How Associations Can Leverage the Power of Content and Social Media to Build Audience and Attract Members – Part 2

by Corey Post

In part one of this article, we discussed the importance of content in your recruitment efforts.  We reviewed understanding your audience through personas, constructing an editorial calendar, creating your content, managing your resources and team as well utilizing your blog as your content base.

In this installment, you’ll learn about scaling your content creation, promoting it with social media, and applying success metrics to your efforts.

Repurpose Your Content

Content takes time and energy to produce.  So when you create a piece of content that you’re happy with, or more importantly, that your readers like, you want to maximize it.  One way to do so is through repurposing.  Repurposing is breaking your content up into different forms for different channels.  For example, you might transcribe a video and use it in an article, make a slideshow out of a presentation and place it on SlideShare, or take your top performing articles and create an eBook for your readers.

Essentially, repurposing content allows you to reach more eyeballs and helps you underwrite the cost of production across multiple iterations of creation.

Social Media Platforms

Social media is an incredibly effective channel through which to develop an audience, talk with your members and reach new prospects.  Advertising notwithstanding, it’s inexpensive – accounts are generally free – and offers massive potential for reach.

There are myriad social media platforms from which to choose.  And while it’s tempting to try to use as many as possible, it’s often good to start with a limited number – three or four – and learn how to maximize those particular products.

As an association, you want to be able to reach large groups of interested prospects, often in the business-to-business arena. So consider Facebook, with its unparalleled reach, LinkedIn with its business focus, and Twitter, which has a fantastic viral component baked into it.  Another useful platform is YouTube, which, believe it or not, is the world’s second largest search engine (actually not surprising since it’s owned by the world’s largest search engine, Google).

Use of each platform merits its own post, so we won’t go into depth here, but the two common threads among all platforms are content and connections.  Your content will facilitate connections and your connections will help to share your content.  You’ll use the content from your editorial calendar, blog, and “repurposing activities” to populate your social channels.

So you could, for example, use Facebook and LinkedIn status updates to push out events and summaries of blog posts.  You can also perform similar activities on Twitter, but you’re limited, of course, by its 140 characters per tweet.  With YouTube, create your own channel and consider filming events that you or a sponsor hold.  Another strategy is to interview association members and thought leaders in your community.  Or take a PowerPoint and narrate it while you film.  Video doesn’t have to be expensive.  You can leverage YouTube and deliver value with few resources.

Building a fan/follower base takes time.  But to start, make sure you feature your social profiles on your website/blog, in your newsletter, and in your email signature.  Join industry forums, dive into the discussion and, when applicable, offer helpful links back to content that you pushed to social media.  You might also consider emailing your members to tell them about your social profiles or posts that you think they should know about and give them the opportunity to get involved through guest posts, comments, polls and general feedback.

Success Metrics

Every activity has an opportunity cost.  Content and social media is no exception.  So you want to ensure that your content marketing activities have a positive ROI, which can be calculated through KPIs that you define.  You might consider pageviews on your website or blog, “likes” on Facebook, links to your site, press mentions, blog comments, and, of course, new members.

Use your analytics program if you’re particularly interested in KPIs around pageviews and traffic.  I like to use Google Analytics because it’s robust, free and easy to install.  However, the data can be overwhelming at first, with information ranging from geography to bounce rate. 

Make sure you track all your data relative to your content in both your editorial calendar and any separate spreadsheet that you find helpful.  After several months, you’ll be able to discern patterns on your content and social activity.  You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t work.  Of course, you’ll expand on activities that work and stop, or pivot, on activities that don’t work.

 A Historic Opportunity

Content and social media are powerful tools that you can use to communicate and create value, develop audience, and attract members.  Remember to plan first using personas, an editorial calendar, and resource allocation.  Make sure you maximize your content and reach with repurposing and social distribution. And track and measure through KPIs.  Once you find areas of opportunity, go deep and build on them.

At the risk of sounding like a web cheerleader, I believe you have an opportunity unmatched in history to build authority for your association and in your particular industry.  All you have to do is get started.

About Corey Post

Corey Post, a sought after digital industry speaker and writer, has over a decade of experience helping organizations build membership through social media, content marketing and SEO.  He’s the founder of content strategy agency, Agile Leverage.  Contact Corey to provide digital marketing education to your association members through webinars and speaking engagements.