Friday, 2 December 2011

Associations could benefit by getting on the social media bandwagon

Last night, I attended the AGM for one of my associations Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC) and spoke with a few board members, Glenn Yonemitsu and Lianti Müller, on social media and the importance of this medium for our longevity.  I offered some suggestions and volunteered to help provide advice on how CMC can leverage social media.  I have some experience helping associations; in the past I was on the recruitment and communications committees for the Human Resources Professional Association and most recently GoodYear Toastmasters.  (GYTM) Like most successful initiatives, I could not have done this alone.  I want to thank  board members of GYTM Promod Sharma and Jonathan Holowka for their support, expertise, and giving me a chance to update our Toastmaster's Twitter account @gytm81.   You may ask yourself why associations need to leverage social media.  The benefits for getting on the social media bandwagon are:  promoting the group, recruiting new members, exposure to a larger audience, announce events, showcase and engage members.

I know that social media can be intimidating and there are many platforms available but once you get onboard and practice your skills it becomes less daunting.  I have listened to a number of webinars, tried social media for myself and for my clients and have learned some skills by listening to experts.  Listed below are some valuable takeaways on leveraging social media properly for:  yourself, your business and associations.

1. Have a Plan

Your first stepping stone should be to have a plan on what your social media campaign will look like, who is your audience and who is going to manage this process.  I recommend using project management methodologies by considering scope of the project, timelines, costs and resources.

2. Social Media Etiquette
There are many faux pas that are done on social media. One of the main faux pas is not catering to your audience's needs.  Social media allows great exposure but it is not all about you.  You need to provide value to your audience by sharing information and giving accolades to other individuals' contributions.  (Examples of accolades are the links listed in this blog, and by adding other blogs to mine.)  I recommend you research other social media pet peeves via the web, twitter, friends, co-workers and family  -- these are lessons learned on the social media journey.
3. Give, Give, Give and Then Give Some More
I can not emphasize enough on the importance of sharing important content information, giving accolades to others, and giving your time to improve social media.  I had a very interesting conversation with Allan Wilson at last night's event on how social media reminds him of the 60's revolution.  Allan provided some insights of the 60s on how collaborative it was - it was a time of sharing communication.  I agree with Allan, social media has created a revolution on how we communicate and share ideas.  Associations can add enormous value by sharing information through social media platforms.
4. Understand Personal Branding
There are many personal branding gurus and I have learned from these experts that you have to be authentic in your message.  Your postings on Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. all need to reflect the same message and it has to be a 'true' reflection of who you are -  the 'real you'.  I found  William Arruda resonated for me and I hope that one day I can be as successful in my delivery as Shirley Williams.  Associations need to portray what they are, what they represent, and the benefits they provide to members.
5. Be Concise and Consistent
Another important tip that a social media expert, Promod Sharma, provided was to be concise with my delivery and be consistent.  Consistency does not mean tweeting 100 messages a day.  Rather you could post one tweet per hour or a blog per week.  You cannot start social media on a regular basis and then drop off the planet by not posting due to:  vacation, new job, etc.  You have to be committed and stay on course.  If you do not heed this rule then followers will think you are not genuine and lose interest very quickly.
6. Time Management Skills
These skill can not be underestimated; they apply to work, personal but also social media.  You will need to decide what is appropriate for your audience, manageable for you and your schedule.  I found it helpful to add timelines on my iPhone calendar as it synchronizes with my iPad and MacBookPro. [I am not being endorsed by Apple - just love their products.] I found the below website useful to determine when is the best time to reach out to your targeted audience.
7. Research - Stay Current
Get your research hat on as you are going on a whirlwind expedition to learn tips and tricks for using social media tools.  You need to stay current with all the available platforms, new technology devices, and popular websites.  Valuable sources of information are:  your local news, blogs, twitter, tv, websites such as and attending social media networking events including Word 11 impact99.
8. Measure Success
There are many tools available to track your success on social media.  You will need to ask yourself what you consider success; increase hits (numbers), number of comments, valuable suggestions, people tweeting your website/blog, thumbs-up/Like/1+.   One tool that I find easy to use and measure is Klout but there is also Google Analytics.  Some tools are free and others have a cost such as HootSuite.

I would suggest that, without delay, you jump on the bandwagon with:  a plan in mind, share information, give accolades, stay current and measure your success. Trust me, you will find it is fun -- this is an exciting new journey and times we live in.

I hope you find this useful and any suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated.  Kindly sign up to get my blog by email and connect to the RSS feed. Both are located on the right.



  1. Really good points Anita!
    Thank you for the mention too :)

  2. Good speaking with you Anita, great content. Allan.