We live in an age where content is king and members (especially younger generations) spend the majority of their time online on social media. The bad news is that the average internet user has an attention span of about 8 seconds, so you’ve gotta hook em’ quick if you want to effectively engage! The good news is that social media gives associations more opportunity than ever before to create positive, authentic interactions with members.

Want to make sure your association is making the most of its social media presence? Read on to get our 5 tips for growing your association’s presence on social media. 

  1. Choose Your Channels Wisely

    We live in a tech era, which means there are countless social media apps out there, and new channels are evolving every day. Don’t fall into the “more is better” trap. Figure out where your members are, and go to them. For associations, LinkedIn and Facebook are almost always excellent social channel selections because of the wide diversity of usership, allowing for broad reach. Associations in select industries might also consider a presence on Reddit, where users adopt a no-filter approach to industry and work-related problems and solutions. 

    For more on choosing channels to best suit your desired outcomes, read on:

    What Social Media Should my Association be using to Increase Member Engagement

    How to Identify the Right Social Media Channels for your Association

  2. Define Clear Goals

    Having specific metrics-driven goals in mind for social will help focus and clarify your entire social content strategy. Does your social presence primarily exist to engage and nurture current association members? Or is the main purpose to grow the audience, attract new members, and expand your association’s reach? Is it to become a thought leader in your industry? All of these are excellent goals, and you can determine which metrics and growth indicators across social channels will help you best measure them. These goals can also help define what type of content your association creates and when you’re sharing it.

    Here are a few articles for further reading on social metrics for associations: 

    Social Media Metrics

    Essential Social Media Metrics

  3. Optimize by Channel

    You don’t need an advanced marketing degree to realize that each social channel is marked by different user demographics, behaviors and preferences. For example, while your average Instagram user is under 35, audiences on Facebook skew much older, and your average TikTok user hasn’t even graduated from high school. Many users see LinkedIn and Facebook as news sources, and are more likely to click on and engage with lengthy articles and videos on Facebook than they are to read long-form content on Instagram.

    It’s important to understand these differences so that you can effectively modify the content shared on each channel to fit user preferences and behaviors on that channel. Understanding these subtleties will help your association optimize for growth metrics like audience engagement and reach.

    Below, we’ve gathered a few articles on social channel optimization to help you understand these differences and leverage them inside your association:

    How to Optimize your Social Media Channels

    Optimizing your Channel Strategy

  4. Engagement Goes Two Ways

    Many associations spend tons of time creating killer content, only to find that no users are engaging with it. User engagement doesn’t live in a silo: social platforms reward accounts that actively engage and interact with communities in their ecosystems. That means it’s not enough to just create great content, optimize it by channel, and hope users find it. Associations must actively and authentically engage with other users, relevant hashtags, and content that may be attractive to their community. In doing so, you’ll expand your reach natively, because followers of those sources will see your engagement. Plus, you’ll create a reputation as an engaged user. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram reward authentic and engaged users in their algorithms with more visibility in user feeds and across relevant hashtags. 

    We’ve collected a few handy articles so you can read more about optimizing for engagement across channels: 

    10 Tips on Increasing Social Media Engagement

    Social Media Engagement

  5. Let Your Content Work for You

    One of the most common mistakes that associations (and really all businesses) make is thinking that they need to reinvent the wheel for every social channel. When it comes to content marketing, we have one simple rule of thumb: Create once, then tweak as necessary and distribute everywhere. Chances are you have different audiences on different platforms. While you may update your messages across channels to optimize content for that channel (see tip 3), you can and should take credit for your amazing content across every channel in your ecosystem. Start with a set of unilateral content goals that directly correlate to greater business goals for the quarter or month. From there, build out an editorial calendar with the topics that will help you reach those goals, and include a multi-channel distribution plan for each topic. Once the ideas are in place, start creating, optimizing by platform and distributing across channels. Smart content strategies allow for enough planning so you can batch create content, but enough flexibility such that your association can always share perspectives on hot-off-the-press topics and industry updates.

    For more tips and tricks, subscribe to our email list. And for more helpful reads on content strategy, click below:

    How are Associations Thinking About Content Strategy

    ASAE's Content Strategy Study

    7 Steps to Creating a Successful Content Strategy