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At the TRENDS Live Social Media Breakfast last week, the best strategies that associations use across the country were discussed in an informative and entertaining setting.
Randy Miller first discussed the TRENDS Association Social Media Report 2012, a comprehensive survey that studies more than 330 national and regional associations use of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The study benchmarks each association against their peers so that they could see where they rank among fellow associations, with some very surprising results.
Lindy Dreyer of Social Fish followed, and showed how social media can be implemented into an overall association strategy. Dreyer said that too often organizations use social media just because it is there. “You need to pick the appropriate tool for the job, and sometimes social media is and sometimes it is not,” she said.
One of the keys for effective social media outreach is to designate one person to manage social media for the group, otherwise “different parts of a company will color their use of social media” rather than keep the company-wide goal in mind. And, the best success with social media isn’t about numbers, such as “likes” or “friends” but about engagement, she said.
A panel followed, consisting of social media experts who lead successful social media campaigns as benchmarked in the TRENDS Association Social Media Report. Anna Baker, whose group American Diabetes Association is top-ranked in the report, said “social media isn’t a megaphone but a telephone.” ADA’s success is derived from back-and-forth communications with members, Baker said.
Chad Davis, social media director for the National Association of Home Builders, brought a unique perspective to the conversation - NAHB’s social media is managed by its IT department, not by public relations or marketing. Davis said organizations sometimes fall for “shiny new object syndrome” and social media is just the newest thing that needs to be used now, even if a company doesn’t know how. Also, “most social media interaction occurs the week after Christmas and before New Year,” a perfect window to be on Twitter and Facebook to engage users, he said.
Curtis Midkiff, social engagement director at the Society for Human Resource Management (another top-scoring organization) described his strategy as “MEET: monitor, engage, educate, and talk with.” He called people that follow SHRM “SHRMinators,” who help spread the organization’s messages. Midkiff advised the participants to “go to where your audience is and talk, don’t try to make them come to your platform.” Don’t expect people to go from Facebook to Twitter or vice versa.