Sarah Gazi, CAE
Which Social Media Platforms are Right for Your Association?
Most associations today have a social media presence, whether that be a minimalist Facebook business page or profiles on multiple sites. 90% of brands say social media has increased their exposure, so a social media plan is important for any organization interested in growth. Beyond Facebook, it can be difficult to decide which, if any, other platforms will be helpful for your association. Time, money, and resources are not infinite, so most small and medium associations need to evaluate each major platform, determine their target audiences, and plan their social media strategically.
Facebook is still the king of social media, with well over 2.85 billion active users each month. Associations pretty much have to have a Facebook page; people access them for hours of operation, contact information, customer service, coming events, program information, and news.
Facebook is constantly changing its algorithm, usually in ways that hurt the organic reach of associations. If you are willing to invest in Facebook ads and other forms of Facebook marketing, you can still be very successful on the platform to not only reach your current members but also attract prospective members or event participants.
All ages use Facebook, with a very slight majority being female.
You might think that Instagram isn’t right for your association, but Instagram’s platform of over one billion users makes it a great outlet to show, not tell. Instagram is extremely image- and video-centric so this is your organization’s opportunity to visually show your target audience what you are all about. You will have more visuals than you think if you take full advantage of what your association offers. Show clips of speakers, create digital ads, present photos of events, and have fun with it.
More than half of Instagram users are women, and nearly a third of users are in the prized 25-54 age range.
Industries such as journalism and entertainment are heavily represented among Twitter’s 350 million users. Using Twitter well requires a lot of interaction; you should tweet multiple times per day and comment and retweet to gain a following.
Twitter skews young, with more than 40% of users in the 18-29 age bracket. If your target audience is made of Millennials, or, even more so, of Gen Z, you need to be on Twitter.
With “only” 700 million monthly users, associations may overlook LinkedIn. Use it to generate prospects and join groups to network and to reach your target members and event attendees.
Like Instagram, most LinkedIn users are between the ages of 25-54, but men and women use the site in similar numbers.
Many associations see Pinterest as a wedding-planning or recipe curation site, but it is remarkably good at driving people to your website or your blog. Your association can use Pinterest to post educational resources and graphics, promote blog posts, statistics, and research your organization compiles, printable worksheets, tips and ideas.
Pinterest is the most female-centric platform, though men are starting to join in larger numbers. Most of its 478 million users are spread evenly from ages 18-64, and they tend to earn higher incomes than the users of most other platforms.
You might think of YouTube as a place to watch funny clips or to find videos to help you fix your dishwasher. However, with 2.3 billion users, YouTube is second only to Facebook in terms of its reach. If you can produce high-quality videos that show your members how to do something or how to solve a problem, you could make good use of YouTube.
YouTube’s age demographics are broad, with users spread out among all ages. It is the most male-skewing social media platform.
TikTok isn’t just for dance crazes and teenagers. Your association can also take advantage of the 1.1 billion users worldwide. While 62% of TikTok users in the US are aged between 10 and 29, this can still be an important demographic for associations. By creating short-form videos you can engage your members as well as the general public. Create short (under a minute) videos that show off the profession of your members or their industry, give tips and tricks related to your association’s field of expertise, and have fun with it and show your creative side.
TikTok videos can also be repurposed for other social media sites getting you more miles out of your content.