It’s easy for an association to see social media “groups” as competition. In new member recruitment, for example, potential new members can (and often do) use the excuse that they get plenty of networking and interaction with various online social communities.
First of all, there are so many ways to answer that statement. It’s absolutely true that since its creation, the Internet is a very powerful tool for interaction, both personal and professional. But your association offers a deeper kind of connection. Online communication can certainly result in close connection, but an association facilitates hand shaking, eye contact, collaboration, and personal and professional development. And probably quicker than what would go down online.
But secondly, that potential member has a good point. So the bigger question is, “Why aren’t you using online social communities to promote your association?” Potential members, meaning qualified people who share genuine interests with your association and who will spend their spare time engaging in such topics. Make a profile for your association and join the conversation on social media!
Don’t see any groups out there? No LinkedIn groups, no Facebook groups, no Google+ communities? Make one!
Also consider Meetup groups. Don’t necessarily create a meetup group, but if you see a group already out there that syncs up with your association’s mission and whose events seem similar to your own, reach out! E-mail the planners and recommend an event your association is putting on, offer yourself or another expert in your association as a speaker or collaborator, or offer reduced membership fees.
The point is that your association and online communities shouldn’t compete for attention. They should be working together!