4 Social Media Mistakes of Associations

Conventions and trade shows provide an excellent opportunity for associations to increase member engagement, market to prospective members, and promote the organization’s goals in the local and global communities. Unfortunately, associations frequently make the following top 4 social media mistakes.

#1 Post Photos of Empty Chairs

Everyone’s eager to post pictures of their speakers and sessions. However, far too often, they post photos on Facebook of a meeting room with several empty seats. You intend to show the variety of speakers and the great sessions, but your picture shows a session that lacked interest.

Solution: Take the photo from an angle that shows a close-up of the speaker and slides. Or, find an angle of the room that reflects the most populated section of the session. There always seem to be “pockets” of people clustered together in a meeting room. Try taking the photo that captures that angle.

#2 Only Post the Fun Stuff

It’s human nature that we want to attract and communicate the “fun” that takes place at our conventions and trade shows. However, if we are only showing the “fun stuff,” we may be hurting future attendance. Frequently, attendees need to justify to their supervisors that their conferences provide educational and professional content and training. If your boss goes to the association’s or convention’s Facebook page and only sees pictures of tours, entertainment, restaurants, and local sites, they may view the conference as a boondoggle — an excuse for a company-paid vacation.

Solution: Use your smartphone and ask speakers, industry thought leaders, and influencers to take a “selfie” with you. Don’t forget to include comments with your photo that explains the context of the picture and the name of the person with whom you’re sharing the experience.

#3 Neglect to Include the Trade Show

Too often the trade shows are thought of as an income source for conferences. However, they can be an excellent way to promote your future meetings, and gain support for your organization’s goals. Rarely do conferences include their trade show vendors in their social media outlets, and this is a mistake. These vendors have a social media following, and if they’re participating in your conference, their audience is likely to be your audience (and potential for new members/attendees) as well.

Solution: Take a “selfie” with some of the vendors at the trade show. Selfies not only promote the product, but it demonstrates your full engagement in the whole event while keeping the vendors happy. (A happy vendor returns the next year, and your association needs that income.)

#4 Don’t Make Use of Video

Associations often post a lot of pictures on their Facebook page, but they neglect to include videos. Only posting photos limit the shareable content beyond current members. Industry research indicates that people tend to watch videos and share videos with others significantly more that photos.

Solution: Using your smartphone to capture a short video with a colleague, speaker, or industry leader, offers more shareable content on your organization’s social media platforms. Including video in your Facebook posts, and Twitter feeds allows others to feel a greater connection to your experience. Videos provide fantastic marketing content when you’re promoting next year’s conference. Photos tell a story, but the video gives a voice to the experience.

NOTE: Please review your association’s social media policy to ensure you are in compliance with its policy and guidelines.