Before putting your association’s stories out on social
media sites, boost your content quality by thinking through this short list of
By Beverly Sturtevant
social media to reach their existing community of members, as well as to expand
into new communities of potential members. Social media is also a great tool
for enhancing or supporting an existing message, observing market trends,
gathering feedback, and boosting your association’s overall market share of web
Perhaps the greatest
use for social media, however, is story telling. Used properly, social media is
a great way to share your association’s activities and initiatives without
looking like you’re selling anything (except perhaps the soft sell of what a
great organization yours is because you have such a wonderful story to tell).
Here is a checklist for association publishing teams looking to tell their
stories on social media. Ask yourself:
do our members and expanded audience care about?
do they regularly receive their information (sources beyond your association)?
are our association’s most compelling stories?
is best equipped to tell our stories and why? (Keeping in mind that this may
change from CEO to staff to freelancer to member, depending on what the story
the stories tell what our association is doing or what our association aspires
to do? (Both can work on social media, especially, in the latter case, if you
are trying to rouse your members to a call-to-action.)
social media platforms will optimize each story?
our staff members have the skills to tell these stories effectively, or do we need
we have the resources to execute what we want to achieve?
The keys to great social media story telling are
transparency, authenticity, and the willingness to learn from your community if
they respond and engage to what you release into the social realm. Resist the
temptation to use social media as a marketing channel or a "short-burst”
campaign (where you disappear and reappear from the social scene only when you
have a promotional message to get out).
Bottom line: Social media is beyond mere strategy. It is a
powerful business philosophy that can secure your association’s viability with
the next generation of members.
Beverly Sturtevant is
assistant editor for Association Media & Publishing’s Signature magazine and a member of the Association
Media & Publishing Content Creation Committee.