Boost Your Social Media Marketing Reach With the Help of Your Members

As associations look at cost-effective ways to market their mission and programs and increase their reach, they should consider mobilizing members and stakeholders to post and share on social media.

Although it is crucial to keep programs, products, and services front and center for members and stakeholders, many association marketing budgets have been reduced since the start of the pandemic.

One way associations can increase their marketing reach is to have members share key content via social media, suggested experts who spoke at the recent webinar, “Five Ways to Turn Your Members into an Army of Marketers Utilizing Social Media.”

James Marquis, chief information officer of 501Works, noted that social media sharing by members on sites like LinkedIn gets more traction for organization pages. Adrian Dayton, CEO and founder of Clearview Social, said this form of social media marketing is low-cost—the cost being the small amount of time staff spends nudging and training members—and gets good returns.

The best way to get more members and other stakeholders to share is by making it simple. “If you want to engage your ambassadors, you have to make it super easy for them,” Dayton said. “Give them some guidance. Show them how to make these posts. You can send them reminders. You can give them a cheat sheet. Tell them best practices so they can be as successful as possible.”

As for process, Dayton recommends sending a weekly email that includes sample hashtags and links that your organization wants shared. Some software allows people to make social sharing as easy as clicking a button.

When it comes to recruiting members to serve as social media ambassadors, look for those who already have a presence on the social media your members use most and encourage them to post.

“And then you want to reward and recognize your best contributors,” Dayton said. “Make sure that you’re throwing a mini celebration when you see their posts, and it’s very visible how much you appreciate their recognition.”

Tips and Best Practices

If you’re asking members and stakeholders to share, that brings up the issue of reciprocity. If your sponsors share your content, are you expected to share theirs back? What ramifications will that have for other sponsors? And if social sharing is a revenue-generating product you offer, does your policy on share backs have any ramifications on that?

“You’ve got these different channels, and [you need to] understand what content and messaging goes on them,” Marquis said. “You want to set the tone and the message and push it out there so that it stays coordinated, focused, and on point.”

Another thing to consider is what social networks you want to encourage sharing on. Start by figuring out where your members and stakeholders live socially.

“Canvas [members] to see what networks they use and are willing to be an ambassador on,” Dayton said, noting you shouldn’t try to force members onto networks they, as a group, don’t use. “If you say to your members, ‘We’re all doing TikTok,’ well good luck with that.”

In general, LinkedIn and Twitter have been the two most popular networks Dayton has seen associations use. However, depending on what type of industry your association represents, other social networks could be better fits. “A site like Pinterest works extremely well for architecture, construction, interior design,” Dayton said. “But it’s not going to lend itself as much to legal work.”

Finally, it’s important to be strategic about what content you encourage members to share.

“When your association has content that is really going to help people and help members, that’s the stuff you want to encourage people to pass on,” Dayton said. “Not the pat-on-your-back, congratulatory stuff, but the content that is going to help people make better business decisions or do whatever it is that’s going to help move forward the mission of your association.”

How does your organization mobilize its members to share content on its social media channels? Share in the comments.

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Rasheeda Childress

By Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a former editor at Associations Now. MORE

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