Fleeting Content, Fleeting Value for Associations

Snapchat was only the beginning. Facebook and its holdings have all added versions of filters, lenses, and stickers to their offerings. Each offers expiring content that disappears after 24 hours. These additions are engaging, timely ways to keep users on platforms longer. But are they relevant for associations and nonprofits?

In the rush to “reach our members (or potential members) where they are” there has been a healthy amount of experimentation by associations to up their “accessible” or “cool” factor by investing resources – time and money – into building out these expanded social media channel offerings.

Trying on the latest technology for size can be fun and invigorating for staff and volunteers— and there’s a lot to be said for internal enthusiasm.

However, for associations looking for meaningful, sustainable growth creating fleeting content in an effort to drive member prospect engagement requires a lot of lift. Yes, there are recommendations to capture and repurpose that disappearing content onto other channels… but isn’t that missing the point?

Simply stating that “young people” are using these ephemeral channels does not a strategy make.  Growing membership through novelty attractions is tactical. If your organization can identify and directly connect with quantifiable member prospects, then, by all means, start streaming, chatting, and filtering your mighty association hearts out.

Gary Vaynerchuk, social media expert of Crush It fame characterized the use of the latest social media trends as, “Get in, get your ROI, and get out.”

He finds the real value in the quality of content, “The biggest thing people don’t understand is that quality content is so important to marketing to anyone under the age of 40 right now. Anyone in that demographic discovers a business for the first time by either: (A) Google searching or (B) finding their content on social media. If you are not crushing it and focusing on the content that you put out on the most important social platforms, you’re going to become mute and obsolete in the modern day of doing business. That’s why organic reach is so important …”

Quality content.

Yes, that means let’s think about how we derive more value from smarter platform use that features worthwhile content. Posting the occasional article or flooding your followers’ feeds will not drive the community engagement your association is seeking. Creating a logical cadence for publishing content to your current and prospective members is important.

Consider how your association leverages member only content now. If that content is rich and well developed, your social content that draws your members in and keeps them engaged needs to be as well. There’s a pretty straight line between finding the social/free content valuable and perceiving that the member only access will be as or more valuable.

There’s no denying that video is dominating and will continue to dominate across platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. How can video work for your organization?

The capacity to produce video at a wide range of price points has greatly improved in the last few years between camera and editing technology. Short produced clips may be well within your reach with a small investment in resources. In the end, it’s the quality of the content that matters most and the production value needs to be strong enough to not distract from that value.

Without adaptation, associations risk losing their relevance, so the instinct for new outreach opportunities are spot on. So go crazy and try on that new sunglasses filter at your next annual meeting, just remember to vest your real energy in creating content that matters to your members.

Todd VonDeak is the president and founder of TVD Associates, Inc. He has nearly 20 years’ experience working in the association and nonprofit areas in a variety of leadership roles. He holds a Certified Association Executive Credential from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and serves as the current president of the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives. He is a member of the Drexel University business school faculty and is currently completing his doctoral studies.