The simple answer is Yes.
Utilizing online social media vehicles can provide your association with an incredible means to reach your members, the public, the government, stakeholders, and the media in a personal and immediate way. You can raise your organization’s profile while educating the public and stakeholders on the benefits your membership provides. A strong understanding will help to create buy-in and identify your association or non-profit as a leader in the industry.
What’s Social Media and Why Should You Care?
Social media essentially is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online. Most social media services encourage discussion, feedback, voting, comments, and sharing of information from all interested parties (Ron Jones). There are hundreds of social media websites available for many audiences; from blogging communities to music networks to cultural specific communities to academic researchers, the list goes on. Facebook and Twitter are the most commonly heard about and used. With over 500 million active users on Facebook and over 106 million accounts on Twitter (growing rapidly with over 300,000 new accounts per day), it is important for organizations and businesses to not only engage with their clients and the public online but to also be aware of what is being discussed related to their brands and industries. If you are not there, you are unable to provide accurate information and respond to concerns to those who are looking for answers. Facebook and Twitter have rapidly become a part of our everyday life, providing massive information databases and avenues for people to discuss and organize (roles in the Egyptian revolution and further people’s uprisings).
The power of these social media sites is based on the fact that they are specific networks. Connecting with one person or business will allow access to their established network. These networks are not random but instead connected for particular reasons (similar interests, friends, like-minded individuals, etc.). This allows for your messaging, when shared with a strong network, to reach an exponential audience. This is how news, stories, pictures, etc. become ‘viral’ and travel around the world sometimes nearly instantaneously. Remember, it’s not about the number of followers, fans, or friends, but instead about the quality of the network built.
5 quick tips for getting started with Twitter
1. There’s no “I” in tweet. Association tweets are about the brand personality – not the personality of the employee tweeting. The best way to tweet as an association rather than yourself is to avoid the first person singular (I, me, my) and stick to the first person plural (we, us, our).
2. Spend some time on your Twitter bio. Your Twitter bio is like your “About Us” page – but in 140 characters or less. Like an elevator pitch, it should highlight the most crucial member benefits of your association without resorting to jargon. And don’t forget to include a link to your website.
3. Choose a graphic design background that mirrors your brand. The most effective Twitter backgrounds feature custom designs or photographs, rather than canned templates. You can (and should) switch your backgrounds every so often, but make sure they remain consistent with your association’s personality.
4. Make some noise. Hold a contest, take a poll, make a Twitter-only offer, ask a question, or start a hashtagged discussion thread. Participating in existing discussions doesn’t hurt, either, provided they’re related to your industry sector. Also good to retweet and engage your own employees to humanize your brand!
5. Keep a separate Twitter account for support. Your association Twitter page should look like a showroom, not a repair shop. To avoid having your page cluttered with responses to member concerns, keep a separate page that’s 100% dedicated to customer service.
‘5 quick tips for getting started with Twitter’ is an adaptation of a recent Vitamin T newsletter.