Are you a member of a professional association and want to increase awareness? Perhaps your goal is to grow your membership. Well – good news – social media is a great place to do just that!
While many people utilize their LinkedIn profiles to showcase their involvement with associations, you may find the need for your association to have its own presence on social media channels.
Here are three steps to promoting your professional association on social media:
Step 1: Define Your Target Audience
Revaluate your association goals and target member demographics. Are you looking for young professionals who want to further their careers? Or maybe for professional executives already involved in philanthropy? Are they finance or public relations professionals?
Identifying your audience is the first step in developing a social media presence for your association. Create a list of the top 20 attributes you are looking for in new members before you set up or revamp your social media channels.
Step 2: Select The Right Channels
There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating a presence on social media for your association. With that being said, you want to select the best channels for your brand and target audience.
Where do your potential members hang out? Are they on LinkedIn reading about business and networking? Or are they on Facebook commenting, liking and sharing more personal content than work content? Focus on two to three channels to start that will target potential members.
Associations like Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) utilize LinkedIn heavily. With nearly 5,000 members, the PIHRA LinkedIn group requires approval from a group admin to join. The association recommends joining local subgroups within the 16 districts for more strategic networking and job listings.
In contrast, the California Travel Association (CalTravel) places more emphasis on a Facebook fan page. Since this association represents hospitality, tourism and travel businesses, a highly visual social media channel like Facebook is a great choice. The CalTravel Facebook page publishes travel articles, spotlights destinations and shares photo from networking events and conferences.
Step 3: Set Up the Channels
Once you have narrowed it down to two to three channels to focus on, make sure you set them up strategically. If your association doesn’t have a website there will be some limitations on which you can use. For example, you won’t be able to set up a LinkedIn company/organization page for your association. You will, however, be able to create a LinkedIn Group that members can join and network within.
Make sure to consistently brand your association across all the channels. Think of a few social media handles in case one is not available on a specific channel. Ideally all your channels will have the same handle (i.e. Facebook.com/CalTravel and Linkedin.com/CalTravel). If your association has a website, add social media links to it for more traffic to your new channels.
Being a part of a professional association is a big commitment and great for your career. Having a good social media presence for the association will help bring more awareness and engagement. Ultimately, the branding of your association will help you and other members advance as a community.
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