It seems like just about everyone has a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pintrest, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, etc. Organizations rush to have a foot in every social media door. But that isn’t necessarily a good strategy. Social media is a commitment. You can’t just post willy-nilly and expect results. It takes research and experimentation to effectively use each platform. I am betting you don’t have time to do that for 6+ sites, and please don’t just hand it over to an unpaid intern. If you can’t do it right, it is probably hurting more than helping. What you should do is choose a couple social media sites and get to work. To get you started, let’s look at someone who is doing it right: Adhesives.org.
Adhesives.org provides information for the adhesives and sealants community; they are a part of the Adhesive and Sealant Council.
Adhesives.org has a great presence on Linkedin. Not a lot of organizations actively build community on this site, but that might be a mistake. Linkedin is meant to connect business professionals–very appropriate for associations. Adhesives.org uses a group as a forum specifically to connect the end user community with industry experts–manufacturers–so that the experts can help end users with their project problems and needs.
You can learn a lesson from the way Adhesives.org uses conditions on their Linkedin group. They do not allow group members to promote specific products or services or violate their antitrust guidelines. If you decide to have a forum such as this, be sure you’re monitoring it so all the content is appropriate and beneficial to all members.
Never forget the importance of call to action buttons! Adhesives.org uses a “Linkedin Share” button on their blog to encourage reader engagement with the content.
The Twitter account linked to Adhesives.org is ASC’s. I love this. It brings the two domains together for a nice flow between ASC’s services. And the way they use Twitter is amazing; here are 5 reasons:
1) ASC uses Twitter to publicize events, webinars, and blog posts. This is perfect because it is what their followers are looking for (but yours are looking for something else, so test!)
2) They tweet thank you’s to those who tweeted about them. This is just great manners and helps build online relationships. But be careful with how you do this because you could be missing a big audience. Tweet back in the form of a mention (user handle is somewhere within the post), not a reply (user handle at the front of the post). Why is this so important? Because when you reply to someone, that tweet will only be seen by the person receiving it, you, and anyone who follows BOTH of you.
3) They also retweet their members posts: this nurtures the Twitter relationship. If you engage with your members’ content, they are more likely to engage with yours.
4) Adhesives.org has the twitter feed on their page; you can see the latest tweet right on the front page. Not only does this encourage members to connect with you, but it also forces you to put thought into every tweet so each one is enticing and relevant.
5) Their twitter page is branded to match their website. Branding is beyond important; you want people to recognize you when they are off your website.
Ever think of using YouTube as a tool for your association? Maybe, but probably not like them. They have ASCTV with a link right on their homepage. It has videos pertaining to the industry–a great resource for their members.
The point of this post is not to say that this is the only way to do social media right; the point is that you have to pick and choose which social media sites you use and how you use them. Always keep your members at the front of your mind and at the center of your organization’s story. You’re doing this for them, the social media is a tool to reach them and give them what they want.