Posted by Halle Asterbadi on Jun 21, 2017
The growth of social media is moving faster than ever. According to a 2017 Smart Insights research study, there are 2.789 billion social media users on the planet, with usage increasing by 21% since January 2016.
 
Among the billions of people on social media, there’s no question that your own association members are using this medium to communicate with others and engage in new, online experiences. With the right strategies in place, social media can offer a variety of ways to recruit new members and expand your chapters. Below are some tips to help your association with this process.
 
Understand who your audience is
     
Before you start to create social media profiles, recognize the specific channels your prospective members are on, including lapsed members. How are they engaging within the community? What type of content are they engaging with? When are they most active? How are they accessing these social pages? According to a 2017 Smart Insights study, for example, 2.549 billion users are active on their social media accounts through their mobile device, which has increased by 30% since January 2016. This type of information can help you understand how your prospective members behave in the social sphere.
 
Start small and grow
 
Choose 2-3 social platforms that your prospective members are engaged on and grow from there. For membership associations, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are good places to start building your presence and reaching out to prospective members. Build a tone based on whom you are targeting and tell a story of what your association is about. Keep in mind that your tone should be consistent across each channel while catering your content to the specific platform. For example, hashtags may increase awareness on Twitter, but they do not increase virality on Facebook.
 
Share member-generated content
 
Do any of your current members have a success story to share? Was there a milestone that was recently hit as a result of being a member of your association? Include these positive results in your social calendars and any relevant content from association networks to you invite potential members to jump on board.
 
Entice your audience
 
Engage prospective members with relevant content that answers why they should become a member. Thinking of attending the ESSAE Annual conference, for example? Promote your event and give them a behind-the-scenes access with Facebook Live or Periscope for a more immersive experience in real-time. Whether it’s exclusive access to events or fun community culture, show why and how your prospective members would benefit from your association.
 
Post consistently
 
Create a cadence to your posting schedule, understanding that each platform may have a specific posting style. For example, posting 3-4 times a day on Twitter (or more depending on if there’s a live event) is acceptable, whereas posting once every other day on Facebook is better for engagement. Keep your content fresh; repeating content is fine every once in a while, but posting original content shows your members that you are the source for unique and timely content.
 
Include calls-to-action
 
According to a 2015 study by MarketingLand, a call-to-action can lead to boosts in conversions. Incorporating simple key words or sentences, such as “Click here to learn more,” can help increase website traffic and potentially membership. You can experiment with various calls-to-action and creative content through pixel tracking, which helps track and determine what type of content is most likely to drive conversions.
 
 
Get granular with your targeting
 
Incorporating paid media and targeting strategies for your content can help your association reach a larger audience to encourage fan growth. Boost posts to push recruitment using fast capture forms on social sites, or have your content direct to landing pages on your website through targeted messaging.
 
Involve influencers
 
Another great way to build membership is through influencers. Find people who operate within the same online social spaces as your members and who have influence on the membership software space (based on the number of the quality readers). Once connected, ask them to share a review of your association and provide their own authentic review to encourage their readers to learn more about how your association can help them.
 
There are number of ways to start recruiting members and expanding your chapters through social media. Try some of these tips and let us know what works best for you in the comments below.