Let’s be honest and cut to the chase – Social Media is not “free”. If you disagree let me save you time and suggest you skip the remainder of this post. I’m about to discuss ways I believe Associations can invest their time for maximize value for their Members through blogs.
A couple of weeks ago, I came across a post titled “Why are America’s fastest-growing
companies killing their blogs?”. In his post (based on a study performed by the UMass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research), author Mark Schaefer, insightfully identifies variations in the sampling and other factors from the report which results in the inability to draw a concrete conclusion that Fortune 500 companies are in fact, killing their blogs.
This post bothered me.
It bothered me because we are seeing many of our Association clients experience great benefits from Social Media, the most successful of these use a blog as the primary mechanism to “feed” their networks.
I studied the post some more. Heck, I got so into it, I even read the original report.
Additional study allowed me to see where the companies who are blogging considered it the most “successful” Social Media platform for the fourth consecutive year. Additionally, of those companies who are not currently blogging, 62 percent are considering adding a blog to their efforts.
I finally came to believe that while the data appears to reflect a 13% decline in the use of blogs by America’s fastest growing companies – the “killing” is more natural selection than a downward death knell for blogs in fast growing companies.
Blogs remain important, and if applied correctly can become an opportunity for Associations to deliver a great deal of value to their Members.
Almost simultaneously I came across Summify’s great Sharepocalypse infographic. The volume of information we will be required to process is not diminishing – in fact it is growing in non-linear proportions.
This is a problem – a big one. And I believe big problems create big opportunities.
We all know Social Networks are built mostly on the principles of trust and value. You read the information I write because you trust I am giving you the straight goods, and you value what I have to say. I support this relationship by taking those principles seriously with the hope of attracting more readers – people who value what I have to say. It works, and it works well.
Are Associations missing the boat?
It is part of my job to look at and study many Association websites and glean what I can from their Social activities. The SSU team is pretty good at identifying patterns employed by the Associations we review and while we have a lot more to understand, we have noticed many Associations are struggling with Social Media and creating an engaged Network.
We see them typically using Social Media as an advertising mechanism to promote events and fundraising activities; point in time references without any real benefit – more billboards than the highway.
I believe Non Profit Associations should blog; vehemently. Blog with the purpose to make the lives of your current Members easier; give them a reasonable way to put off their personal Sharepocalypse and your networks will grow. Not in gushing avalanche style – but slowly and surely you’ll develop a strong and engaged audience. When they trust you will bring them more wheat and less chaff – when they respect the opinions you present, or the discussion you encourage, they will be there.
To get you started, I suggest an immersion in the information which is creating a Sharepocalypse for your Members. What information is flying at them so rapidly it is hard to keep up (it’s going to be hard for you as well – this approach isn’t for the timid)? Take their “common” perspective and generate a worthwhile summary / position on the topic and give that to them. Write your blog posts and watch what happens. Keep doing it and they will come – if you are the beacon of light in the storm of information, how can they not?
You are already investing in Social Media, developing networks and working hard to deliver the anticipated ROI for your Association. Late nights, so much Starbucks you get a signed Christmas card from Howard Schultz. I suggest investing in the development of truly value add information delivered via quality blog posts as a big opportunity to deliver more value to your Members.
How ‘bout you – have you made this transformation? Wondering if you should “kill” your blog? Let me know what’s up – drop a comment below.