Here’s the thing. It’s no secret that social media works. It’s grown to this massive category that takes up the majority of almost everyone’s online time (and offline time thanks to the advancement of smart phones and other mobile devices), and has officially overtaken all other categories as the number one activity that free time is devoted to.
Step back for a second and think about that. If someone has free time, they’re likely to spend at least some of it connecting with others online in one way or another. While there are hundreds of social media networks, some giant, some smaller, it’s still impressive. People are looking to connect and social media facilitates this need.
Why Social Media Generally Fails for Trade Associations
But again, you know this. As a membership coordinator or director of a trade association, you’ve watched the trend grow…maybe you’ve even tried to jump in a time or two. Whether you created a single social media account on a giant network or tried to dabble in all the major networks a bit, you’ve learned a little about what works and what doesn’t.
It’s likely that you’ve also experienced some frustrations. Maybe you didn’t receive the responses you were hoping for. Perhaps your engagement efforts didn’t pan out. Maybe your attempt at social ads or other form of recruitment fell short. There’s any number of reasons that social media attempts fall flat for trade associations.
But, I’d like to argue that there’s ONE main issue.
It’s simple really.
The giant social networks simply aren’t designed for trade associations. You see, trade associations generally fall somewhere in the non-profit realm. Trade associations work to ASSIST people – professionals, common interest groups or otherwise – not to PROFIT from them.
See the difference?
Yes, social media is great for facilitating connections. But, the creators of the major networks didn’t create them to make people feel good. They created them to generate profits. Where do profits come from? They come from online shopping. They come from advertisers with deep pockets. They come from small businesses hoping to reach a market. They don’t generally come from trade associations who work endlessly on public policy while providing education and networking opportunities to their members.
That doesn’t mean that social media can’t work for your association!
It DOES mean, however, that social media that will work for your association is probably different than the social media that works for the everyday person hoping to share a few photos and catch up with high school friends.
Your trade association targets and works for a specific niche. Your social media network should do the same.
That’s why we created Social HubSite in the first place. We believe in the power of trade associations. We’ve worked with them and even for them. We know them inside and out. We understand their needs.
To Make Social Media Work for Your Association, You Need the Right Focus
When you start to focus on the actual needs of your members, and create a targeted network accordingly, you’ll see success like you haven’t before.
You’ll be able to interact without distractions, without ads that aren’t relevant and without long-lost friends posting videos and selfies. Instead, you’ll be able to keep your members on target, focused on what matters to them professionally, and what matters to your association.
You’ll connect in ways you haven’t been able to before, even when the next conference or event is months away.
Bottom line: you’ll get to know your members and they’ll get to know you. They will connect using social media, just not in the way you envisioned it when Facebook saw explosive growth a few years ago.
It’s not complicated, it’s not something that’s impossible to understand. It’s a simple principle: when you use the right network, you’ll attract the attention you’ve been searching for and both your members and your association will benefit in the long run.
Ready to go? Let’s talk. We’re here to make it happen!