10 Tips to Get Started On Social Media

Recently, I did a Google search for a business I’d heard about on the radio on my way into work. The first result was not their website: It was their Facebook page, followed by their Twitter profile. Social media has permeated our personal and professional lives, and associations can leverage the power of social media platforms to relay their message, engage members, and find new supporters. But how to get started?


  1. Social media has reached a certain level of importance in the mainstream, and a comprehensive marketing strategy is now expected to include social media outlets. So, consider it a continuation – and extension – of your existing marketing efforts. If you don’t have many marketing efforts, then social media is a great place to start because it’s cost-efficient and has the possibility to reach people you may not have been able to reach otherwise. That being said, don’t think your association needs to be on every social media channel just because you think you should. Choose the channel(s) where you think most members and prospective members would want to connect.
  2. Use your messaging statements – mission, vision, tagline, etc. – as the basis for your social media strategy, and make sure everything that’s posted, tweeted, shared, or linked to supports them. This is a good place to start because these statements should also set you apart from competitors; they’re what make your association unique.
  3. Decide on your management team. Who will be responsible for managing what goes onto your association’s social media profiles? If you have chapters or events, will you need the input from people outside the staff? Some companies prefer to have one person act as a funnel for managing and distributing content, while others might have multiple managers.
  4. Set guidelines and policies. In addition to who manages the social media profiles and how, guidelines and policies need to be put in place to help guide managers – and the association as a whole. Include what type of content is acceptable and not acceptable. Decide on your association’s “voice.” This is especially important if you have more than one manager posting content. Basically, how do you want your association’s “personality” to come across?


  1. Be open to showing your association’s “true colors.” Social media is personal, so let people come to know your association. In other words, show your association’s culture, because your social media presence will reflect it. For executive directors and office staff, this is by knowing the members. This will help everyone – members, the public – to connect with your association on a more personal level.
  2. Tell how your association is fulfilling its messaging statements. Walk the walk. Show how your association is working toward its goals and provides value to members as well as to the public. What good is coming out of your association? In what ways?
  3. Decide how to present content. The Internet gives unlimited options to tell your story: videos, infographics, blogs, images, and even just plain written copy! Switch it up – and see what drives the most engagement.
  4. Find other sources of content. Identify ahead of time reputable sources that generate content that would be useful for your association or of interest to members. Think of it as forwarding an email or cutting out a newspaper article. Make sure to include your own comments on outside content so that it has that personal spin. Check these sources often to stay up to date on trends.


  1. Tie your social media channels to everything else you produce or do as an association. Help drive members and prospective members to your social media profiles and pages by adding icons into literature, mailings, sponsorships, ads, e-mail signatures, e-mail newsletters, etc. Let people know your association is accessible. Someone may not visit right away – some might! – but it’s important for people to see that you are on social media. Think about the last time you thought about joining something or wanted to learn more about a business or service. Your research probably included social media.
  2. Focus on engagement. Social media goes both ways. Your association will push out content, and there will be people who respond, whether it’s something they’ve seen elsewhere and want to share or a direct comment to a post. “Like” new photos or comments, follow recent followers, respond to direct questions or messages, etc., all in a timely and professional way. This will keep your profiles and pages fresh and show that your association is committed to developing relationships.

Social media has reached a turning point – it has become part of the basis on which others judge us and an association’s relevancy. Simply put, participation in social media may not measurably help you, but failure to do so can hurt you because you will be viewed as out of touch and locked into the past.

Your association’s social media channels are integral for connecting with your members and giving them a chance to engage with you directly, as well as vitally important for the general public to learn what your association is all about.

About VP Demand Creation Services

VP Demand Creation Services is a world-class provider of marketing execution services, delivering speed, effectiveness, and knowledge to our clients nationwide. With an extraordinary array of marketing tools and technologies—inbound and outbound—we apply equal parts science and creativity to help our clients generate demand for their services. For more information, contact Wes Sovis, Manager of Marketing, at 231-946-7770 x 3057.