By Nicole Millman-Falk, CAE
Click image to enlargeSpeaking about Social Media Principles were (from left to right): Robb Lee, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, American Society of Association Executives; Stephanie Fulgione, Graphic Designer and Social Media Manager, American Thoracic Society; and Jeannette Paladino, Founder of Write Speak Sell.
To create and deliver great content, no matter the medium you choose, the keys to an effective and integrated communications and marketing program are planning and having someone drive the effort, according to the speakers at NYSAE's January Marketing & Communications Institute.
- Branding: From Message Development to Visual Representation, presented by Jeannette Paladino, Founder of Write Speak Sell, and Carol Smith, President and Creative Director of Creative Source;
- Social Media Principles, presented by Stephanie Fulgione, Graphic Designer, American Thoracic Society, Robb Lee, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the American Society of Association Executives, and Paladino; and
- Creating the Best Content and Platform for Your Message, presented by Mack Burnett III, Founder of Powerful Impact Education and a Professor at New York University, and Lee.
Knowing the value of a member is the starting place, according to Burnett. "If you can't attached value to something, you don't know what a member is worth to you," he said. As an example, if you assume the value of a member is $100 and your association is going to spend $50,000 on a branding or marketing campaign, then you need to attract 500 members to make the campaign worth the effort. "ROI means getting your money back, not return on investment," he emphasized.
Everything is trackable today, so it should be easy to figure out your ROI, said Barnett. "ROI is not the creation of your content; it's not your social media channel. It's the strategic co-joining of all parts of your communication efforts." The goal of engagement, therefore, is to amplify your content to the right people on the right platform, to get your ROI.
Click image to enlargeMark Burnett III (left), Founder of Powerful Impact Education and NYU Professor, and Robb Lee, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, American Society of Association Executives, spoke at NYSAE’s Marketing & Communications Institute on “Creating the Best Content and Platform for Your Message.”
Today, social media platforms are essential for member engagement. "I grew up under the guise of ‘you control the brand; you control the message. It was hard to let that go and let others carry some of the conversation," said Lee.
He added that social media has allowed ASAE to have three-dimensional conversations with its members. "From a strategic standpoint, we have an episodic relationship with social media at particular conferences and events. We build a content calendar as we lead into each meeting. Instead of merely pushing an event in that space, we are sharing and participating in the exchange of information. So we might post: ‘if you're interested in xyz topic, have you read such and such book."
Lee also stressed the importance of picking the right platform for your audience. ASAE tried Google+ but felt it didn't work for its needs, for example, so it pulled back from efforts there.
Paladino advised using blogs as the centerpiece of any social media strategy. In addition to being able to distribute a blog through several platforms, blogs help you regularly update your website. "Google rewards dynamic websites and a weekly blog posting can help you stay on top. It also established you as an authority, and associations can archive their intellectual capital." Starting a blog, however, requires a major time commitment, so if you start one, you must make the effort to continue.
Fulgione noted that the American Thoracic Society uses Facebook to present general information to the public, while Twitter has become a more research-oriented vehicle for the professionals in the field. She offered tools for identifying who is participating in which your conversations.
Martin Hawksey has developed a way to explore the data generated by Twitter. To learn about your Facebook followers, you'll first need to find out your association's Facebook ID (Click on the About tab on your page; under Page Info in the left hand column, you can find your Facebook ID). Copy that ID to the end of: https://www.facebook.com/browse/page_fans/?page_id=
Smith and Paladino addressed tying your communication efforts together with the association's overall brand. Read more about their tips in their bylined article in this issue of InView.
Nicole Millman-Falk, CAE, is President of Millman-Falk Communications, LLC, providing strategic communication services for trade associations, professional societies, and donor-based organizations. In addition to her own company, she serves as Editor for Apogee Publications, which provides turnkey association newsletters, magazines, and membership directories. She is Editor of NYSAE's InView and is Chair of this year's Awards Committee. She can be reached at 201-652-1687; firstname.lastname@example.org; or through her website at www.millmanfalkcommunications.com.