Make the Most of Your Social Media

From using video on your website to Snapchat at your meetings, some associations are trying new ways of integrating social media into their communications and marketing.

Coming up with clever ways to use social media in marketing and communications is a not only a must, but a challenge, these days. For a variety of stories over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with associations and marketers who are using social media in new ways that I thought were worth sharing. Here’s a look at some advice and examples I’ve come across.

Monica Tiffany, creative director and principal at the marketing firm Merrigan & Company, noted that making the most of social media is about finding your audience. “Every association is different,” Tiffany said. “Everyone has different demographics. We use different platforms for different groups.”

Susan Waldman, chief marketing and communications officer at Meals on Wheels America, spends a lot of time using social media to share the stories of its members, who are local Meals on Wheels organizations. “Videos do well on social,” Waldman said. “Even within social, you might have a longer one on Facebook and a shorter one on Twitter.”

Tiffany agreed. “Video on your site is just good. The crawlers like video,” she said. “It makes for a richer experience.”

One other great feature of social media is it offers tons of metrics that allow you to see whether a strategy is working in real time. “You can test that, find out quickly, and make changes,” Tiffany said. “That’s a real positive.”

In addition, social media can be used to boost the onsite event experience. For the past two years, BIA has hosted an event on local fairgrounds called the Big Dig. Parents pay to bring young children to see tractors and other construction equipment in action.

This year, the Big Dig ramped up its use of social media. “For the first time, we included Snapchat,” said Brian Miller, BIA’s executive vice president. “If you were on our Snapchat, you got secrets.”

What kind of secrets? “We told people where the helicopter was landing and about special pricing on food,” Miller said. “If you brought the Snapchat code, you’d get a discount. The deeper you got in social media, the more secrets you got.”

When using social media in an environment like this, you can literally see the difference it makes. “I’m standing up on the bleachers, looking at 4,000 people and kids,” Miller said. After announcing that people “could get more secret information on Snapchat, about 500 phones went up in the air, and we could see people switching to our Snapchat account.”

Metrics also confirmed the success of integrating Snapchat secrets into the event. “Reports we got back from the agency we worked with said about 30 percent of our visitors were using Snapchat at the event,” Miller said.  “That’s about triple what you normally see.”

Has your association had social media success lately? Tell us about it in the comments.

(Rodion Kutsaev/Unsplash)

Rasheeda Childress

By Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a former editor at Associations Now. MORE

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