Frank Kenny provides five easy marketing tips any association can implement.
Marketing has changed a lot over the past decade. Social media now plays a major role, as does word of mouth and digital reviews. Brands are also creating experiences, and your members likely expect some of that from you.
Before you start worrying about your budget or your time, make sure that your social media marketing is as effective as possible. To do this, you need to:
- Be present. Don’t post and ignore interactions. If someone posts, respond.
- Be consistent. Posting occasionally makes visitors to your page wonder if you’re still active. If you want to build a following, people need to know you’re actively participating. If you’re inconsistent about your posting, they will think you’re inconsistent in other areas.
- Post content your audience is interested in. Social media is about being social. Nobody likes organizations that post solely about themselves. Engage with members and potential members. They want conversation, not a pitch.
Now that you’ve mastered the basic guiding principles of social media marketing, let’s get started.
1. Adjust Posting Times
Post on days and times that make sense for your audience. When it comes to social media, the best time to post varies by group.
Experiment with early morning and late at night posts.
Try non-traditional days and hours. Your members may see more of your content if you post it on off-hours. But you won’t know this unless you try.
2. Research Social Media Platforms
As the saying goes, you can’t be all things to all people.
Don’t jump on every social media platform out there. You’ll spread yourself thin.
Participate only on the social media platforms where your ideal members are. Don’t worry about popular sites if they aren’t there. Instead, learn about what’s popular with your members.
Also, once you know what platform your members are on, customize your content so it will fit. When you post, your content doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t always be) about your association.
3. Make Reviews Easy
The most effective form of marketing is word of mouth. Make it easy for your members to refer people to you. Give them incentives to do so.
Ask them to review you or share testimonials. Record videos of their testimonials.
Create a group of happy members that answer potential members’ questions, go to onboarding events, speak about your group, and encourage other forms of endorsement. Potential members will believe them over clever marketing any day.
4. Tell Their Story
Most association pros know that storytelling is a very effective marketing tool. It makes people care and evokes an emotional response.
But the key here is caring. Most people don’t care about the story of your organization if it starts with the year you began and you talk only of important dates.
That’s about as exciting as reading a timeline.
Don’t do that.
Instead, highlight your members and their successes as your story. After all, your story is about the people you help, not about what date you were founded.
5. Run a Photo Contest
Whether you make it an official contest with a prize at stake and a crowdsourced winner or you simply encourage your community to share photos around a specific theme, images are very engaging.
If you invite people to contribute, they’ll also share your post because they’ll want their tribe to see it.
Whatever type of marketing you decide is best for your organization, you need to do it consistently and analyze the results. Decide what’s working and what isn’t.
You also want to make it easy for people to review you. If you’re going to take the time to improve your marketing, which invites people to talk about you, then you want to ensure you’re in a position to harness that very powerful word of mouth marketing.
Frank J. Kenny is an internationally recognized author, professional speaker, and consultant. He is on the faculty of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management (IOM). He has taught social media, digital marketing, and technology strategies to business audiences from around the world.