Association Today

Association News You Can Use

Protect Your Friends and Followers

social-media-protection Consider this scenario. You take all that time to get friends and followers, and it turns out the contractor who was hired to help manage your social media sites actually owns them and not your association. According to Rob Sumner, CAE, Esq., it’s possible. “Make sure your association always maintains control of the sites,” Sumner cautioned during a recent interview with Association Adviser. “You don’t want to invest time and effort into your sites and get [a lot] of followers, [and] all of a sudden have the rug pulled out from under you.” Here are the key takeaways from Sumner’s conversation with Association Adviser, which is produced by Naylor Inc.:
  • Employees can make factual statements about the association and name, but they can’t confuse the public into thinking they are speaking on behalf of the association.
  • The biggest mistake many associations make is just assigning the youngest person on their staff to be the social media person, with senior management not being knowledgeable enough about maintaining control of ownership of the sites.
  • Many motivated employees or volunteers start popular social media pages on the association’s behalf—but that doesn’t mean they own the site or can take it with them if they leave the organization.
These are all critical points that warrant your careful consideration. Social media sites are so popular because they provide opportunities for engagement and collaboration. In recognition of this trend, private social communities are a key component of Fonteva For Associations. Our customized member portals are probably the most popular feature with our customers. They provide a protected environment where their members can share key community resources and news as well as participate in vital discussions and network with peers.
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More Instead of Less: 5 Ways to Get More Leads/Referrals on LinkedIn

linkedin2 Recently, Inc.com contributor Jeff Haden posed a question that got me thinking a little differently about my 500+ connections on LinkedIn. Haden says, “Everyone seems to be on LinkedIn. So you are too. But are you actually generating leads and referrals?” Chances are most of us – myself included – have put the majority of our energy into “linking to” people. But to what end? According to Haden, if we truly want to cultivate our connections on LinkedIn as potential customers and business partners, we need to spend a maximum of 20 minutes per day prospecting more effectively. Here are five of the 10 ways Haden believes you can use LinkedIn to build your business relationships (Source: Sandler Training, a sales, management, and leadership organization):
  1. Prepare a digital version of your 30-second commercial and include that text in your LinkedIn profile. The main thing to remember about LinkedIn is this: It is a huge, never-ending, virtual networking event, and you have to be ready with the right response to, “What do you do?” Your 30-second commercial is the answer to that question, as told from the point of view of a prospect in pain that eventually turned into your happy customer.
  2. Play fair. Only “connect” to people you actually know. LinkedIn will backfire on you if you pretend to know people you don’t. Always ask for introductions to people you don’t know.
  3. Build out your lead list. Spend five minutes a day investigating the connections of your contacts to see whom you don't know personally but would like to meet. Make a note of those to whom you would like introductions. Start first with the "Recommendations," since those are most likely the strongest relationships of the LinkedIn user you are viewing. Ask for the recommendations outside of your LinkedIn account via email or phone. You'll get a quicker answer. (And you'll get the chance to quickly reconnect with your connections.)
  4. Follow your current clients and prospects. Spend another two minutes each day looking up your current clients and top prospects. Find out whether they have a company page. If they do, follow and monitor it.
  5. Post an update. Spend 60 seconds each working day posting an “Update” to your LinkedIn network. Use the daily update to share a link to an article or a video that is relevant to your prospects and customers. Or use the “Pulse” (used to be known as “LinkedIn Today”) feature on your LinkedIn dashboard. Each time you post an update you get displayed on the feed of all the people with whom you are connected. But never sell when you post updates. Add value and share expertise instead.
It’s clear that making connections is just the beginning of using this online network to the fullest. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my profile.
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A Strategy for Social Media: 3 Key Elements for Success

imgresWhat’s the rush? Are you really worried about some other organization beating yours to Facebook and Twitter? Too often I’ve seen nonprofit organizations treat implementing social media like a race. They take the approach of let’s get out there and get started; we’re figure out the rest later. About.com contributor Julia Campbell recently shared 11 tips for a successful nonprofit social media strategy. Of them, three really stood out for me. 1.  Create a social media committee. The day-to-day work of social media cannot be done in a silo. To form a dynamic and working social media committee, think about the people involved with your organization who:
  • Like communicating with stakeholders;
  • Like technology (they do not have to be tech-savvy);
  • Are creative;
  • Have their finger on the pulse of the latest news;
  • Are well-connected and enthusiastic.
The key is to get this group of people thinking through a social media lens. 2. Choose Channels. Too many organizations do this step first, with no planning. How will you know which channel to choose without knowing your audience and where they are? How will you know where to participate until you know who is going to be administering and maintaining the accounts? Things to consider:
  • Where are your supporters?
  • Where do they congregate?
  • Ask or survey your supporters and constituency.
Don’t get caught up in shiny new object syndrome. Vine and Snapchat may be awesome, but that doesn’t mean they will be worthwhile for your nonprofit. 3. Plan. Start by defining your goals and objectives. How will you know success? What can you measure that is directly attributable to social media? Metrics can include:
  • Increased email sign ups
  • Increased event participation
  • New volunteer sign ups
  • Increased website traffic
If you only want to use social media to raise money, you should probably reevaluate that strategy. Check out the Facebook Ladder of Engagement to see how nonprofits can use Facebook (and other social networks) as a rung in the fundraising ladder. While all three of these are important, we definitely had choosing channels in mind when we designed Fonteva For Associations. We make it easy for your members to promote their social presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter by integrating these sites directly into their member profiles. This functionality enables you to expand your association’s profile on these important social sites, enhancing your viral marketing and referral strategy. Original Article
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Olympic Athletes All A-Twitter: 5 Ways to Use Twitter to Build Your Personal Brand

images-2TAKEAWAY TUESDAY Take it away! This is the eighth in a series of posts that will be featured on Fonteva’s blog highlighting important strategies associations can take away from other industries. In today’s sixth-degrees-of-separation world, your members are assessing your association not just in comparison to similar organizations but in relation to the totality of their experiences as consumers. As such, we want to help you stay abreast of key trends and best practices, those takeaways that may benefit your association. How much is that puppy in the picture? Animal lovers around the world were asking that question after slope-style skier Gus Kentworthy posted photos of himself with the adorable puppies he intended to adopt. In doing so, Kentworthy used his social presence to shine a light on Sochi’s stray dog program. His actions illustrate the first of five ways Cision blogger Teresa Dankowski says Olympic athletes leveraged Twitter to build their personal brands.
  1. Advocacy. According to her, Kentworthy’s post, which even got Miley Cyrus’ attention, inspired many Olympians and non-Olympians to consider pet adoption.  “With cause-based messages being crucial to today’s brands and important to today’s audiences, people should use social handles as an extension to do good,” she writes.
  2. Education. Luger Erin Hamlin and hockey forward Monique Lamoureau both took to Twitter to educate fans about their sports as well as give them a sneak peek inside the Olympic Village. Dankowski says, we “should aspire to keep our audiences informed and shouldn’t be afraid to provide a transparent behind-the-scenes look at what [we] do.”
  3. Engagement.  Dankowski gives slope-style snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg high marks for keeping it really and truly engaging with fans: “He relates with his audience, answers fan questions and even expressed his desire for an Olympic medal made out of bacon.”  If you follow Kotsenburg’s example, she says, “Be real and have fun with it. Twitter is just another platform to tell a story—scrap pretense and don’t be afraid to put a face on the person behind your brand’s Twitter account.”
  4. Curation.  Ice dancer Alex Shibutani gets the gold for effectively using retweets to build his brand.  “He retweets the people who influence him, stories that inspire him and he’s not afraid to tell the world how much he loves Jimmy Fallon,” Dankowski writes. In an environment where we’re literally bombarded with information, I would agree with her that curation is an important component of content strategy. As she says, curation can be used to “establish thought leadership, build credibility and create engagement and awareness.
  5. Promotion.  Speed skater J.R. Celski was one of many Olympians who shared content related to the brands that sponsor him as well as some content that was self-promotional. “Being promotional is an evitable part of your branded Twitter account. Just remember that promotional content should be relatable,” advises Dankowski.
Well, most of us probably don’t have a chance at becoming champion cross-country skiers or ice skaters, but go ahead, Tweet like an Olympian.
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A Two-Way Street: Being Responsive to Members on Social Media

monterey_16_bg_110400Hello, is anyone home? Unfortunately, this short inquiry sums how many members of associations may feel when their comments or questions on social media go unanswered. According to SocialBakers.com, this past year only 65 percent of inquiries got answered with 58 percent of all questions being answered by just 1/10th of the companies present on social. None of your members’ posts, tweets, or even emails should go into a black hole at your association never to be seen again. In a recent Mashable article, several community managers offered their tips for better engagement on social media. Here I’ve highlighted three that seemed particularly applicable to associations. “Get to know your customer service team: Jetsetter’s member service team answers over 2,000 customer service questions per week via phone and email, but also via Facebook and Twitter. Members love that they can get instant answers to their questions. Communication managers need to be very close to their member support teams. Answering questions via social platforms is a different beast and even the most seasoned customer service specialist will need training on social media interaction.” — Jonathan Goldmann, social media manager at Jetsetter (now TripAdvisor)
“Fast Company is fortunate enough to have a very supportive and thriving online community of whip-smart professionals who are independent enough to have these really awesome in-depth conversations about our content on their own. Sometimes they want to know you are listening, which means it’s your responsibility to read and respond.” —Sheena Medina, community manager at Fast Company “Ask your customers what they think. This might not sound very exciting, but it's key to our social media and community engagement strategy. We do weekly posts on Facebook, for example, called ‘Feedback Friday’ where we share one of our favorite products and ask our fans, ‘Have you tried this? What did you think?’ This allows us to get customer feedback and also allows us to build community because responders inevitably enter into conversation with one another.” —Rachel Silver, community manager at Birchbox Ultimately, you’ll determine which strategies work best for you and your members. Fonteva For Associations users have the benefit of running their AMS on the Salesforce platform, which can be useful to them in implementing their social strategy because the platform enables customers to monitor and post responses directly to the most popular social channels. The Salesforce Marketing Cloud is the world’s only unified social marketing suite. Your organization can use it to create compelling social presences and amplify your content. Designed to help you turn insights into action, this social marketing suite will help associations harness the power of social media to:
  • Listen to their members and have insight into which channels they use to         discuss their organizations
  • Publish engaging contact using drag-and-drop tools
  • Reach more people in more interesting ways
With access to this tool, you can fine-tune your social media strategy. In the process, you’ll definitely need to be both cautious and creative as you head down that two-way street of communicating via social media.  
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