of its membership is to take a deep dive into the performance of past content and see what the numbers say. When you discover what a group of well-performing content has in common, seek to replicate it and provide members with more of what they want.
The Post In One Sentence: “Data is the key ingredient that makes Netflix’s famous recipe work; it takes reams of data about how individual users interact with the site’s offerings and tweaks its approach based on the results.”
The Post In One Minute: Association chapters often fail to develop either a large following or a consistent identity on social media, but it should not and does not have to be that way. Content that association chapters push out on social media should talk about local members and their accomplishments and local issues and how it affects the chapter’s members. Furthermore, association chapters can keep it regional by playing up their events and initiatives, or taking National issues/projects/etc., and putting them into a local perspective. Lastly, association chapters can use gamification on the local level to engage their members as well as starting conversations with other chapters.
The Post In One Sentence: “Association chapters will do well to pay homage to local members who have accomplished great things, are changing the industry in some way or have an interesting story to tell.”
What Young Professionals Really Want From Your Association And How To Give It To Them On Social Media
The Post In One Minute: Young professionals are the future of any association. They are the ones that will be contributing their dues and event registrations and engagement for decades to come, if you play your cards right. Young professionals want a lot of things from a professional development organization, but some of the most important are to be recognized as individuals (not a Millennial horde!), to be recognized for their accomplishments, to have opportunities to make an impact and to be informed and entertained. There are several ways to achieve these goals on social media and draw more young professionals to your association’s services.
The Post In One Sentence: “Most industries are large and young professionals will no doubt face heavy competition for promotions, so give your members a leg up by recognizing their achievements and helping them to stand out.”
The Post In One Minute: Facebook Live is not the first largely accessible and free live-streaming tool, but it sure is the most exciting in recent years. Facebook Live has the potential to change the association event scene in a big way. This post explored why Facebook Live would be so enticing to associations and what could change for event planners if the platform took over. Some consequences include a different perspective on revenue generation, a different approach to hosting non-members during events, the evolving role of event planners in a Facebook Live era and the rise of the Freemium Model to an even loftier position in associations’ marketing strategy.
The Post In One Sentence: “It’s obvious that we might just be on the brink of a total shift in the way association’s engage their members online and plan their events, especially as Facebook Live reaches its potential.”