By Chelsea McClain and Matt Karst
Social media has become one of the largest and most important aspects of an Association Marketing Strategy. The average member learns most of what they know about the association, its offerings, its culture, and its upcoming events from the various social media platforms it posts to. So that means your association should have a presence on the big players which include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok. It’s important to diversify your social media presence because people tend to have their favorite place to scroll.
Social media helps search engine optimization (SEO) and your placement on the results page, customer service, and brand reputation management. The objective of social media posts is to educate, entertain, inspire, and promote. Typical content includes FAQs, “Did You Knows”, recognition, behind the scenes/a day in the life, uplifting/inspirational quotes, and recommendations.
Your Content Strategy
An important aspect to keep in mind is the time of day you’re scheduling social media posts. It is best to post when the highest percentage of your audience tends to be online simultaneously. Keep consistency with days you post and the times your posts are scheduled. Your goal should be to post daily, but that can be overwhelming if you’re just starting out, so pick one or two days per week and post consistently.
Establishing a theme for certain days of the week is a good strategy for getting the ball rolling. We recommend “Mindfulness Monday” with inspirational quotes or “Throwback Thursday” with pictures from conferences over the years. Aside from weekly posts like this, your association should be posting for all major holidays and annual observances. Finally, make sure every graphic used for social media includes your logo and URL.
Hashtags & More
Hashtags are a great way to spread your reach and attach your post to various communities. Check out popular hashtags used in your field and the hashtags your competitors are using. Look for public hashtags that have between 100-10k posts (less posts means the hashtags is irrelevant, more posts will smother your post). It’s also okay to use hashtags that are custom to your association that you will build with consistent use. It’s also ok to use funny hashtags occasionally, just remember to be consistent about using hashtags that will get your posts seen. Also, make a list of hashtags that you want to use and when/how to use them to distribute to the association’s employees, leaders, and possibly your members who regularly repost your posts.
Social Content Creators and Influencers
Social content creators are responsible for the contribution of information to digital media targeted to a specific audience. Influencers are people on social media who have a large following. Influencers are a subset of creators. An influencer can be found by surfing social media platforms and looking through hashtags, Google searches, YouTube, following blogs, and more.
Working with influencers and creators can help spread your brand name and show willingness to support the growth of others. Working with an influencer shouldn’t be one-sided, it’s a partnership. Try to collaborate with influencers within your niche but also create some unlikely pairings (this increases the chance of the post reaching a wider audience). An example of an unlikely pairing is a shelving company sending some of their shelves to be in the background of the videos of a social media influencer of any topic.
An ambassador is like an influencer but has slightly less significance in what they do. Ambassadors are usually volunteers or employees of the association. Ambassadors can generate positive engagement by following campaigns set in the marketing strategy. Ambassadors should also be engaging with all of the posts made on the association platforms. One way to encourage employees and members to participate as ambassadors is to offer prizes to the ambassadors who interact on social media the most. It is important to constantly recruit and reward ambassadors.