How Associations Can Benefit From Social Media
Social media can yield many benefits for an association. In the marketing world, social media represents one of the strongest tools available. Utilizing this avenue can create more brand awareness than traditional advertising, increase traffic to your website, and help improve conversion rates for visitors and consumers. Yet there’s more to social media than just blindly posting in the hopes of being seen. With a little thought and strategy, every association can turn social media from a mystery into a strength.
Create Meaningful Interactions
In order to get the most out of social media, associations need to do more than simply broadcast information. In fact, Facebook announced that its algorithms are moving toward promoting meaningful interactions ahead of all other posts. Now, this includes “engagement bait” posts as well. These are posts that ask for likes to create the illusion of meaningful interactions. Therefore, associations need to drive discussions that encourage thoughtful responses and queries from viewers in a more natural way.
Try using hashtags to create a more focused discussion, and don’t be afraid to be conversational. Social media users are well-versed in marketing speak, so try to use regular language to break through. In addition to increased brand awareness and interest, the results of these interactions can be enormous. Though social media interactions don’t directly increase search engine rankings, they can help influence them. Meaningful interactions also help to build relationships and create more involved members.
Be Present and Active
Social media allows people to connect with organizations better than ever before, but visibility isn’t enough. To make social media work for you, your association must be present and active, responding quickly to queries and joining conversations. In fact, many people now use social media for customer service inquiries the moment they need them. Although you can schedule your content submission to ensure that you’re posting regularly, try to communicate with your audience at different times.
In addition to being a space for basic customer service, social media allows for personalization. Use the platform to provide information to inquiring minds. Don’t be afraid to jump into relevant conversations and help people asking general questions about the industry. A continued social media presence can help with brand awareness and generate interest in the association without requiring much in the way of advertising dollars.
Learn from the Experience
While social media offers excellent opportunities for providing information to current and potential members, it is also home to a large congregation of professionals from every industry. Use this as a source of information and insight into what professionals are looking for, what industry trends are popping up, and what topics are generating the most interest. By incorporating these topics and trends in various ways, the association demonstrates it’s tapped in and paying attention.
Furthermore, like any customer service experience, social media interactions provide a great source of feedback and constructive criticism. Associations that use this information and build from it illustrate how they are willing to adapt and grow. On social media, this happens in real time and in front of many eyes, which provides plenty of great opportunities to provide excellent customer service.
Track your Results
After posting on social media for an extended period of time, it’s time to start learning from your experience and perfecting the artform. From the beginning, track your results to get the most from each post in the future. Measure what hashtags perform the best, and see what comments get the most likes. Ask yourself, what times do posts get the most interactions? Do posts with images do better than those without? While tracking can be done manually, various software and applications make this job easier and more automatic. Before long, your social media work will be more efficient and effective.
Mix Things Up
A little mixture goes a long way on social media, so it’s important to vary the type of content you post. You want to avoid strictly posting at people. Join in conversations, post about things outside your direct lane, and most importantly, avoid always self-promoting. Not only will constant self-promotion hurt your visibility on social media, but people may react negatively to your posts. Do all these things, but don’t stray too far off topic or relevance. People want their associations to be involved in industry- or professional-specific conversations. Last but not least, avoid posting the same thing on different social media channels as people will see posts as ads and not meaningful content.