Having worked with a number of association clients within a wide range of industries, I have heard many committees err on the side of caution when it comes to social media. They usually voice concerns over cost, and trying to avoid issues that may arise when putting yourself ‘out there’ (trolls anyone?)
Of course, there are things to be aware of when setting up a social media strategy – keep checking back, we will talk more on this in the future – but the benefits can far outweigh the risks. As such, I have compiled four reasons why you should look towards social media for your association and its members which might explain why social media spending has increased by over 234% over the last 5 years.
- It allows for a dialogue
I am putting this one first as it is often overlooked by many companies and associations alike. Whereas most classic marketing and communication channels allow for one way communications, social media allows for a conversation, which is something a little more human. It also allows for an association to set up their calls to action on the fly, which leads to greater member involvement as shown below.
Of course, it is important to keep up this level of communication if you begin to do so as otherwise it may seem you are ignoring your member-base.
- People like to share
Whether you work in an office or different environment, I am sure you may have partaken in a little gossip from time-to-time and online is no different (although the watercoolers are non-existent!).
Individuals and companies like to share information and recent happenings with each other, especially if it is something self-promotional and exciting that can create a little buzz. Take for example an upcoming event by Plantworx.
- It can be measured (relatively) easily
Spending on more traditional means of communication may still be invested in heavily, but these platforms can be difficult to review and analyse effectively. Whilst there are methods to measure the success of traditional platforms, there are many ways to analyse and review the success of social media campaigns.
Companies such as Hootsuite have analytics tools which allows for associations and companies to measure the reach and impact each of their social media interactions. Even more interesting (I love data!) is the ability to use Google Analytics to measure who visited your site and where they came from.
If you wish to go even further, you can see how many of these website sessions led to any action on your site (such as signing up, making contact etc) by reviewing the pages they visited. For our clients, this data can then be laid out in an easy-to-read presentation which can then lead to appropriate action to continue what works and to improve upon areas which need changing.
- Members like to be engaged (by a human)
Your association may hold group meetings, conferences, AGM’s annually, but what about the other months of the year?
Whilst your association may send out emails, newsletters and release new information on a website regularly, being able to reach out and respond to members quickly and in person will allow them to feel more involved and part of the association. After all, many members join an association to be part of a group.
Going back to point one – by being involved in a dialogue with members, they will feel that they are being treated as people, by people.
It is also possible to use social media to encourage members to interact with each other (which leaves you with much less work!), building special groups for their own interests. An engaged member who feels as if they belong are more likely to both participate and renew.
There are many more reasons for adopting social media within your association, but it is essential to ensure you take effective measures to ensure you adopt a well-thought out strategy. Administration Services Ltd have over 25 years’ experience in association management and are able to manage your online needs – get in touch.