As a small staff association you probably have a bittersweet relationship with time. Between attending to members’ needs, and that of the association, the items on your to-do list multiply like rabbits.
The first step to regaining your day is to find technology that makes your life easier and the second is to magnify your reach. This is not about farming social media out to a consultant. To find true success in social media, grow your association’s network of social media ambassadors, members who share your content and sing your praises.
There are two ways of creating ambassadors – organically and through asking.
Cultivating Social Media Ambassadors Organically
An organic social media ambassadors group takes time and a lot of the following:
If you want members to sing your praises you must sing theirs. Take some time to share their posts or congratulate them on their achievements. Be specific in your compliments and share them in multiple ways. If your members feel you care about them, they’ll want to return the favor.
Give them something to share and ask them to
We’re all busy. Giving your members sound bites to tweet or asking them to check out your Facebook page and share it with their network is more likely to inspire action on their part than just having social media icons on your website or in your email signature.
Acknowledge every share and comment. If your members feel their posts are appreciated by you, they will share more often.
Creating a Formal Social Media Ambassadors Program
This is a faster way to get your social media program in place but since it’s something people volunteer for or you select, getting your members to share more often can be tricky. In addition to the tips above approach engaged, members who are active on social media and ask them to be a part of this group. You’ll also need to:
Fuel ambassador excitement
Give your ambassadors something in return. Whether you offer discounts to events for people who will blog and tweet about them, or you give them exclusive access to content or registration of sell-out events before anyone else, make it worth their while. Give them stickers for their badges at conference. Host a tweet up just for them. People love to unlock bonuses through activity. Make this group feel special. Let others see that you do and they’ll want to join.
Empower your ambassadors
You want them to share more content so you can get your message to a larger audience. Asking them to do this means relinquishing your fear that they will say something inappropriate or respond (seemingly) on your behalf in a way you disagree with. While setting up some parameters and expectations is a good idea, don’t squelch this group’s enthusiasm with a 500-page social media handbook full of don’ts. Share your mission – perhaps: engage and recruit more members through social media, give them the tools they need and step back.
Social media ambassadors are important not just because they get your message to a larger audience but because their shares are viewed as more authentic, not membership drive materials. A member’s excitement over your association and its programs is infectious and it will do wonders for your recruitment efforts. People want to be a part of groups that have meaning in the lives of others.
What are you doing to ensure people know about your greatness?