How Social Media Can Help Associations Achieve Their Membership Goals

Many associations are either not using social media at all or are using it poorly – and in ways that discourage engagement from their members. We need to remember that people do business with people they know and trust. Social media, used well, can help your members get to know, like and trust you more.

5 social media tactics to include in your association marketing plan.

1. Increase awareness of your organization to your target market
One of the first things you should do when considering social media as a communications tool is to clearly identify who your target market is. You need to know who they are so you can gain an understanding of their problems, so you can provide a solution. And you need to know their communication preferences so you can reach them via the channels they use.
Social media provides an excellent opportunity for you to gain insights into what your members like and dislike their problems and challenges. Connect with your members on as many social media channels as possible. It is particularly easy to follow your members on Twitter and Instagram and encourage your senior leaders to connect with your members on LinkedIn.

2. Demonstrate the value of membership
Social media is a low-cost way to educate and enlighten your audience. Share and discuss business ideas. Answer questions and help solve the challenges your members face. Follow your peers, colleagues, influencers and other interesting people from around the world, and share their content with your audience. Make sure you also follow your members and have conversations with them – this allows them to get to know, like and trust you. Incorporate member social media account details in your member application forms and capture this information in your database.

3. Attract people to your events
Promote your events on your social media channels, create a Facebook event for each of your events, establish a hashtag with the name of the event (and ask your speakers to also use it), set up a twitter list of conference speakers and attendees, share images and videos of your events, write blog posts summarizing the highlights and information shared.

4. Amplify your member engagement
Research from the 2017 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report tells us that activities such as participating in social media are driving an increase in member engagement. People don’t want to be told the value you’re providing, they want to be shown. If you know what your members want from you, then use social media as one of the ways to demonstrate you are delivering the value they want and expect. By creating and sharing content that educates your audience, you encourage involvement and create a community.
By demonstrating the human side of your organization, you encourage members to get involved. Remember, people do business with people they know, like and trust, so help your members get to know your team. Ask for and give referrals. Perhaps you can’t refer specific members, but you can create a member directory that you can share with people seeking experts in your industry.
Create a community that enriches the member experience. Talk to your members via your chosen social media channels and strengthen relationships by engaging in conversations with current and prospective members.

5. Position your association as a thought leader
Create and widely share content that helps solve the problems your members face. Be active and share your thoughts via written, video or audio content. Participate in relevant chats, live events you attend, and when you share other people’s content, add a short commentary as to why you think it’s of value.