S m a r t
P u b l i s h i n g
Minutes with…. Maggie McGary Q
Is social media just a fad and do members pay attention to it?
Online community and social media manager for the American Speech-LanguageHearing Association and the Angerosa Research Foundation’s 2011 Publishing Trendsetter of the Year
“The reality is that while setting up an account on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social networking site is free and takes only minutes, success comes from using these platforms strategically over
the long haul.”
A You only need to look at how social media has pervaded mainstream media to realize that it is not a fad. TV news anchors deliver the news— then tell viewers their Twitter handle so they can follow them to stay abreast of what’s happening between broadcasts. Movie trailers direct audiences to “like” a movie’s Facebook page and follow the film on Twitter. Brands provide customer service via Twitter and Facebook. Social media is woven into every other part of your members’ lives. Far too many associations are banking on social media being a fad that they’ll be able to wait out, or asserting that their members aren’t using social media. The reality is that members are exposed to it on a daily basis and it’s becoming engrained in the way all businesses operate. Members expect the same interaction from their association. Q How do you measure ROI for social media? A Coming up with relevant and useful metrics for social media is challenging, especially for associations. For-profits measure sales and leads generated by social media activities; however, those numbers may not be relevant to associations that have a very specific focus and target audience. “Return on engagement” and other similarly vague terms make the whole concept challenging, because engagement means different things to different people. But associations can and should measure some concrete numbers including traffic to website, conversions on traffic referred from
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social sites, ideas generated for new products and services, potential leads for new advertisers or sponsors, increased public awareness of the organization’s issues, and word-of-mouth buzz about the association’s events and resources.
There are so many social media platforms. How do you decide where your association should have an official presence?
A Public social media sites are free, so it’s tempting to just set up shop on all of them. But, the reality is that while setting up an account on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social networking site is free and takes only minutes, success comes from using these platforms strategically over the long haul. To reap the rewards of social media success, a significant amount of time investment is necessary. Creating content, monitoring and responding to questions and comments, and measuring results all take time and resources. And, the more platforms your organization is engaging on, the more time is necessary. Don’t think of social media as an item on a checklist—set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account and you’re done. Rather, see each as an opportunity for long-term engagement and results. Define who will be responsible for maintaining each account and ensure that person understands that success depends on daily content, moderation, and analysis. Research where your members are interacting or going for information, and focus your efforts on those platforms. Don’t worry as much about platforms that don’t fit your member demographics or have a lot of business value for your association.
Ideas, strategies, and solutions on the business of publishing