What works in the private sector doesn’t always apply in the trade association world, so we made sure one of the sessions at last week’s Buzz2009 focused specifically on how practitioners are pioneering social media programs at their associations. The panel, moderated by SmartBrief’s Rob Birgfeld, focused on how leaders at four organizations are using social media to deepen their connections to existing members — and find new ones.
Here are a few key lessons we picked up from the experts at that session:
- Don’t assume exclusive networks are better. Jill Cook, of the American School Counselor Association, said ASCA decided not to close off their private network, ASCA Scene, to members only. Why? If people are interested enough to join in, she said, why discourage them?
- Not every tool will work equally well for every association. Rob’s quick poll of the panel on which tool had generated the most tangible results for their association yielded a mix: Twitter: 1, LinkedIn: 2, Groupsite: 1.
- Make your case with numbers. Marguerite Murer Tortorello of the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America used data to sell senior executives on social media at her relatively conservative organization.
- Encourage your members to create and share content. Brian Pratz, product manager at IEEE, talked about the engineering group’s successful 125th anniversary video project, Gold Around the World. Volunteers can be a great source of ideas and labor, he said.