By Emily Francis, Association Administrator, Women in Government Relations (WGR)
Everyone needs to get back to basics every once and awhile, and that’s what I did by reading Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes, where Handley explores just about every way you could be marketing your organization, and how to do it with better writing. I was most interested in what Handley had to say about email marketing, but another thing I really wanted some advice on was social media.
Social media: every organization has it, but we don’t always give it the attention it deserves. Handley goes into depth about the three heavy hitters of social for organizations: Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Below are some of the more applicable pieces of advice for an association.
1. “Don’t pitch slap” – This means try not to make everything you write a pitch or a sale. Be aware of the voice your brand has, and don’t overshadow it with adding your organization’s pitch to the end of every tweet. Because you know what kind of voice you have when everything you say is a pitch? Car salesman voice. Stick with your own – I know you’re better than that.
Sarah P. just completed WGR’s leadership training program “Getting to Know Yourself,” and she’s ready to take herself OUT! #loveyourself
Notice I didn’t end that with a “REGISTER HERE (link)”. That’s because you can give your reader a break and just have personality sprinkled in with your promotions.
Note that this advice means you might have to think through your Twitter plan a little more than five minutes before you post. #thinkbeforeyoutweet
2. Use twitter as a content-idea generator. I love this explanation used in the book by author David Meerman Scott: “I use what I call a ‘writing ladder’. If a tweet resonates – it gets a bunch of RTs and @ replies – then I consider it a good blog post fodder. If a blog resonates, I’ll explore it with a riff in a speech and maybe another blog post or two. If a series of posts on the same topic resonates, that’s my next book.”
Basically, let your twitter-verse do the work for you. Write more about what your audience wants to hear! This is also a good thing to remember for the next time it’s Friday at 4pm and you just remembered that you have to schedule all the tweets for next week by the end of the day.
1. Post when your audience is online. Don’t know when your audience is online? Check your Facebook analytics, but also, FRIDAYS: “Facebook users engage with brands more on Fridays than on other days of the week, according to a recent report from Adobe that looked at 260 billion Facebook ad impressions and 226 billion Facebook post impressions from the first quarter of 2014. Some 15.7 percent of all impressions in the quarter occurred on a Friday – the most of any day. Thursday had the second highest share of impressions (14.5 percent), and Sunday had the lowest share (13.4).”
2. Post with pictures for the highest engagement, and use this size, ideally: 800 x 600 pixels.
3. Even though Facebook has a post-character limit of 63,206 characters, please, PLEASE do not use even close to that. Handley advises that limiting posts to 100-140 characters is actually the ideal length. And if you aren’t convinced, read this.
1. This is where you prove you are a thought leader. Our girl Ann says of Linkedin, “If Twitter is where you go to meet people you don’t know and Facebook is where you got to talk with people you do know, then Linkedin is where all of you can meet up to get stuff done.”
Thought leader is a great buzzword, but what does it mean? It means that you are actively sharing relevant content that is helpful and tied back to what your organization is doing or provides to people. Check out what your members are up to and share their news. If you worked so hard on that salary survey white paper, this is where you should be posting it.
2. As far as your organization’s profile goes: “use active language.”
No: Responsible for conducting program evaluations
Instead: Increased program retention rate by 30% over 2 years
In addition to using the active voice in both of these sentences (as opposed to the passive voice), the difference is also that the generic “responsible for VERB” was traded out for definitive proof. With numbers. Maybe stats isn’t your forte, but for these little bullet points, they are worth it. You want as much of your impact to come across as possible in the fewest words. Numbers help with that. Dig out your annual report if you have to.
All Handley’s tips on social come down to this: social may be easy to consume, but it’s not easy to produce. It takes just as much planning as email marketing, or any other type of marketing campaign. But it’s all worth it when your members are engaging with your content, sharing and creating new ideas!
Image: Unsplash / William Iven