Amanda Howe / Engagement, Marketing / August 14th, 2017
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4 Ways to Use Social Media to Engage and Attract Members

There are several effective techniques you should be using to recruit new members. Putting on events, organizing networking opportunities, or sending out email blasts about membership benefits are all tried and true methods. But, the new frontier is social media marketing.

1. Create social content

At the core of social media, it’s a place for individuals to share content and socialize online. One of the biggest assets of social media marketing is the opportunity to interact with your audience.

Your association’s social media “tone” should be conversational and open. Users are already being bombarded with advertisements throughout their online experience so stray away from the typical marketing voice of “buy this now!”

According to a survey done by Hootsuite, 48% of Americans have interacted with companies on at least one social media site. This means almost half of America has responded, commented, like, shared or tweeted at companies’ social media pages. On top of that, SproutSocial reported that 30% of Millennials engage with a brand on social media at least once a month.

With that in mind, don’t make information blasts and announcements your association’s only content. Respond to questions and concerns in the comment section. Listen to complaints and (hopefully) praise your followers have to give. Interact with users rather than simply pushing out timed ads overloaded with information.

Being social on social media shows current members your association can listen and take their ideas seriously, but on the other hand a strong social media presence shows potential members how being a member can benefit them.

 

2. Hashtags are your friends

Over the past few years, the hashtag has become quite the phenomenon. Nearly every social media site utilizes hashtags in some form or fashion. The hashtag, originally made popular on Twitter, is a hash sign (#) in front of a word or phrase without spacing creates a link which can be searched and tracked.

58% of internet users use hashtags regularly. Creating a hashtag for your association is a definite must. It can be something as simple as the acronym used for your association, but once you have it, use and disseminate it!

Ensure members are aware of the hashtag to use in their own social posts about your association. If you’re holding an event, you could even make a special hashtag just for the occasion. It can be an extremely effective way to spread information about the event. This makes it easy to track feedback from event attendees.

But, how do you get both members and non-members to use the hashtag? Mention it in your email blasts. Put it at the end of your event invitations or other print collateral. Essentially, your association needs to broadcast the hashtag initially to get the ball rolling. At the end of the day, hashtags can help your association seamlessly track your social media presence.

 

3. Get active!

Making a presence for your association on social media means everyone needs to get involved. Just having a page for the association alone makes for a professional presence, but you should be striving for a conversational and social tone, as well. There are a few ways to achieve this.

Members and potential members want to see the live people behind the association. Having your Executive Director or Membership Director active on the page goes a long way. Spotlight them or members of your board from time to time. This is especially beneficial for attracting younger members as they’re typically looking to join associations more for the mentorship aspect.

In a report by Development Dimensions International, it was found that CEO candidates who were more active on social media were also 89% stronger at empowering others than CEO candidates who were not as active. They were also 46% stronger at influence and 52% stronger at compelling communication. These are some important statistics! Getting your association’s leadership on social media will only benefit the association as a whole.

 

4. Scheduling 

It’s recommend to use more than one social media channel, if possible. By doing so, your association will reach more people and ultimately see better results. But, maintaining a consistent social media presence can be overwhelming especially for smaller associations. Luckily, there are a multitude of tools available to help your association manage it all such as Buffer, Hootsuite, SocialOomph, and various others.

Have an event coming up? Schedule social media out in advance about ticket sales and registration deadlines. Using a scheduling platform can truly help your association stay organized and present online especially around events and conferences.

These scheduling platforms allow your association to schedule posts in advance for multiple different social media accounts so you can plan your social content ahead of time. It can make tackling all of this much easier. While scheduling can take some of the burden off, it’s still recommended to “live” post as events and news happen. If you only stick to scheduled content, your feeds can turn dry and boring.

Creating and running social media pages for your association can seem overwhelming, but with a bit of pre-planning and creativity, your association can leverage its power to further engage members and attract new members.

 

Download: How to Use Social Media to Rapidly Grow Your Association's Membership Ebook

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