How to strike the right sentiment through social media and other marketing content right now

By Elaina Hundley

In an unprecedented moment such as this one, it’s hard to know quite how to appropriately engage members, vendors and the general public. Whether you’re evaluating content for your social media channels or rethinking the marketing campaigns you’d planned for the year, it may be difficult to come up with the right words to say. When sharing a message, you want to come off as magnanimous and supportive, rather than simply another organization trying to sell something. So what are some ways to keep engaging with your audience without striking an unsavory sentiment?

Open Up Your Community

According to this article from Higher Logic, many associations are opening up members-only communities to any industry professional with free trials. This move encourages engagement and gives you a chance to showcase just how valuable the communities you offer actually are.

The article goes on to describe this example: “The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) already had a plan in the works to allow non-members to sign up for a trial of their community, ASPE Connect, but relaxed some requirements to make it easier due to COVID-19. Since launching that initiative on April 6, they’ve already seen 30 non-members and previous members sign up. In addition, they’ve seen a 51% increase in total logins when comparing February to March.”

Share Vital Information

Donate Your Social Channel

If you happen to follow Coca Cola on Instagram, you may have noticed something a little different recently. The company briefly “donated” its social media channel to organizations like the Red Cross to help spread useful information to its large following. While Coca Cola is most certainly not an association, they’ve provided a great example of how to use the network you’ve created for the greater good. Whether you are representing a large trade or a more niche one, sharing vital information that your members and partners can use will leave a positive impression. And coordinating with a charitable organization or advocacy group in your industry is yet another way to build on existing and create new relationships.

Share Up-To-Date AND Easy-To-Access Resources

Work within your industry to gather resources that may directly affect your membership base, and share them widely across your website, email lists and social channels. The National Retail Federation has done a great job keeping its members and partners informed and providing useful tools for retailers looking to reopen. Its “Operation Open Doors” resource round-up takes center stage on its homepage and offers a mix of public and members-only content, all of which is easy to access.

Don’t Guess The Needs Of Your Audience

When creating and promoting content among your members and other partners, think about what is really helpful and needed right now. Allow your audience to weigh-in by sending out a survey or keeping a call for questions and content they’d like to see at the bottom of everything you post in the next few months. From guided meditation to the best places to get a new desk for working at home, professionals and service providers of all industries are facing new needs right now—and are more likely to engage with content that helps address them. So survey your readers, talk to your colleagues and think critically about the type of marketing and content you want to be sending out right now. Think: what resources have proven most valuable to you during this time?

Say Something With Your Actions

You might not need to send an email or post on social media to get a message across. Companies that are laying off all their employees, not offering benefits (and are large enough to do so) and ones that are resisting the stay-at-home orders or putting their workers in danger are actively sending an unsavory message to all potential customers. By doing your best to care for your employees or spending time figuring out exactly what your organization can do to help, you can actually show (and not just tell) that you prize public health over profit. This is an ideal sentiment.

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