Practical Uses of Social Media for Association Marketing.

Last week I had the chance to facilitate a session at the ASAE and the Center’s Super Swap meeting.

Of course, the topic of social media came up for conversation. And my impression from those who shared made me feel that many associations are experimenting with various social media tools, but may not have a focused strategy in place on what they are trying to accomplish.

As I was thinking about it this week, I came across a post on the LeaderConnect blog that summed up many of my thoughts on the practical uses of social media really well. So I wanted to share the three points this blog made on practical social media strategies here.

• “In-bound marketing. You’re trying to “get found” in an age of media clutter and ever-more effective ways of blocking your marketing messages. Outbound marketing—advertising, direct mail, trade shows, PR—will always be necessary but our patience with that sort of messaging evaporated a long time ago. You want to be where your potential members are and position yourself as an organization with interesting, worthwhile things to offer. They come to you rather than you beating on their door begging to be let in.

• Lead generation. You’re trying to find them without renting a list or paying the trade magazine in your industry to do it or buying a booth at a trade show in order to collect business cards. If you are in the right social media groups and you’re paying attention and posting content that the group cares about, you will find potential members (and speakers and sponsors and contributors).

• The Deep Sell. We had a wonderful client at Pier 1 Imports years ago. He called content “the deep sell.” You are not selling Papa-san chairs. You are selling relationships, access to a network of smart people who share interests and want to have substantive, valuable exchanges of information. You can’t do that in a one-page ad. Social media enables you to explain yourself, to market yourself based on value rather than on price.”

The unifying strategy here is using social media to connect potential members and prospects with you. I describe it as an economical way to put a store on a major highway. Prospective members are driving by and social media can give them a place to pull over and connect with you. If you would like to read the entire post, here is the link.

Please let me know what you think.

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