Successful marketing is equal parts knowing your audience well, knowing yourself (association) well, and linking those two factors with content to convey value to your members. With that in mind, you can prioritize how you’ll get the word out through the delivery channels that best suit your target audience – whether that is your customer or prospect.
Marketing on social is an ever-growing part of that mix. There are at-most 20-30% of your members that ‘open’ your email (even this statistic is questionable because of the way email marketing tracks opens). If you are achieving the benchmark for associations, you should expect at minimum 5% of your members click on a graphic or teaser to read more (these are unique clicks). Today we need diverse platforms to deliver content in order to get you members’ attention, inform them, and get them to act.
Not all social channels achieve the same goal, so it’s not effective to create one piece of content you think is important, and then “fire” to all channels equally. So we compiled this “ready and aim” consideration for each channel. Our goal is to help you make sure the your communications efforts help you build even more value.
There are only “x #” of you to manage your communications plan, so think carefully about which platforms to choose. Use social to help you create a community of followers to engage with and lead them to a next step – even if the next step is a better connection with your organization.
1) Facebook is an effective way to develop a personal connection with people you may not see on a regular basis. Your goal is that your followers will read, react and then ideally engage with you. Facebook supports casual, informational reminders and updates. (Think class or event info, sharing news articles/trends, tagging members in association photos.)
Engage with “customers” by posting regularly with concise copy along with images, by using keywords that support your value proposition, and uploading short, good quality videos (that include compelling content). Get the best results on Facebook when you consistently monitor comments and build engagement through timely responses.
Best Practice: Here’s an association Facebook page with high engagement. The page offers a wide variety of content and formats (video, podcasts, articles, member and legislator photos) plus does an effective job of using hashtags and emojis, tagging members, and responding to comments.
Content: Aim for Quality vs. Quantity.
2) LinkedIn is primarily a professional networking website. It helps visitors learn, connect and expand their professional network. They read news and interesting topics that are more formal and “technical”. So your goal is to help people learn about your expertise and what’s happening in your industry. This content creates trust in your brand. LinkedIn supports more in-depth articles on more sophisticated and targeted topics – legislative issues, high-level articles on one in-depth industry topic, and details about market or industry trends. Connect best through credible, in-depth content that relates to their world.
Best Practice: Click here for an example of a state association LinkedIn company page that includes a variety of professional industry information – legal, market, business trends. The page reinforces their value proposition that CAR is a knowledge center for members.
Content: Aim for hyper-relevant information around business and industry.
3) Twitter’s open nature is its best unique quality. Anyone can join in conversations based on the topic they care about. Your goal on Twitter is to establish your association as the thought leader, to position your brand as a resource for up to date news and information. It’s the place where followers stay up on breaking stories. (Think updates and takeaways from conferences, updates on a bill during a legislative session, any breaking industry news.)
Twitter thrives on the ongoing conversation. Keep your audience interested with quick responses. Build your following with RT’s (re-tweets) of other sources of breaking industry news.
Best Practice: Oregon REALTORS® uses Twitter to support a key point in their value proposition – protection through legislative representation. The feed includes frequent legislative updates, and each tweet reinforces the work being done to protect REALTORS® and property owners.
Content: Aim for quantity of relevant information.
4) Instagram is visual storytelling. First, choose your niche and your target audience; then post in line with it. People who are interested in private property rights won’t be interested in your latest classes. Instagram is the place to brand your organization – so be consistent in your posting style. Compelling Imagery + Engaging Text = a successful Instagram strategy. (Think photos of members, photography highlighting what’s unique about your area, branded graphics and inspiring content.)
Best Practice: The compelling, bold imagery of the Boulder Area Association of REALTORS® Instagram is an excellent example of how to appropriately use the channel.
Content: Aim for high-quality images. Be consistent with your brand to keep them engaged.
5) Pinterest is not a conversation, so unlearn traditional social rules for this channel. Don’t copy & paste content from FB or ask questions like you do on FB. …Where FB’s goal is engagement, Pinterest is where users discover and save content for future reference. Your goal is to post pictures, graphics and infographics that your members will save and use later. Many Pinterest posts include links to more information or ‘how tos’.
Cluster your content into boards based on what your audience will use in their business – even content they will share with their clients. For a REALTOR® member this may include easy to read regulations for a particular neighborhood or infographics on monthly market data. Don’t forget you to plan content that is in line with the value you promise your members.
Best Practice: The Metro Tex Association of REALTORS® uses their Pinterest boards to pin information relevant to a member (market data infographics, infographics on home buying, staging tips), as well as pins members can share with clients (home décor trends, DIY photos, an infographic on why to use a REALTOR®).
Content: Aim for high quality images and topics that represent your brand.
6) YouTube is more than a repository for videos. It’s an active community of users looking for unique content to entertain, connect, and inform. It’s a place to tell your story, build an audience, and establish a personality. (Consider relevant technology tutorials, legal highlights, launching new services or tools, or even video clips that persuade members to consider attending an event.)
Content: Aim for shareable, short videos that drive traffic to other sources for more information. Create custom thumbnails for videos to promote key topics.
You may not use every channel listed above. If you don’t have the resources to be active across all of these channels, then choose a few and get to know them – and then thank through your plan. Make a commitment to using them.
It is better to be exceptional at one or two social channels than average at all of them. Prioritize the platforms with the most potential for you and focus your posting energy on those. The infographic above will help you get ready, and aim for the results you set, before you deploy your next post.