Thursday Buzz: Social Smarts from the State of the Union

How one association used a diorama to push its advocacy messages during the State of the Union address. Also: Why your own speeches shouldn't be as long as the SOTU.

The State of the Union address is a social media bonanza. While some critique and some crack jokes, it’s a chance to ride the wave of mass attention focused on a single national event.

Of course, that approach can be applied pretty effectively to the role of advocacy. Need proof? Check out what the National Retail Federation (NRF) did on Tuesday night.

Throughout the SOTU, the National Retail Federation kept changing up a diorama, highlighting the things in the address that the retail group supported (which were added to its shopping list) and what the group wanted to throw back (it placed those items in its returns bin).

The diorama presented a constant stream of activity that the trade group could use to keep up with an event that everyone and their brother was watching. By the end of the night, the NRF’s shopping cart looked like this:

Now that’s a cool way to stand out during the biggest speech of the year.

Keep It Short

Just because President Barack Obama can talk for more than an hour doesn’t mean your association’s president should do the same.

SCD Group’s Steve Drake, who has a lot of experience writing speeches for association presidents, explains that long speeches often have a numbing effect on the brain, putting initiatives out front at the cost of impact.

“The long list of ‘new’ initiatives becomes mind numbing,” Drake writes. “Why not just list three key points and share them in a memorable way. It always seems to be that State of the Union speeches are written by committee.”

Drake suggests a slightly more modest run time. Think you can make your point in 20 minutes? (ht @SteveDrake)

Other Links of Note

When it comes to social sharing, Facebook can’t be ignored. A new analysis from ShareThis notes that Facebook represented 81 percent of the company’s shares in the fourth quarter of 2014—at a time when other networks slumped.

“What is your team or company going to do if you’re no longer in your current role? If you don’t have a plan in place, that can be a serious deterrent for promoting you.” The Muse says that if you’re in line for a promotion, having a plan to train your replacement is essential.

The groups setting the tone. CQ Connectivity breaks down five associations that managed to boost their lobbying and PAC contributions in 2014.

(National Retail Federation)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!