What is Social Media? And Who’s Using It?
It all starts with your message. Social media is a powerful marketing and communication tool which allows you to spread your message to your audiences. Social should work with – and enhance – your existing marketing efforts. Wikipedia defines it as “media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues.”
This is the first in a series of three blog posts by The Center for Association Resources that will explore the what, who, why and how of social media for associations.
Got news? Post a link to your news release, and resulting media coverage, on Facebook and Twitter. Want to take the pulse of your members or customers? Ask a question in a LinkedIn group. Did your CEO just give a great speech? Put it on YouTube and post the links everywhere.
Social media is instant and interactive. Use it to talk to your members, and to listen to what they say back. Use it to mobilize your members, your constituencies, your friends and your followers to advocate on your behalf to lawmakers and thought leaders.
Why Be On Social Media?
Why should your association be using social media? Because everyone else is: your members, their clients and customers, and most importantly, your competition. At The Center for Association Resources, we have helped numerous client organizations navigate the constant emerging area of social media……could we help your organization?
With half the population of the United States using Facebook, odds are high that some of them are interested in your cause, product or mission. Each of them, in turn, has their own network, further increasing your reach. Think of the silly videos that have gone viral: someone shared and asked others to do the same. They shared it with their friends and followers, and so on. Now imagine that’s your call to action or plea for emergency funds.
One of Twitter’s busiest days ever was the day Michael Jackson died, when 100,000 tweets per hour about it caused the site’s servers to crash. Word spread like wildfire. The same thing happened last spring during the revolutions in the Arab world. Never has there been a time when news can spread so fast. Imagine if it’s your good news or a request that people contact their legislators about a particular bill. People are literally helping to change the world from their laptops and smart phones.
People are connected and causes are connected. They’re already posting and tweeting about your issues. Shouldn’t you be there to drive the discussion, and, when necessary, correct misstatements, false facts and rumors.
How to Use Social Media
This third in a series of posts on the subject will answer that.
You already should have determined who in your organization will be doing the posting and tweeting (posting on Twitter). For consistency of message and style, it is best to keep those duties to just one or two people. If you are not the one doing the posting, make sure you are an administrator on the accounts and that you monitor your Facebook page, Twitter feed and other social media sites on a regular basis to know what is being said. We noted in the first blog post that while social media sites are free, you and your association need to invest staff time and resources into doing it right.
Be sure to have a clear idea of what you want to communicate: news updates about your organization and your business sector, tie-ins to current events, and links to your website, blog and newsletter. Make sure to have a good mix of posts. Constant self-promotion turns off followers. Ask questions and respond with the answers. At The Center for Association Resources, we have continued to see results for a variety of organizations that follow this guidance.