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To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

to-tweet-or-not-to-tweet Social media raises so many questions for associations, and many of them are still just beginning to develop their formal social media strategies. They don’t know whether to request friends on Facebook, develop followers on Twitter, or get Linked In. While all these channels may seem worthwhile, associations should proceed carefully in determining which ones will best serve their missions and strategic objectives. Social media is a brand new channel and needs to be evaluated for its effectiveness for each organization, and frankly it may not be right for every organization. Time should be spent assessing social media. You can start by giving serious consideration to the following questions:
  • What are you doing today, and what would like to do in the future?
  • Are your members/donors active on social media?
  • What is the objective and purpose of social media for the organization (recruitment, fundraising, awareness, retention, etc.)?
  • How will results be measured, and what does success look like in year 1, 2, 3, etc.?
Too many organizations see social media as a bright shiny object and want to move in that direction without a strategy. Once the objectives are determined, a strategy can be put in place. The first step may be simply understanding current members’ behavior around how they use social media by having a way for members to add their social channels to their member profiles in your database. You need to know who and what you’re working with both internally and externally before you make your plans for social media. In a recent interview with Bottom Line Briefing, Bob Ensinger, vice president of communications and marketing for the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries since February, summed up his overall strategy for overhauling ISRI’s communications plan: “The most important thing to do is to sit back and listen. I believe that 75 percent of communications is listening. It’s not always important to reinvent the wheel. There are so many stakeholders not only outside of the association, but also within. They all have a voice that is important to consider when contemplating what, how, and when to communicate.” The sit-back-and-listen approach is one that associations should certainly consider as they do (or do not) develop comprehensive social media plans for communicating with their members.
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3 Important Considerations When Building A Social Community

3 important considerations when building a social community | image courtesy of http://smallbiztrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/social-community.jpgThe vast majority of the associations we speak with don’t have a social community they fully control. When talking about a social community, we don’t mean having a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter presence. We mean having a community that is hosted on the database and is easily accessed from the organization’s website.  Such a social community can play a powerful role in helping with member outreach, providing measurable insights into constituents and reducing staff requests. While public social sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have a role in your social strategy; there are limitations to what they can do. Organizations often don’t realize the risk of not fostering private social communities. By harnessing the power of Fonteva’s private social networking tools, organizations can grow their communities, keep constituents invested and informed, promote greater collaboration and better measure member engagement. Here are three considerations for rethinking your association’s social community: Social communities should include true collaboration: where you control the information being presented to constituents and where constituents receive content relevant to their interests. This allows constituents with shared interests to bridge information gaps, keep in touch 24/7/365 and effectively collaborate even if geographically dispersed. Social communities appeal to younger tech savvy constituents: who expect an association to offer an online social community where they can be more involved and view their transactional history, invoices, edit event registrations and more. Younger members and donors are already using social tools and find it appealing that organizations are keeping up with technology and providing easier ways to engage and give. Social communities are ideal for volunteer management: and save valuable professional staff time by enabling volunteers to be self-sustaining. Volunteers can sign up and list their skillset, availability, and limitations. Staff can in turn use the social community platform to organize volunteers based on their skillsets, location, and other factors. This can be a huge efficiency boost for associations. While we all know the recession hurt many associations in terms of revenue, a properly implemented social community can become a huge boon for association operations, member engagement, and collaboration. Now is the time to leverage these tools and be able to give your members and donors the added value they are looking for.
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Which Social Networking Sites Should Association Management Focus On?

With so many social networking sites cropping up all the time, how does association management know which ones it should spend time and effort promoting? Fortunately, there’s help. A recent article on the Associations Now website highlights a study that investigates which social media platforms are best for organizations to invest their time in.
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How Can Association Management Add More Value With Social Channels?

If they are to succeed, association management experts need to adjust their offerings and resources to add value that members actually need, according to an article on the Associations Now website. Offering the ability to meet online via social channels is one of several fantastic ways for associations to evolve.
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Why Are More Associations Using A Private Social Network For Online Meetings?

As online technology improves, associations are increasingly relying on web-based meetings held on websites and a public or private social network. According to a recent article on SuccessfulMeetings.com, organizations are embracing digital technology to “augment on-site meetings as venues for member interaction.”
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