Trade associations are gaining a stronger presence across the board on social media. Each platform provides a unique opportunity to reach different audiences that are made up of members, consumers, industry professionals, and general admirers of your brand. Before developing a social media strategy, use this 5-item checklist when auditing your association’s accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to set a baseline, plus it will provide a broader look at where you stand and where you should go from here.
- Post Frequency/Shares: Count the number of posts and shares currently on the trade association’s page by month. Note if the posting is consistent month-to-month and even week-to-week. The best practice for post frequency is different per platform. Review Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram separately and only compare within each platform. For most trade associations, there should be more content on LinkedIn and Twitter than Facebook and Instagram, but that can and should be adjusted to your audience and goal for certain campaigns and content categories.
- Current and High-Quality Profile Images: The media assets that represent your association are very important, and the quality conveys more than the art itself. Both the profile image and cover/background image (or video on Facebook) should be clear, sized properly, and recognizable. If your images don’t currently meet those standards, consider reworking your logo or minimizing the amount of detail to simplify the profile image without losing your branding.
- Balance of Diverse Content: Each platform is suited for distinct audiences. Since Facebook fans are looking for different content than LinkedIn followers, review your past posts to ensure that the images and messages have the right intention. The content should be diverse and balanced, but don’t draw too hard of a line. Sprinkle in a little lighter content on LinkedIn and Twitter here and there to create a more robust presence. While LinkedIn users are professionals, they’re still people and will enjoy a fun human-interest piece, such as a charity partnership or employee event.
- Quality of Content and Media Assets: As mentioned previously, quality is key. In addition to profile images, the copy and media assets in the posts need to be top-notch. Everything you post is a reflection of your trade association’s professionalism, culture, and mission. Images and videos should be properly sized for each platform and of the highest quality to avoid pixelation. Take a look at your previous posts and analyze if the quality matches the level to which your trade association wants to display. This also goes for the copy, but more particularly the tone. It’s okay to play around with testing different tones per platform to see what resonates best with your audience. Notice patterns in posted content from previous months to see if there are obvious patterns, then build your future content with those takeaways in mind.
- Number of Followers: Although the size of your audience is important, it’s essential that you’re reaching the right people. Note the number of followers your page has gained month-to-month. Now, take a look at the amount of engagement your posts receive. The ratio of followers to engagement isn’t an exact science, but it’s a good indicator of whether you’re on the right track with putting out engaging content that relates to your fans.
Once you’ve completed auditing your trade association’s accounts, use this same checklist to review pages of like-minded brands, competitors, and accounts that you admire. Pull out any comparison that matches and use the results to help drive your social media strategy.
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