Getting Social: Why You Need to Think About Social Media
Social media is an invaluable tool, so you better think about harnessing it! You can use social media to build relationships, discover and share information, attract new members and of course maximize your reach beyond your organization’s usual community members.
Lisa Lloyd, a social media specialist at the American Nurses Association (ANA), spoke at the 2017 Great Ideas session about what leaders should consider when posting on social media. Lloyd states. “You have to figure out what you stand on. What is the thing you’re not going to move from?” You need to encourage an online conversation.
Social Media Best Practices
Social media is the perfect tool to speak to a vast audience about your association and chapter’s mission (or retarget potential members that have visited your site).
There are so many different social networks available today. The ones you use will vary according to your organization’s individual requirements, but a few good ones to look at include:
You don’t have to spend all day posting updates in order to maintain a healthy social presence either. Use scheduling software to plan your social campaigns in advance and take all the stress out of keeping your channels busy! We recommend you use:
Buffer: To plan and schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more
TweetDeck: To monitor hashtags on Twitter and gauge reaction to your campaigns
Hootsuite: To manage updates on multiple social accounts
Hopper: To schedule instagram posts in advance
No matter which social channels you’re using, it’s incredibly important that you follow guidelines regarding what you say and how to say it. Think about:
- Who has access to the chapter social media accounts? Communications Chair? President? Other?
- Is there a policy set out by national, highlighting what is appropriate to post and what isn’t?
- Are there specific social media branding guidelines you should follow?
- Are there any social media campaigns that national is running that you can latch onto?
Creating a LinkedIn Subgroup for Your Chapter
Known as one of the best online networking tools, LinkedIn is a fantastic social channel that can be used for your chapter. To get the most from LinkedIn, we recommend you create a subgroup. But before you do that, ensure you check that it’s ok with national’s bylaws. If it is, here’s how to do it.
Designate a chapter LinkedIn manager (Communications Chair or other)
Email national for access. National will need to create the subgroup for your chapter and give access to the assigned manager. Send the name and email address of the person who will manage the LinkedIn group for your chapter to national to get the ball rolling.
Send an invitation to chapter members. Include the request link to your LinkedIn subgroup within the email invitation to ensure you get the maximum response. The manager will need to approve each LinkedIn request, so make sure you check for requests regularly.
LinkedIn can be used to post chapter news, events, announcements, and share update s from members (just make sure you have a plan in place to make sure it’s updated regularly). The manager will need to approve member requests and promote membership by sharing the group. It’s well worth promoting the group, by emailing invitations to your chapter mailing list, posting links in chapter communications, and promoting the request link on social media.
Once each member is approved, they will have the ability to post anything on the group’s page. It’s the manager’s responsibility to regulate and delete unrelated posts if necessary. Remember, promoting marketing or sales content is discouraged, so any posts about products, services, unrelated conferences, webinars and events should be removed.
How To Gather Your Members For Meetings
Let’s face it. It’s difficult to get everyone in one place at the same time! Especially when you consider that most of your members probably have a full-time job. If you’re struggling to set up face-to-face meetings, phone or virtual meetings are a great alternative.
These days, there are a whole host of services which make hosting a conference call a breeze. We’d recommend you take a look at services such as Wiggio, Zoom, GroupMe, GoogleVoice, Free Conference Call, No Cost Conferences and Go To Meeting. Many of these services are free, so take a look at the options available to you when you’ve got an idea of your requirements.
Follow the tips below on how to set up a phone or virtual meeting for your chapter:
- Commit to having the phone meetings last around 60-90 minutes or less
- Distribute an agenda prior to meetings so members know what will be discussed
- Send an Outlook/Google/iCal calendar appointment so it’s on their calendar and they just have to hit accept
- Try to hold the meetings quarterly
- Take meeting notes or minutes and send them to all members (not just the ones who attended) within a few days after the meeting
- If there are any key takeaways, actions items or highlights, be sure to call those out separately from the meeting minutes.
- Send an email reminder two to three days prior to the meeting in order to increase attendance
- Ask for input on items to discuss for the next agenda
How Your Chapter Can Market Member Benefits
Ernie Smith, a social media journalist for Associations Now, says, “Associations live and die by their member benefits. They’re the carrots that get dangled on sticks, attracting new members to join your organization.”
Most associations hide their member benefits on one page of the website — if your association can live and die by them; consider adding a section to your chapter website telling potential members all about the benefits they could be enjoying. This could be the key to increasing your local membership.