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Report on social media 04 - 26 - 2013


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Report on social media 04 - 26 - 2013

  1. 1. Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013
  2. 2. OfficesBrusselsAvenue Jules Bordet 142,B - 1140 Brussels, BelgiumPhone: +32 2 761 16 00Fax: +32 2 761 16 99E-mail: awestgeest@kelleneurope.comNew York355 Lexington Avenue15th FloorNew York, NY 10017Phone: +1 212 297-2122Fax: +1 212 370-9047E-mail: rvasami@kellencompany.comWashington D.C.National Press Building529 14th Street, NWSuite 750Washington, DC 20045Phone: +1 202 591-2438Fax: +1 202 223-9741E-mail: rcristol@kellencompany.comAtlanta1100 Johnson Ferry RoadSuite 300Atlanta, GA 30342Phone: +1 404 252-3663Fax: +1 404 252-0774E-mail: rlemieux@kellencompany.comBeijing11/F, R.1177, Block AGateway PlazaNo.18 XiaguangliNorth Road, East Third RingChaoyang DistrictBeijing, 100027 ChinaPhone: +86 10 59231096Fax: +86 10 59231090E-mail: sbasart@kellencompany.comChicago1833 Centre Point CircleSuite 123Naperville, IL 60563Phone: +1 630-696-4000Fax: +1 630-544-5055E-mail: pfarrey@kellencompany.comiiSocial Media for AssociationsStatus Report
  3. 3. iiiSocial Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comContentsAbout the ReportForeword.......................................................................................................................................... 1Kellen Europe and Kellen Company.............................................................................................2Social Media and AssociationsIntroduction....................................................................................................................................3Results of Online Survey...............................................................................................................5Status Report 2013........................................................................................................................ 1110 Steps to Successful Social Media for Associations............................................................. 17Acknowledgements....................................................................................................18
  4. 4. 11Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comAbout the ReportForewordAs a leader in association management and strategic advice worldwide, Kellen Europe seeks tokeep its clients on the leading edge of new technologies, opportunities and tactics. Social mediahas proliferated quickly across all levels of society around the world, with businesses increasinglyincorporating it into their activities. Social media is not a temporary trend, it is a new method ofcommunication, which will not go away — hence associations cannot afford to ignore it!Associations have different governance and decision making structurescompared to corporations, and association communication also requiresa tailored approach. Kellen Europe therefore engaged the research firmComRes to conduct a benchmark survey of social media use and influencein European associations. The results of this online survey indicate thatassociations are implementing social media programmes, but may stillbe challenged to develop effective strategies and to measure resultsagainst goals. Facebook is perceived to have the greatest potential fornegative impact on organisations, whilst Twitter is viewed as the platformwith the greatest potential for positive influence and perhaps for that reason, is the most popularsocial media vehicle. Communication Directors from 10 European associations active in a variety ofindustries discussed the key findings of the survey in two focus groups run by Kellen Europe.Finally, Kellen added recommendations based on its extensive experience with associations andexpertise in communications; resulting in this 2013 Status Report, which focuses on four main areas:strategy & governance, social media channels or technologies, measurement of social media efforts,and trends.With this Report we tackle the new opportunities and challenges that many associations facewhen engaging with social media. We plan to conduct this research on a yearly basis to showcasehow associations are adopting social media, as well as to provide trends and insights on this fastmoving area.I would like to thank all individuals who took the online survey in collaboration with ComRes andassociation executives that took time to contribute to our focus groups. A very special thanks goesto the authors of this Report Nele Devolder and Dani Kolb; and advisor Joan Cear in New York.We look forward to discuss the Report and its findings with you! Alfons WestgeestManaging Partner, Kellen EuropeGroup Vice President, Kellen CompanyTwitter is viewedas the platformwith the greatestpotential forpositive influence
  5. 5. Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.com2About the ReportKellen CompanyKellen Europe is the European office of the Kellen Company, a professional services firm that hasbeen a trusted advisor to the association industry for almost 50 years. We provide consulting,management, marketing communications and other professional services to more than 80regional, national, international and global trade associations and professional societies. Ourstaff of 200 association professionals operates from our offices in Atlanta, Brussels, Beijing,Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC. Kellen Company is a charter-accredited associationmanagement company by the Association Management Company Institute.Kellen EuropeOverthepast25yearsKellenEuropehasgatheredconsiderableexpertisethatenablesittorapidlyanticipate the needs of emerging or existing associations and to provide tailored organisationalsolutions. These solutions are designed to ensure that our clients hold the position they shouldwithin the association environment. In the current climate, more than ever before, it is essentialthat associations remain relevant. Through strategic advice and management services we worktoward ensuring that our client associations remain relevant, forward looking and add value totheir membership. The Europe-based Kellen team includes 20 experienced professionals witha variety of complementary backgrounds, industry knowledge and skills, each of whom hasextensive experience in the management and representation of national, European and globalassociations and is competent in at least three European languages.OFFICE Representationwashington DCBrusselsNew DehliBeijingjapanSingaporebahrainNew YorkChicagoAtlanta
  6. 6. 3Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comSocial Media and AssociationsIntroductionBefore we dive into the specifics of social media in relation to associations, let’s clarify theterm social media.Defining Social MediaFacebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest; these are the words you hearwhen people talk about social media, so one could easily think that social media is all aboutFacebook, Twitter, etc. But it is not! These are only tools and channels; the software andtechnology.Social media is more expansively “what people do with the technology, the software, thetools and channels: sharing pictures and video, writing product reviews, collecting content,connecting with old friends, sharing with new friends, collaborating in the workplace. Socialmedia is a collective term that describes the means of communicating and engaging withpeople.”1Throughout this Report this is the definition of social media we will use.Social Media and AssociationsSocial media has changed the way people communicate and how they connect with others.The numbers speak for themselves: in March 2013 Facebook had 1.06 billion active monthlyusers including 680 million mobile users, more than 50 million pages and 10 million apps.YouTube now has more than a billion unique users every single month and Twitter has 500million total users, with more than 200 million active users.2These are just a few statistics todemonstrate the reach of social media, and some data will be already outdated when youread this Report. Social media is a trend that has increased dramatically over the years, andit’s clear it won’t be disappearing overnight!Some association executives question theeffectiveness of using social media for theirorganisation, by saying that social media is “justsomething for young people”, or is not relevantfor their membership. But the fact that thefastest growing demographics on Facebookand other social networking sites are individualsover the age of 50 clearly demonstrates thatthis is a false assumption3. Today, social media is part of everyday life and associationscannot afford to shy away and miss this trend by assuming it does not apply to them.1Holloman “The Social Media MBA“ 2012.2 “The Social Media MBA“ 2012.Fastest growing demographicson Facebook and othersocial networking sites areindividuals over the age of 50
  7. 7. 4Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comSocial Media and AssociationsMost importantly, association executives should see the full potential of social media: notonly can it be used to communicate with members, but also with other stakeholders suchas policy makers, other associations and the wider public in general. Social media canstrengthen communication with these target audiences, enabling association executives toshare positions on relevant topics, follow debates that are important for their sector, andengage with different communities.MethodologyWith this Report we want to give an insight into how associations are currently using socialmedia. We begin by providing the results from the online survey undertaken in cooperationwith ComRes. In total, 123 association executives from different industries answered. In ad-dition Kellen Europe conducted two focus groups with in total 10 communication directorsfrom different industries and with different levels of social media engagement. Based on thefeedback from these focus groups and our expertise in house, we prepared a Status Report2013 and highlight the findings with regard to governance and strategy, channels, measure-ment and trends & focus. Based on this analysis, we then derive a set of 10 recommendationsassociations should follow when thinking about developing their own social media strategy.
  8. 8. 5Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comResults of the Online SurveyIn February 2013 ComRes, on behalf of Kellen Europe, conducted an online survey amongstassociation executives in Europe to better understand how associations are currentlyusing social media. In total, 123 people responded to the survey, and the key findings aresummarised below.Responsibility of Managing Social Media ActivitiesThe results show that almost half of all respondents say that the person responsible formanaging social media activities is a communications manager. Just 17% say that the staffmember with departmental responsibility (i.e. Public Affairs, Meetings Management) isresponsible, while 11% say that a dedicated social media manager is responsible.Time Dedicated to Social Media ActivitiesThe vast majority of respondents (88%) say that the dedicated person in their organisationspends 10 hours or fewer on social media activity each week. Just 9% say that the dedicatedperson spends more than 10 hours.Social Media and Associations49%14%8%2%17%11%Communications managerStaff member with departmental responsibilityDedicated social media managerAssistant (office manager, intern)OtherDon’t know21%48%19%7% 2%2%0% More than 40 hours per weekLess than one hour per week1-5 hours per week6-10 hours per week11-20 hours per week21-40 hours per weekDon’t know
  9. 9. Results6Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comReasons to Use Social MediaRespondents say that their organisation was most likely to use social media to communicateand engage with site users (67%), or to gather information (60%).Few respondents (11%) say that their organisation uses social media for crisis communications,while a similar proportion (12%) say that their organisation’s social media activities have nospecific objective.Social Media Channels UsedThe majority of respondents say that theirorganisation has an account with either Twitter(76%), Facebook (59%) or LinkedIn (59%). Onlya third of all respondents (33%) say that theirorganisation has a blog.01020304050607080 76%59%59%37%3% 8%NONEOFTHEABOVETWITTER FACEBOOK LINKEDIN YOUTUBE PINTEREST01020304050607080 76%59%59%37%3% 8%NONEOFTHEABOVETWITTER FACEBOOK LINKEDIN YOUTUBE PINTEREST67%12%11%60%44%28%46%Communication and engagement with site usersInformation gatheringInfluencing key opinion formers through theirsocial media accountsTo take part in the online debate on specific issuesRecruitment of new members for your organisationCrisis communicationWe have no specific objectiveSocial Media and Associations
  10. 10. 7Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comSocial Media and AssociationsFrequency of Content Update and Response to CommunicationOut of the social media channels we tested, organisations are most likely to frequentlypost new content or respond to communications on Facebook (69%) or Twitter (66%).Organisations are most likely to actively use Twitter on a daily basis (24%).Organisations are most likely to actively use Twitter on a daily basisMore frequently than once a day 21% 24% 5% 10% 2%Less than once a day but more than once a week 49% 41% 35% 29% 11%Less than once a week but more than once a month 19% 19% 43% 28% 24%Less than once a month 6% 9% 18% 26% 63%Frequently 69% 66% 40% 39% 13%Infrequently 25% 28% 60% 54% 87%Never 6% 6% 0% 7% 0%01020304050607080 76%59%59%37%3% 8%NONEOFTHEABOVETWITTER FACEBOOK LINKEDIN YOUTUBE PINTEREST01020304050607080 76%59%59%37%3% 8%NONEOFTHEABOVETWITTER FACEBOOK LINKEDIN YOUTUBE PINTEREST01020304050607080 76%59%59%37%3% 8%NONEOFTHEABOVETWITTER FACEBOOK LINKEDIN YOUTUBE PINTEREST01020304050607080 76%59%59%37%3% 8%NONEOFTHEABOVETWITTER FACEBOOK LINKEDIN YOUTUBE PINTEREST05101520253005101520253026%23%FACEBOOK BLOGS28TW
  11. 11. Results8Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comImpact of Social MediaRespondents are most likely to say that Facebook (26%) is the social media platform thathas the potential to have the greatest negative impact on their organisation. This is closelyfollowed by blogs (23%).Respondents are most likely to say that Twitter (28%) is the social media platform thathas the potential to have the greatest positive impact on their organisation. This is closelyfollowed by LinkedIn (24%).Social Media and Associations051015202530LINKEDIN05101520253026%23%FACEBOOK BLOGS28%24%TWITTER051015202530LINKEDIN6%23%BOOK BLOGS28%24%TWITTERNegative Impact Positive ImpactFacebook is most likely to be perceived as the platform withthe greatest potential for negative impact, whereas Twitter isconsidered to have the greatest potential for positive influence
  12. 12. 9Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comMeasurement of Social Media ImpactTwo in five respondents (41%) say that their organisation measures its social media efforts,while (51%) half say that their organisation does not measure its impact. A small proportionof respondents (7%) says that they do not know.The amount of fans or followers that an organisation has (73%) is seen as the most commonform of measuring the impact of its social media efforts. Around half of respondents saythat their organisation measures the impact of its social media efforts by the responsefrom a target audience (53%), or through the analysis of comments made by social mediausers (47%). Few (14%) say that they conduct social listening research by an independentcompany.Social Media and Associations73%14%10%53%47%Amount of followers or fansResponse from target audience (e.g. to theannouncement of specific events or press releases)Analysis of comments made by other social media usersSocial listening research by an independent companyOther51%41%7%Organisation does not measure the impact of itssocial media effortsOrganisation measures the impact of its socialmedia effortsRespondents do not know if the organisationmeasures the impact of its social media efforts
  13. 13. 10Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comSocial Media’s Contribution to Achieve Business ObjectivesCertain respondents indicated that they do not consider their organisation’s social mediaefforts to have been particularly helpful in achieving their own business objectives in thelast 12 months. Just 18% say that they consider their organisation’s social media activity tobe effective, while more than a quarter (29%) say that it is ineffective in meeting theirbusiness goals.On a scale from 1 (not at all effective) to 5 (very effective) respondents are most likely togive their organisation’s social media activities a score of ‘3’ out of ‘5’ (34%), suggesting thatits activities have been neither effective nor ineffective.Value of Social Media ActivitiesRespondents believe that there is a value in theirorganisation’s social media activities. More than half ofrespondents (56%) say that the amount of resourcestheir organisation invests in social media is worthwhile,while just 4% say that it is not worthwhile.However, three in ten (31%) say that it is too soon to tellif the resource that they invest is worthwhile or not.Social Media and AssociationsMore than half ofrespondents (56%)say that the amountof resources theirorganisation invests insocial media is worthwhile1 = Not at all effective 8%2 21%3 34%4 14%5 = Very effective 4%Don’t know 19%Ineffective 29%Effective 18%Just 18% say thatthey consider theirorganisation’s socialmedia activity tobe effective
  14. 14. 11Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comStatus Report 2013Kellen Europe organized two focus groups with communication directors from 10 Europeantrade associations. The main results of the online survey served as a starting point forthe discussion and then the communications directors shared their experiences, practicalconsiderations and recommendations. The key findings of the focus groups combined withour expertise in communications are summarized below.How to fit social media in the association’s strategy and governance?Any association that wants to use social media for its internal or external communicationsneeds to take a few initial but essential steps before “going live” and may start by asking:“Why do we want to use social media and what do we want to achieve?”Clear objectives, a concrete strategy and implementationplan and tangible goals will make it easier to getthe association leadership onboard. In setting yourobjectives, outline a sound strategy that fits in with theoverall association mission. Draft a clear implementationplan that includes defined measurements and ensure thatthe necessary resources for execution of the strategyare available. Resources will include staff time, which formost associations surveyed was ten hours per week or less, and internal or external socialmedia monitoring tools and metrics. Aligning social media goals with measurable outcomesshould be a key factor in your strategy.Before embarking on a social media program, establish a clear policy that all involved inrepresenting the association online can act upon. This will ensure trust and a mandate towork independently, without having to seek approval from the association leadership. Clearguidelines, including anti-trust rules, will guarantee clarity for all involved.Be prepared: make sure that you have clear guidelines on the content that you want to shareand establish a link between the communications people and the policy advisors within yourorganisation to ensure that all social media activities support the political message you wantto send. Consider who will be the voice and social media gatekeeper for the association.Define the core messages you seek to communicate and those issues of concern that must behandled with care. As your organisation prepares its social media strategy, it is important toknow exactly how each channel works, not only in terms of technology but also to ensure thatyou have a good understanding of the environment and atmosphere, which can vary fromone channel to another. To ensure that you are comfortable and well acquainted with each ofthe specific channels, it is useful to explore them with a personal account first. You may alsowant to scope out how member companies or other associations are using social media.Social Media and AssociationsAligning social mediagoals with measurableoutcomes should be a keyfactor in your strategy
  15. 15. 12Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comWhich type of social media channel should be used for each type of communication?The leading mainstream social networking channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitterand blogs, are well known and widely used by associations in their communication activitiesand outreach to members, stakeholders and the general public. However, it is clear thatassociations are well aware of the fact that they need to select the right channel to get theirmessage to the audience they want to reach.Overall, associations are very active on Twitterbecause that is the platform where the debateis going on “live” and where key discussionstake place. For many associations, Twitter alsoserves as an excellent “early warning system”about issues of concern and a source ofinformation and a valuable data stream: If youfollow the right people and ask questions, you will get answers from experts in the field andget directed to other relevant channels with more relevant information.Associations use Twitter to generate traffic to other, more text heavy sources of informationsuch as the association’s website or blog by tweeting about topics they are covering. Yourorganisation can become an influencer by investing time to engage and take part in thedebate with stakeholders, ally associations, journalists, academia and anyone that plays arole in the field.In general, Facebook works very well for a Business-to-Customer (B2C) environment, not forthe Business-to-Business (B2B) environment in which most trade associations are operating.This, however, will be different for professional societies or for trade associations that targetthe end consumer. Facebook also works very well for specific events or as part of a largeradvocacy campaign and whenever the association needs to reach out to the general public.Associations and blogging: is it worth the investment? Indeed,blogging for associations requires a strong commitment andinvestment in terms of human resources. Associations should know,however, that they do not have to blog all by themselves. You mayengage academia or journalists to ghost write blog articles or to postoccasional guest blogs to supplement your own content. Severalassociations also try to engage members to commit to write blogposts, however this tactic can prove challenging for two reasons:members may present a point-of-view that infringes on an association’s desire to maintainneutrality and objectivity, and chasing members and editing their contributions can be verytime consuming.Blogging forassociationsrequires a strongcommitmentTwitter also serves as anexcellent “early warning system”about issues of concernSocial Media and Associations
  16. 16. 13Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comNevertheless, an association blog is a constant flow of information toward members andthe overall community in which your association is operating. The association blog couldserve as an excellent platform to provide more in-depth information to support your socialmedia content, press releases and industry news and is the perfect vehicle to position yourassociation and its executives as industry thought leaders.LinkedIn can be very effective in reaching a targeted B2B community and many associationsuse LinkedIn profiles and groups for specific purposes such as member engagement,member recruitment and events. It is an easy tool to engage with the key people operatingin the association’s industry or field, and has proven its value for reaching to the widercommunity and starting a debate. If your goal is to establish a LinkedIn group, it should benoted that it is not possible to directly recruit LinkedIn members to join a group. One tacticsuggested by our social media strategists within the Kellen Communications division is firstestablishing a LinkedIn profile for your organisation so that you can reach out and make anumber of connections within your industry or related areas. Once you have an establishedgroup of connections, then create a group and recommend to your connections that theyjoin your group. One of the benefits of a LinkedIn group over other social media platforms isthat you can still keep the group “locked” for members only. This requires you to review andapprove new group members which helps to assure that incompatible individuals — such asthose seeking to sell goods or services to your members — cannot join the group. groupscan also be set up so that new posts must be approved by the LinkedIn group administratorbefore they become live, ensuring that the content associated with your group is in keepingwith the association’s mission and values.Social media experts agree that dialogue onany of the channels — from Twitter to Facebookto LinkedIn — should be authentic. This relatesto not only your own association’s posts, butthose of fans, followers or connections. Sowhile your association may wish to avoid “hottopics” and controversy, rather than deletingthose type of remarks from Facebook or LinkedIn, view them as an opportunity to educate,express your association’s position or disseminate factual information. Constant monitoringand prompt response are key to effective message management.The use of video has gained significant importance in the different fields of communicationsin general over the past years. European trade associations have understood this growingimportance and are making use of the tool for specific purposes such as event reporting,short messaging on the association’s website and as part of advocacy campaigns. Althoughit is proven that video is extremely effective, most associations currently use it only as asupport tool to get their messages across. In combination with Twitter or Facebook, linkingto the association’s YouTube channel or website, video can be very effective.Social Media and AssociationsDialogue on any of the channels— from Twitter to Facebook toLinkedIn — should be authentic
  17. 17. 14Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comInconclusion,itisclearthatnotallchannelswork for each form of communicationor for every association. Try to assesswhat works for your association and theaudience you want to reach out to, orwhere you want to get your informationfrom. Social media channels should notbe used for the sake of using them, butshould act as a means of support for anyform of communication your associationundertakes, and have defined objectives. All of the above tools and channels should interactwith each other. An integrated approach across social media channels and traditional mediavehicles will help to generate more traffic to all communication tools used, which will increasevisibility and ensure omni-presence of your association’s message.Finally, content quality and consistency are essential. Make sure your message is clearand that you update posts and engage frequently with followers, no matter which tools youare using.How should social media efforts be measured?For the majority of associations, the assessment of their activities on social media is doneon a quantitative basis. The easiest and first step is often: “how many followers, likes, andviews do we have?” This step is easy to grasp and cost effective, with the information readilyavailable on each of the specific tools. However this is very limited quantitative information,which doesn’t give any qualitative context on the profile of your support base, and theirreasons for following, liking or viewing your association’s account, page or posts.Taking it a step further, some associations evaluate their presence on social media byanalysing their followers (mainly on Twitter), as well as the amount of re-tweets and sharesthe posted information receives, especially from influential followers such as a Member ofthe European Parliament. Finally, an increasing number of associations are subscribing toonline and paying monitoring tools that measure their social impact, track activity aroundtheir posts, and make comparative analyses in the industry or sector in which their associationis active.The more qualitative way of measuring, in combination with quantitative figures andcomparisons with ally associations are powerful tools to demonstrate the effectiveness andneed to use social media to an association’s leadership — who often focus on the question:“Why do we need social media and more specifically, what is the return on investment (ROI)for the efforts we spent in social media?”However, we might want to take a different approach and ask whether too much attentionis given to the need to measure an association’s social media efforts.Social media channels should notbe used for the sake of using them,but should act as means of supportfor any form of communicationyour association undertakesSocial Media and Associations
  18. 18. 15Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comAssociation staff often need to justify the efforts and investments put into their social mediaoutreach more than investments made through other channels of communication. Whencompared to other tools and channels associations use in their communication plan, such asevents, it is equally difficult to collect qualitative results. Although the number of attendeescan be checked along with their feedback on the event, it is difficult to know whether it wasable to bring added value to the community or had direct influence on policy makers.The same is true for advertising; unless advertising efforts are part of a membershiprecruitment campaign, you can’t really assess the direct value of these efforts. Associationsneed to consider social media as a fully accepted and integrated part of the overallcommunication strategy and budget; thereby putting it on the same level as tools that havebeen used for years without their ROI being continually questioned.How to keep on top of new trends and technologies?Social media is becoming more and more complex and new technologies and applicationsare being launched on a regular basis. How can associations stay abreast of these latesttechnologies, new tools and channels and how to make sure to pick the right channel for theassociation’s message and audience?Be alert, well informed, test and evaluate! Assess new technologies or channels by tryingthem out for a certain period. Analyze the efforts made, the investments done and theobjectives to be reached and decide on whether to continue or not.An association should not follow blindly what is available on the market but make use ofwhat is relevant for them and what works for the association and the environment in whichthey operate. A good example is the photo sharing platform Instagram, which, according surpassed Twitter in terms of mobile web traffic in 2012 and currently hasmore than 80 million users and a very committed audience. However, hardly any Europeantrade association is using it, because it doesn’t fit with their environment and activitiesunless used for specific campaigns with a visual purpose. Social media activity is not allabout the largest number of possible users or potential outreach. Associations need to knowtheir audience, adapt to what channels work for them and most importantly, recognise whatinformation their audience is looking for or is of interest to them — content is essential!How to stay up-to-date on the latest in social media? Use social media! Visit expert blogs,podcasts, follow the right individuals on Twitter and engage with LinkedIn groups to learnfrom experiences and exchange best practices with peers. The people in your associationstaff that are responsible for social media obviously need to have the right skills and have agenuine interest in the subject. Some associations will take this also into account when hiringnew people outside of the communications department, and would engage for instance apolicy advisor with strong communication skills who can combine and maximise from beingknowledgeable on the policy topic and being able to get the message across by using allrelevant social media channels.Social Media and Associations
  19. 19. 16Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comWhat about traditional media? Will social media replace some traditional forms ofcommunication? Most likely yes in cases where communication becomes more effective anda bigger outreach can be reached more easily: several associations already use applicationssuch as ‘What’s app’ to communicate with members, while press releases are being replacedby blog posts that are linked with other technologies such as Twitter, which allows anassociation to reach a broader audience in a faster and more efficient way and with lessresources. Now, only one piece of information needs to be created, and then adapted to thetype of channels it is sent through.In today’s fast moving environment it is essential to get people’s attention and to communicatein a clear and focused manner. Video is an excellent tool: summarise your key message ina video not longer than two minutes and direct people to your website or blog for morespecific and in-depth information. Same with Twitter: put the essentials of your messagein 140 characters and connect with people via LinkedIn, e-mail, or website; all the whilegenerating traffic to all other channels on which your organisation is represented.Our advice is to try new technologies and assess them for a while, and only continueinvestment in what works for your association and its specific audience.ConclusionSocial media is not a “one-size-fits-all” communications tool for associations. Associationsshould take the time to analyze what they want to achieve through social media and thenselect the channels that will help them to best reach those goals. Associations should alsoassess where social media fits into their portfolio of communications initiatives. For example,organisations that seek to use social media to drive individuals to their website, shouldconsider first, whether their website makes a positive first impression.Social media is dynamic; constantly changing, expanding or contracting, growing louderor softer based upon the engagement not only of the community manager, but also of theparticipants. And, like a garden, you cannot just plant a seed on Twitter or Facebook andhope that it will grow, you must cultivate it.Finally, social media may not be the right solution for every application. Other electroniccommunications such as email, text messaging or webinars might be better solutions forspecific needs. And let us not forget the impact and effectiveness of a phone call, an in-person meeting or a personal letter. Today there are more options for communicating thanever before and surely, there are others that have yet to be discovered.Social Media and Associations
  20. 20. 17Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.com1Ten Steps to Successful Social Media for Associations2103498765Clearly define your association’sobjectives for using social mediaOutline a social media strategy that fits in withyour association’s overall strategySet out clear guidelines and policies for the use ofsocial media within your associationPick the right channels and get acquainted with themBe transparent and ready to reactMandate and trust those responsible forsocial media in your associationProvide meaningful contentBe clear, focused and adapt yourmessage to the channelsMonitor and measure your effort through bothquantitative and qualitative toolsDive into it — explore, evaluate and continue investmentonly in channels that work for your association!Social Media and Associations
  21. 21. 18Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comAcknowledgementsWe would like to thank the individuals, who kindly took the time to provide their views andinput by participating in our Focus Group meetings.Alexandrine Gauvin, Communications Officer, AmCham EUBénédicte Blondel, Communications Manager, IAB EuropeCatherine Piana, Director General, European Vending AssociationColin MacKay, Communications Director (interim), Cosmetics EuropeFlorence Ranson, Head of Communications, European Banking FederationLisa McCooey, Deputy Director General/Director of Communications, Food Drink EuropeMagali Merindol, Marketing & Events Manager, Digital EuropePatricia Mobbs, Communications Manager, APEALThierry Dieu, Director for Communications and Public Policy, ETNOThomas Lindemans, Communications Manager, EUCOMED
  22. 22. 19Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comAcknowledgementsAbout the AuthorsNele Devolder, is responsible for Kellen Europe’s external relations andmarketing activities. She works on communication and strategic adviceprojects for associations in different industries. Nele has over 10 years ofexperienceinthemanagementofEuropeanandinternationaltradeassociationsand professional societies, specifically in the field of healthcare.Dani Kolb, Manager Kellen Europe, is responsible for the communicationactivities of associations from various industries and professions. This includesdefining the overall communication strategy, choosing the right channels andoverseeing the implementation of the communication activities. Dani has 10years of experience working in Brussels with European and Internationalassociationsandmorespecificallyimplementingadvocacyandcommunicationscampaigns for them.About the AdvisorJoan Cear, Vice President Kellen Communications, New York, develops andoversees the implementation of integrated marketing communicationsprograms for associations, not-for-profit organisations and corporate clients.This includes proactive initiatives designed to support clients’ strategic goalsas well as issues management and crisis communications programs. She alsosupervises the company’s Washington, DC public affairs group, KellenAdams.Joan has 25 years of public relations experience, has served on the boards ofseveral not-for-profit organisations and is a former journalist.
  23. 23. 20Social Media for AssociationsStatus Report 2013www.kelleneurope.comWe would also like to thank Comres for supporting the productionof this ReportAbout ComResComRes is a leading market and opinion research agency with a specialism in conductingreputation, public policy and communications research. ComRes runs the Europoll™ omni-bus panel of MEPs which is the largest commercially available survey of MEPs as well as anomnibus survey of wider stakeholders in Brussels.ComRes also offers bespoke quantitative and qualitative research amongst difficult toreach EU stakeholders as well as research among legislators and the public in individualEU countries.ComRes’s clients include high profile corporate companies, charities, trade associations,NGOs, international organisations and national governments.ComRes opinion research is used by clients to shed light on the reputation of individualorganisations and industries as well as to understand the opinion landscape on key policyissues of interest to the client.This information can be utilised to inform clients’ communications and public affairs strate-gies and evaluate the success of communications activity. Our research is also often usedexternally to provide the content for events and publications which demonstrate an under-standing of opinion among key stakeholders.ComRes follows the ICC/ESOMAR Code on Market and Social Research.Contact usAbout ComresComRes BrusselsRond Point Schuman 6 Box 51040 BruxellesT +32 (0)2 234 63 82F +32 (0)2 234 79 LondonFour MillbankLondon SW1P 3JAT +44 (0)20 7340 9634F +44 (0)20 7340
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