Increasing member engagement is a top membership goal for the majority of associations – yet puzzlingly lack of engagement is a major reason for members not renewing. Your answer could lie in successful social media.
The word successful is used intentionally. You can get social media right and create lots of meaningful engagement – or you can get it wrong and spend a lot of time achieving not very much at all. Are your social media efforts tentative, without real direction or meaning? Are they just disappearing into cyberspace without response?
As a starting point, you need to have a business rationale for using social media – what are you hoping to achieve and will it provide return on investment?
Here are our six steps to creating a plan which builds genuine relationships by connecting with members.
Know your audience
Understanding your members and prospective members – their needs and wants, what they deem as value for their membership – is key to devising the right content. Their role, age, gender and interests will all have a role in building a detailed picture.
Create goals and a strategy
Use the audience insights and your association’s particular needs and budget to develop social media goals, integrating them with your marketing plan. Most likely, you’ll be wanting to enhance your visibility, drive traffic to your website and see enquiries grow.
Target the right places
Some desk research or a member survey should help you determine which social media channels your members and prospects use, narrowing down the choice. For B2B audiences, LinkedIn is a great start, but if your audience is female Facebook could be significant. Younger audiences are using Instagram and Twitter, the former being a great medium if you have lots of visual content.
Develop your message
You know where to go and what your audience needs and expects, now start creating and delivering dynamic, cutting-edge content that engages and attracts. Share helpful information, opinions and advice on topics that are industry specific and succeed in positioning the association as a thought leader in the industry. Your content could be around training, advancements in the industry, changes in legislation, standards, common issues or networking, to name a few. You might want to launch a competition or share quotes and tips from members that solve everyday problems. Be sure to form and maintain a consistent tone of voice that resonates with your audience and aligns with your association’s identity.
Listen and engage
Remember to be social. Listen to what your members are saying and always respond to comments. It makes people feel involved, shows them their membership is important and starts valuable conversations. This applies not just to members, but to others in the industry and prospects. Listen also to what’s happening in the news and comment on the industry implications wherever you can.
Review and measure
Monitoring campaigns, followers, traffic and engagement is essential to determine whether you are meeting your social media goals. Understanding what’s working and what’s not will help to hone the messages.
For more social media advice contact us.