Associations often think of social media channels simply as an outlet for distribution of content. But social media also is a treasure trove for sourcing ideas, gathering information and identifying new contributors.
Here are five ways associations in a variety of industries can leveraging social media to influence and shape their content strategies:
- Engage Contributors
The American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) relies on its social media channels to engage new contributors. Each month, AAST posts an open-ended question on a certain industry hot topic on its Facebook page, and based on the comments, the editorial committee reaches out to those who engaged in the conversation and asks them to contribute to an upcoming article.
- Combat Misinformation
By monitoring LinkedIn conversations and questions on its group page, as well as the pages of other industry groups, the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) identified an opportunity to educate the industry on the difference between certificates and certifications. The organization then used the influence of board members to respond and inform when similar questions arose in other industry groups.
- Respond to Current News
When documentaries about Fyre Fest streamed on Netflix and Hulu, many events organizations saw a spike in chatter on their social media channels. Some of these organizations quickly posted articles with reactions to the practices seen in the documentaries.
- Identify Influencers
To represent a diverse group of members, associations can use social media to discover engaged followers—those who comment on or share your content regularly. Your association editorial staff or committee can then tap those new voices for leads, sources, and interviews on a variety of topics.
- Data-Driven Decisions
Social media channels also can change or inform your organization’s communications strategy. Use the data and conversations gathered from social media channels to help you make decisions about your strategy moving forward:
- What are members talking about?
- What are other industry groups discussing?
- Is there a topic you should be talking about because your members aren’t?
- Which conversations get the most engagement? Is it positive or negative?
- Track your website traffic and email stats regularly to identify trends.
- Understand your organization’s strategic goals and how content can support these areas.
- Know when to engage and when to move on.
Social media is a two-way street. Not only can you distribute your content through these channels, but you also can use them as a catalyst for developing new and interesting ways to use social media that relate to your organization’s mission and vision.
Ande Leslie is in the Marketing & Communication Services unit at Smithbucklin.