In this article we revisit the pace at which associations and membership organisations are adopting/integrating online social media and establish if it can enhance online member value and engagement.
In 2013 the most popular online social media platform (based on usage) was Facebook with 72% of organisations having a presence. This was followed closely by Twitter and LinkedIn with 70% of organisations having a presence.
This year Twitter is the most popular platform (83%) followed by Facebook (76%) and LinkedIn (71%). YouTube continues to be popular and Google+ is starting to be adopted as a new platform.
– 95% of associations and membership bodies now have an online social media presence compared to 75% last year.
– The percentage of members engaging with associations and membership organisation via their social network/media channels remains constant at 10% for the second year.
Back in 2013 associations and membership organisations rated their online social presence at 5 out of 10. This year confidence levels have increased to 7 out of 10. Professional bodies reported a stronger presence consistent with the average. However, amongst trade associations, trade unions and regulatory bodies this was significantly lower (3 out of 10).
Over the past year online social media has moved from a separate entity to an integral part of many organisations’ web offerings. For example, there is a growing ability to ‘Share’ web content via online social media buttons. Whilst 41% of the sector confirms members can share information with other members via their website, the ability to share via online social media is yet to be determined.
Let’s take a look at how leading organisations are using the three most popular platforms:
Facebook – This platform is used by a growing number of membership organisations and associations to engage with younger potential and existing members, particularly with students. Visit the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) Facebook page to see how they are effectively engaging with members at the beginning of their professional journeys.
LinkedIn – This platform is used by a growing number of organisations to create online ‘Groups’. Some Groups are ‘Open’ to non-members and are used to market the benefits of membership whilst others are ‘Closed’, and are promoted as a specific member benefit. Visit the Law Society of England and Wales International Group to see how an effective open group is run.
Twitter – This online platform is used by ever increasing numbers of organisations and provides the opportunity to broadcast short pieces of information. Most organisations’ Tweets are targeted on a particular campaign, event or benefit. Recently many organisations have rationalised the number of accounts used, and are engaging with members via figurehead accounts. e.g. those of the CEO, Chair or President.
A Tangible Benefit – For the second consecutive year the sector agreed that online social media/networking is a member benefit (60%).
Helping Recruit and Retain Members – 47% believe (for the second consecutive year) that online social media helps to recruit new members.
Helping Recruit and Retain Members – 47% believe it helps to retain existing members (an increase of 3% since 2013).
The MemberWise Network can provide you with practical help and support to improve your membership organisation’s online social networking content provision and profile.
1) Optimising Member Engagement Through Social Media – Attend our popular interactive membership body specific training course. The course provides a detailed overview of established and emerging social media channels, right from mainstream platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn through to rich media networks such as YouTube and Instagram. We will equip you with the tools, skills and knowledge you need to determine the most appropriate and effective social media strategy for your membership organisation.
2) Harnessing the Web 2014 survey summary report – The results contained in this article are taken from this popular sector research summary report. You can access our full PDF version by joining the MemberWise Network (completely free-of charge). A link will be contained in your Welcome email. Our 20-page report (sponsored by ASI Europe) contains statistically significant results and covers critical online membership-focused topic areas including sector online goals/challenges, online member value, websites/CRM, the ‘mobile’ web, online social media and email marketing.
(c) MemberWise Network 2014