5 Associations Using Social Media the Right Way


an illustration of a computer with social media icons surrounding it

Are you among the many associations using social media effectively? Not sure what “effective” looks like? Social media is an important marketing tool, yet it can be tricky to gauge success—or even know where to start. Here’s some advice and a handful of examples of associations using social media the right way.

Why Associations Should Be Using Social Media

Social media platforms have been around for decades now, and there are no signs of them going away. Just as the world is constantly evolving and becoming more connected online, associations should be using social media to connect with their members—both current and prospective.

Posting on social media can keep current members up to date on association events and news, as well as give prospective members a look behind the curtain at your association’s work, benefits and culture. Social media platforms are also a good place to share your magazine or blog content. Altogether, these opportunities for meaningful interactions can help build relationships and create more involved members, as well as encourage fundraising.

Which Social Media Platforms Are Best for Associations?

According to Association Adviser’s 2021 Association Communications Benchmarking Report, 60% of associations said they saw the highest engagement on LinkedIn, with Facebook coming in a close second. However, there are no hard-and-fast rules about which social media platforms to use or avoid. Rather, what works for one association might not work for others, so it can take some experimenting to figure out the right platform(s) for your association. Instead of LinkedIn, for example, you may find that your members are most active on TikTok.

60% of associations said they saw the highest engagement on LinkedIn.

Third-party apps, like Hootsuite, can help you figure this out and keep your social posts organized and on time. These apps allow you to post on multiple platforms simultaneously. You can choose which platforms to include and exclude as you start to fine-tune your social strategy.

Examples of Associations Using Social Media Effectively

From having a regular presence to utilizing innovative tools, there are a variety of ways associations can be successful on social media. Here are five associations doing just that:

American Planning Association

Twitter handle: @APA_Planning

The American Planning Association (APA) has a robust social media presence, covering a variety of topics important to its members, from job opportunities to news in the industry. APA also has a podcast, People Behind the Plans, and uses audiograms (visual soundbites) on social media to tease new episodes.

Texas Aggregates & Concrete Association

LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/texas-aggregates-concrete-association/

While it doesn’t have the largest social media following—nor the largest staff—the Texas Aggregates & Concrete Association (TACA) strives to be a constant presence on social media. This association proves that even small organizations can have an impact on social media when they’re intentional with their strategy. TACA promotes events and competitions, news and updates, and even industry-related memes to stay engaged with its members.

screen shot of meme. a man sits alone on a bench looking sad. words around him read: when you're at a a party and no one wants to talk about concrete.

National Restaurant Association

Twitter handle: @WeRRestaurants

With almost 60,000 followers on Twitter, the National Restaurant Association reaches a large audience—and does so effectively with regular tweets that include eye-popping stock images, custom infographics and short animated videos. The National Restaurant Association also promotes its webinars and latest research with these images and videos.

National Association of REALTORS®

Instagram handle: @nardotrealtor

Associations may avoid Instagram, thinking that unless they have a dedicated photographer to produce stunning images, they won’t succeed. But with 285,000 followers, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is proving that text-based illustrations and infographics, as well as photo collages and short videos, can be just as successful. NAR promotes its expertise in the industry, events and member spotlights through these various images.

American Clean Power Association

Twitter handle: @USCleanPower

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) is another robust user of social media. It utilizes custom images, infographics and videos to create engaging feeds. ACP also frequently shares internal and external news articles and research, promotes its video series and retweets other organizations in the industry to keep members updated and connected.

The foundation of a good social media presence is a consistent posting schedule. Keep your posts organized and aligned with the rest of your content with a content calendar. Fill out the form below to download The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Content Calendar (plus FREE template).

Ultimate Content Calendar Guide

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