After Introducing Social Media to a Reluctant Association, you need to figure out how best to take advantage of it. When used well, social media can work for your association by building awareness, promoting advancements, and connecting with prospective members. Social media can be overwhelming, but it is manageable. Read on fora few pointers to consider before hitting the ‘post’ button.

Post With A Purpose

You would not start a traditional marketing campaign without having specific goals, so why start a social media campaign without one? This will include short-term goals, such as improving your site traffic or announcing registration for an upcoming conference and long-term goals, such as increasing association membership year over year.

Use Targeted Hashtags

Hashtags are a word preceded by the # symbol. They first appeared on Twitter but have spread to other social media platforms such as Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram. When individuals are searching for a specific topic, they are more likely to find your post if you use a hashtag about that specific topic.

However, hashtags can be too general, which can have your posts get lots in a sea of content. Example, something like #health or #fundraising is generic and can apply to thousands of posts. Finding a more specific hashtag can be more beneficial.

However, don’t use too many hashtags, as it can make your post look like it came from a high school student and not a professional organization. Also search the hashtags before you use them.

Double check to make sure that the hashtag means what you think it means, You could inadvertently associate your brand with a raunchy or nefarious campaign. Use the Complete hashtag guide for business for more tips.

Use Images

Posts accompanied by images usually have a wider reach than posts without, so it makes good sense to use photos in your posts. It is important to ensure that the images and links you are sharing are the right ones – not only do they have to be relevant, it’s important to make sure you are using images that have permission to be reused online.

One way to find a reusable image is when doing a Google image search, filter by usage rights and select Labeled for Reuse.

Posting in the Right Places

Once you’ve figured out what you’re going to post, and have your image and hashtags, the next question is where to post it. It will mostly depend on the audience you are trying to connect to. If you are a professional health care association, LinkedIn is a safe bet, as well as Twitter, if you are trying to attract more students to your association, Snapchat or Instagram may be a better option.  

Be Consistent

It takes more than one or two posts to reach your audience and gain some momentum. When posts use consistent images and tone, you will start to see results. You want to be consistent with your posting, but not overwhelm users with too many posts in one day.  

There are a plenty of tools out there that can help you organize and schedule your posts. This way you and your team can bank a week or more of posts into a one chunk of time instead of having to make sure you’re posting at the times you want., and are two examples.

Common Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

Self promoting all the time: Yes the main goal of social media is to promote your organization, but there is much more you can do with it. For example, using social media to promote advances in your industry will show that you are up to date on the latest trends.

Too much content: If your post has a ‘read more’ button on it, there’s a good chance you have too much content and you post will be skipped by a large majority of users. Twitter has been very successful with its 140 character limit (increased to 280 as of November 8, 2017), proving you can say a lot with few words.

Posting irrelevant content: Your association is not a daily news site – posting about the latest world event is not why people follow you. Only post things that are relevant to your association and your members.

Not reviewing your scheduled posts: Remember what you have scheduled because things on the internet move quickly. A post about recommended cities to host a conference can go from flattering to insensitive if a deadly weather event or some other tragedy happened in that city between the time you scheduled the post and the time it goes live.

Social media can be a powerful yet overwhelming tool to help promote your association, but with a bit of planning you can make sure your social media presence has the impact you are looking for.