Politics and Puppies: Is It Time to Redefine Your Chapter’s Use of Social Media?

Updated: Apr. 6, 2020  |  Categories: Member Communications  

Politics and Puppies:  Is It Time to Redefine Your Chapter’s Use of Social Media

You promised yourself you’d only spend five minutes on Facebook this morning, but you look up 25 minutes later and wonder what you’ve been doing, where the time has gone, and why you’re so agitated.

Is your feed filled with tons of political posts and pictures of puppies, putting you into a coma and causing endlessly scrolling, or sending your blood pressure skyrocketing? So many of us, and probably many of your members, are in the same place, unable to control their scrolling to stop at those more important posts that really need their attention.   

Social media and your communication strategy

How big of a role does social media play in your chapter’s overall communication strategy? Are you relying heavily on public social media sites to disseminate and collect information and engaging your members and prospects?

If so, that might explain why you’re not getting the responses to your posts that you expected.

Sandwiched between all of that noise, are your chapter posts. The importance and visibility of those posts are seriously diluted, which means they don’t lead to the discussions you want and don’t deliver the impact you expected. With all that competes for your members’ attention on social media, much of it real, but also much of it fake or over-the-top sensationalized, many in your audience don’t believe, trust, or invest much time into what they read on social media.

 As a result of that disinterest and distrust, more people are turning to specialized online forums for their news and information. A study of American social media users validated Americans growing preference for online forums over mainstream social media:  74 percent of their respondents think Facebook and Twitter are losing their integrity.

Knowing your social media posts may not get the exposure and therefore, the response, you’re looking for, consider incorporating industry-specific or members only forums into your communications plan.

Balance your use of social media with specialized forums

Eighty eight percent of those survey respondents belong to online discussion communities and 80 percent place a higher value and trust on what they see in specialized forums. They also find the content in industry-specific forums more believable and honest than what’s on general social media.

Want to post a question that will lead to a robust discussion, like a discussion of how changes in industry regulations could affect your members? Or, do you want a significant response, like answering the call for volunteers for your next event? Post those needs in these sites your members are turning to in place of public social media.

However, you may be tempted to shift to a strategy that completely ignores public social media channels. Public social media still has relevance and its place in your chapter. It can be highly effective for more general communications, like promoting your next meeting, listing your member benefits, and sharing member’s stories that help drive more people to join. Use your members only forum for your higher-level, more intense discussions where you’re asking for people to share ideas and identify resources, like potential speakers or sponsors, or delivering particulars about your upcoming board election.

Making the shift will help your audience begin to see the increased importance of your posts, as you strategize and separate your content from the fake news and puppies. Though some of those puppies really are the cutest you’ve seen in ages, right?


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