So your association has social media. You’re seeing that a few tweets here and a few Facebook updates there are getting a few likes and shares so it seems like your social audiences are interacting with your content. Bada boom, bada bing, call it a success.
Not so fast. Hate to break it to you, but I can guarantee that little to no young professionals are the ones who are interacting with your social posts. If anything, we young professionals just scroll past your posts not even bothering to look at them, let alone the association name.
Let me tell it to you straight: Your association’s social media channels are not geared towards or attracting young professionals. Why, you ask? To be frank, your latest tweet or update on LinkedIn is not the content I’m following, let alone actively seeking out on a daily basis. Compared to the numerous dog videos, food recipes and personality quizzes I see on a daily basis, your social media game is weak (meaning not good enough). #Sorrynotsorry
So how can you fix this issue and start attracting young professionals to your social media pages? There are quite a few things you can start doing and learning:
- Know the “cycle of life” for social media. We all know what happened to Myspace. It’s dead. And while social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are not dying quite yet, they go through age demographic cycles. Long story short, it appears Facebook is making a comeback, Twitter has somewhat taken a backseat to other social platforms, and LinkedIn—well, it’s mostly just another resume for young professionals where we try to look professional enough so that people over 40 will connect with us and maybe give us a job. Social media ebbs and flows. Young professionals are constantly bouncing between social platforms, and your organization needs to have a social media strategy that is flexible to accommodate the constant shifts in platform engagements.
- Content, content, content. Start aiming your social content towards young professionals. This does not mean your association should go make an Instagram account, or start posting TikTok videos. (If you don’t know what TikTok is, that’s okay--it’s still a new platform and people over the age of 40 haven’t started to take it over and ruin it for us “youngsters.”) What I’m trying to say here is that it is okay to direct your social content to a younger demographic, and I encourage you to do so. Don’t be afraid to:
- Use gifs and memes with funny captions.
- Take popular song lyrics and turn them into a 280-character tweet about your association. For example, if you are a travel association, consider taking Khalid’s song Location, switching up the words a bit and tweeting, “Send me your location, let’s focus on a new vacation.” Include the music note emoji and #vacation and you have yourself a tweet.
- Take the comedic route. Be funny once in a while. It is okay to test the waters. Just look at Wendy’s and SparkNotes.
- Use hashtags. Just make sure they are contextually relevant to your post. Your association can also make up its own hashtag and use it across social platforms.
- Make an effort to reach young professionals. I’m not telling you to go out and write a post that is an all call for young professionals. That’s what I call #desperate. But make sure your social content isn’t just aimed at the age demographic that currently makes up most of your members. The idea is to start making young professionals aware of your association and that you exist. Don’t be afraid to do a #followfriday and have your followers invite their young professional coworkers to like or follow your social channels. I also encourage associations to look into specific groups or hashtags that are relevant to their line of work and make the association known in the realm of that hashtag. Having a social media presence in the career field your association is in is very important, necessary and allows for name recognition.
It’s time to make a change and start interacting with young professionals. The only way to expand your membership and have more 18- to 38-year-olds join your association is to make us youngins notice you. Stop having us scroll past your posts, and start making us interact with your social content instead.
This article is part of the “Musings from a Millennial” series from Monica Roselli.
Monica Roselli is in the Marketing & Communication Services unit at Smithbucklin.