Tuesday, February 28, 2012

If Small Businesses Can: 7 Questions for Association Management Professionals?

Left Brian & Sassy Henry of Palmetto Cheese. Right:  Brian Clark of Entreproducer

USA Today
ran a good story titled “Tweet Dreams of a Booming Business” which told stories about small companies growing their use of social media success.

If association management professional read this from an association point of view, it offers good insights on how to grow your organizations.
Some highlights from the article:
  • "The brand was really built on social media and PR strategies," says Jeremy Morgan, senior vice president of marketing and consumer insights. "Social media is an opportunity for us to engage with consumers and have a conversation, which is different than paid media, when you're just shouting through a bullhorn." (Steve’s note: as your read these articles, replace consumers with members and/or donors.)
  • "Whether they chose to jump into social media or not is a question that only they can answer," he says, but all firms should at least explore how social media could work for them.
  • “It just takes a few clicks to potentiality connect with thousands of business contacts and customers, he says. In addition to networking, business owners can use social media to glean useful insights by reading comments made by customers, industry experts, even competitors.”
  • "There's a lot of good information floating out there," he says.
  • "While this was a great place for us to start, it didn't bring in a lot of followers, because it wasn't creating a dialogue," says Brian.
  • "Once we started truly interacting with our customers and created a community, we began to see an increase in interest and customers," Pawleys Island, S.C., entrepreneur Brian Henry.
  • Sabina Ptacin, co-founder of 'Preneur, which provides tools and resources for small businesses. "You can't post once a week and think it's going to make an impact," she says. "You need to constantly be contributing, definitely every day. And no matter what, don't aggressively push a product or service, she says. That could scare away potential followers.
This USA Today piece ties with great advice from Brian Clark in his new Entreproducer newsletter:
  • “Build an audience before you need it.”
Think of the applications for associations and nonprofits: Build an audience (followers, friends, etc.) before ...
• you recruit them as members
• you solicit them as donors
• you ask them to support your positions
• you invite them to register for your conference, webinar, podcast

So, as an association professional, what are you doing to build your organization’s audiences? Not just members and donors but an audience of friends that we normally call “prospects.” 

Here are seven (7) questions to answer:
  1. Is your Website a magnet for your audience? Do you update it daily or is it an electronic brochure?
  2. How often are you posting to Facebook and Twitter? 
  3. Does your organization have LinkedIn groups? 
  4. Do you have a Slide Share account and do you post presentations to it?
  5. Do you have a YouTube channel and do you post videos regularly? Are they linked to your Website?
  6. Have you begun exploring Pinterest and how it might work for your organization?
  7. Are you building your audience BEFORE you “sell” your association, charity, products, services?

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