By now, most association executives are aware that social media is one of the best ways to keep members informed of your organization’s activities, relevant news, and the latest industry trends. Social channels can provide the opportunity for immediate feedback and engagement, and this type of real-time back and forth with members may make them feel valuable to the organization, and contribute to member retention and overall satisfaction.
If your association is not using social media, we strongly recommend you do so! For those of you who are already making use of social platforms, we have some ideas for you to grow your audience and increase their level of activity.
We will cover Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular channels in future installments, but today we will begin with the most popular: Facebook.
The good news is that if your association is already up and running on Facebook, you’re on the right track. However, if you’re experiencing a case of “What Now?”, then you’ve come to the right place. We have some best practices that can help you grow your social audience and improve member participation.
Many new community managers make the mistake of assuming that content alone is enough to keep a Facebook audience coming back for more. They push out a steady stream of information, but their numbers aren’t growing, and interactions are limited. Here are some handy tips for improving your Facebook presence:
Content Variety – Variety is the spice of life, and this idiom holds true for your Facebook page as well. Take a look at your last month’s worth of content—is it a lot of the same type of information? Mixing up the type of content you post is the best way to keep a Facebook page fresh. Also be sure to spread your posts out throughout the day rather than pushing a lot of items out close together, to make sure you’re hitting all the various times of day when Facebook users tend to be online.
Picture Pages – Visually dynamic Facebook posts receive more positive feedback and are more likely to be liked and shared by your audience. Do you have a link you need to share, and are hoping it generates a lot of likes and other types of feedback? Find a good image that relates to your topic –be it photo, infographic, or some other interesting visual – and post that instead, with the link pasted in the description. Be sure not to rely too heavily on this technique, in keeping with our previous advice to mix up the types of posts you are sending out.
Get the Word Out – Do you have a large membership, but the numbers on Facebook don’t add up? Perhaps the problem isn’t that your membership just isn’t using Facebook, but that they are unaware of your page. Be sure to include prominent links to social media on your association home page, and even in more traditional forms of communication, such as emails, newsletters, and even good old-fashioned paper mailings.
Calls to Action – This may be our most important pointer. As we mentioned earlier, it is the back and forth between the association and its membership that can make a member feel valued. Therefore, giving members an action to take via your Facebook page can be an important step towards increasing engagement. Some ways to actively engage a Facebook audience include:
· Link back to all important calls to action on your website
· Post links and information to encourage registration at association events, such as conferences, webinars, and fundraisers
· Post polls and surveys on relevant association topics
· Run a contest directly from Facebook, with only members who have liked your page allowed to participate (this may have the added benefit of increasing your “likes”)
Follow these guidelines, and your Facebook page should be humming with increased activity and member feedback in no time. Stay tuned for future posts with similar tips for other social media platforms, and soon your association will be a full- fledged social media rock star.