One of the things it seems that associations can be doing for their members is to assist their efforts in social media. I’m not necessarily talking about building campaigns for members, but getting them started and putting together some programs to get them going. After that, perhaps some ideas of campaigns that have worked for others.
I’ll give an example. On Facebook you can do a search for Ohio Villages, and you’ll find legitimate pages and Facebook template standard pages for lots and lots of villages in Ohio. Whether these are all the official villages in Ohio I cannot say, but I suspect the Ohio Municipal League would know.
Disclaimer: Our business has no relationship with the Ohio Municipal League, or any Ohio municipality. This is just an example.
Many of these villages have blank Facebook pages, such as Sherwood Village, Ohio, which actually has two of them.
Sherwood Village does not have an official government web site that I’ve seen. It’s outside of Cincinnati, according to City-Data.com, it has about 800 people that live there, and there’s no real place for local government to post information other than a commercial site that they don’t seem to control.
So why not Facebook? And why shouldn’t OML help them do it as a member benefit?
Some of the eyeballs are already there. The generic Facebook page for Sherwood Village has 3 likes already and it has nothing to it. It’s fairly easy for someone with some experience in setting up a Facebook page to help somebody else set one up.
Seems like it would be an appreciated benefit for members. And that’s just a start. Offering a menu of social media services to membership seems like something that would create a strong benefit for both members and associations AND strengthen the relationship between them.
It seems pretty clear how this can benefit the member from the start. For member organizations that do not have a web site, it provides them a presence to start from. For organizations that DO have a web site, it provides a place to link to that site, and clears one more page that references their organization with no way to get to official information.
And that’s just the beginning. There’s the link value for search engines, and the ability to coordinate Facebook campaigns if a large chunk of membership actively maintains a page, etc.
Some of these values hold true for the association as well. And with a little imagination, associations can scope out their own targeted strategies in coordinating their collective strength on Facebook. But helping their membership get there effectively needs to be considered as a building block to that strategy.