Reaching New Association Members With Social Media: A Guide
For your association to continue on the path to growth and overall success, you need a plan for expanding your community.
There are many ways that you can work to reach new association members. For example, you might strengthen your association’s digital presence by optimizing your website to perform better on search engines. Or, you might start an email campaign targeting newly-hired professionals in your industry.
One channel that is especially useful for bringing more members to the table is social media. However, to use it as an effective marketing and recruitment tool, you’ll need a comprehensive strategy for connecting with the individuals who would benefit most from membership in your organization.
That’s where this guide comes in. We’ll walk through three tips for reaching new association members with social media:
- Create and share high-quality content.
- Promote the value-add of joining your association.
- Tap into the power of peer-to-peer marketing.
As you hone your approach to leveraging social media for marketing purposes, remember to rely on your association management software (AMS) to help you personalize your outreach, gather data on how your strategy is working, and help you keep track of new members. The right solution can even integrate with the social media platforms you use to streamline your efforts.
1. Create and share high-quality content.
Reaching more people starts with creating high-quality content that social media users want to view and interact with. In other words, the right content will give people a reason to follow your association’s activities on social media, pique their interest in what you have to offer, and ultimately encourage them to join your organization.
So, what kinds of content should you create to share on your various social media profiles? Here are some suggestions:
- Infographics: Share industry-specific insights and statistics by creating infographics. Visual presentations of data like these can catch the eye and are extremely shareable, especially on platforms like LinkedIn.
- Blog Posts: Your blog is likely full of news about your organization, member spotlights, event recaps, and more. Sharing your blog content can demonstrate just how active your organization is. Plus, when you link to your blog from your social media profiles, social media users can visit your website and find more information about your association.
- Videos: Our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This is why videos are so popular on social media. You can create videos about your association’s core values or membership perks, or livestream events or presentations that you then share on your profile.
- Photos/Photo Galleries: Photos can bring your association’s work to life. Share (with permission) photos of your members attending events, participating in volunteering activities, or networking. Photos like these can help potential members picture themselves benefitting from membership in your organization.
Whatever type of content you decide to create, ensure that you’re branding it to your organization. According to Kwala, using your branding will help to boost brand recognition and awareness for your association’s mission as well as unify all of your organization’s promotional materials.
2. Promote the value-add of joining your association.
To encourage more individuals to invest in a membership with your association, you need to demonstrate what your organization has to offer that they can’t get anywhere else. This means you should use your social media content to promote the value-add of joining your organization.
This information won’t just be valuable for potential new members, either. When you remind current members of the benefits they receive from being involved with your association, you’ll encourage them to continue their membership, deepen their involvement with your programs, and leverage the resources that your organization has to offer.
Consider showcasing the following benefits of joining your organization:
- Learning and professional development opportunities
- Networking opportunities
- Discounted or free access to industry resources and services
- Access to exclusive online resources (member directories, forums, job boards, etc.)
- Certification/licensing assistance
- Advocacy and representation
- Strong and supportive community
To highlight these benefits, try three surefire strategies.
First, post member testimonials. Have actual members explain how they’re benefiting from being part of your association, either through video or text. Doing so will put a human touch on your promotional efforts.
Second, be transparent on social media about your membership model. Be clear about pricing and benefits in your content, and don’t shy away from answering questions in comments or direct messages.
Third, post about member accomplishments. By celebrating what your members accomplish in their careers with your association’s help, you’ll demonstrate not only that your association can help its members further their careers but also that your organization is invested in supporting every individual that joins.
3. Tap into the power of peer-to-peer marketing.
Did you know that your existing members can also help you reach new members on social media? Your current members can act as enthusiastic ambassadors for your association and encourage people in their own circles to join.
Leveraging peer-to-peer marketing can not only help to grow your organization, but Fonteva’s guide to member engagement strategies also highlights that it can be powerful for current members to engage in community-building activities, strengthening their ties to your organization as well.
Here are some ideas for getting your current members involved in your marketing efforts on social media:
- Encourage members to share your content or create their own. Once your organization goes to the effort of making high-quality social media content, you should encourage your members to share that content with their own networks. Plus, sharing doesn’t take much time! You can also encourage members to personalize their shared content. For example, if they share a post about an upcoming fundraiser, they could include a short paragraph about what excites them about supporting the campaign.
- Start a referral program to reward members for their outreach efforts. You can also incentivize members to participate in peer-to-peer marketing by creating a referral program. Establish different rewards for members based on how many new members they bring to your association’s community. These rewards might include membership discounts, extra-special perks like private mentoring sessions or resume reviews, or fun gifts like branded merchandise or gift cards.
- Develop relationships with influencers in your industry. Influencers are individuals with strong social media followings that can influence marketing success by recommending different products, services, and organizations. Identify influencers within your industry, or, better yet, your association, that can plug your organization in their own social media content. You can even provide them with content ideas or templates to make it easier for the influencers to say “Yes!” to posting on your behalf.
Peer-to-peer marketing works because of the power of social proof. This means that when potential members see individuals that they know and trust talking about your association, they’ll be more inclined to trust your organization and consider joining it themselves.
Growing your association’s community benefits everyone involved, from the new members who get to tap into the benefits your organization offers to the existing members and leaders who will enthusiastically welcome new individuals with diverse perspectives and experiences into their community.
Use the tips in this guide to start leveraging social media to reach out to potential new members, and remember to focus your content on how your association can enrich their professional lives.