Social Media Content for Your Young Members
We all know that our young association members are the future of our community. And, we know that stimulating strong engagement from them is a must. What’s more, interacting with them on their preferred platforms is imperative to the success of your communication efforts.
Unfortunately, just showing up in the right places isn’t enough. You’ve got to craft content that is appealing to your young audience. So, how do you do that?
Well, there’s no simple answer. It’s not like there is some specific type of content that will guarantee the capturing of your young professionals’ interest. However, there are certain themes that (if integrated into your ongoing digital content strategy) will lend themselves to greater uptake and engagement on the whole. Provided below are some of the themes you’ll want to consider when crafting social media content aimed at young members.
- The content you craft for your social media platforms has to be honest. If what your young members are reading doesn’t ring true to their experience, or the content seems trumped up – you’ll be dead in the water. When it comes to social media platforms, people are conditioned to be in the mindset of automatic scepticism. Reason being, there’s no shortage of deceptive content found on social media. With so much misinformation out there, you need to craft your content to read patently true – without a shadow of a doubt. You should almost downplay certain aspects of your content just to ensure readers don’t have the opportunity to suggest or believe that something is embellished.
- Whatever industry you are crafting content for, chances are you’re not forging uncharted territory. Other organizations have most likely discussed the very same topic you plan to post about. Just saying that your association should only publish original content is much easier said than done. In a scenario where you can actually come up with a content idea that is genuinely new, you should definitely pounce on that opportunity. However, for the majority of the content you develop, others will have covered that topic before. But, not to worry. Just because you are following in someone else’s footsteps – doesn’t preclude you from being original with your content. The key to staying unique when discussing commonly touched upon topics is to keep the content focused squarely on your association’s community. While many associations and organizations are similar in a variety of ways, none will be identical. Your association’s specific experiences, environments, culture and people are distinctive. Drawing on those distinctions within your social media content will make it read like something new and exciting. So, instead of your young members becoming bored by something that reads like the same old, same old – your content will stand apart from all other offers in the space.
- Young professionals will gauge whether your association’s social media presence is relevant. They will take into consideration how frequently you post, whether your content is hitting on trending topics, and if you’re making use of the tools each platform provides to strengthen engagement. An example of a social media tool your association should be exploiting to stay relevant in the eyes of young members is “stories”. These brief clips that can be published to Instagram and Facebook allow you to connect with members in an expedited fashion and keep them up to date on the comings and goings of your association. A great time to draw on the “stories” function is, just prior to an event or conference, when the venue is being setup for the festivities. Producing this “throw-away” content will allow members to get a glimpse into what the association is doing right now. Young members will appreciate the ability to stay current.
- Young members want to consume content on social media that is lifestyle oriented. That is, content that represents the community your association offers. Members and prospects alike will enjoy following content that details the experience of being involved in your association. For example, showcasing association hosted events and initiatives will give readers an idea of what it’s like to participate in your community. Young professionals are proud of the groups they are a part of and appreciate content that accurately represents the experiences they enjoy.
- Make sure you incorporate video content, along with written content. While young members will read both short and long-form content, they’ll appreciate videos being mixed in there as well. Video allows the viewer to consume a large amount of content in a condensed period. What’s more, it doesn’t require as much commitment from the viewer. All they need to do is press play and sit back. However, make sure you don’t create videos that are too lengthy. No matter how good the content is, a video that asks for too much of the viewer’s time will be ignored. Visual learning is becoming more and more prevalent, so make sure you execute well on the videos you choose to publish on social media, so young members will engage with and derive value from them.
- The young professionals of today genuinely care about colleagues and contributors to the industry they are involved in. That being the case, they value when those people are shown gratitude in a public way. Showing appreciation to association representatives or members, whether in general or specifically, through your social media content will speak to your young members’ sensibilities. A great way to show general appreciation to the people that make up your association is to state how an event, or initiative, or successful outcome would not be possible without the representatives and members of your community. If you’d like to extend specific gratitude, you could institute a scheduled content strategy where every month (or quarter) you highlight someone in particular that is impacting the association (and industry) in a positive way. Broadcasting your association’s appreciation for its people will not only play into young members’ leanings, but will also inspire them to meaningfully contribute to the association and industry so they too may join the ranks of those being shown appreciation. What’s more, it just feels good to make others feel validated in their efforts.
- This one is just fundamental – the content you publish needs to be tailored for each social media platform. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn – they all have their own governing parameters and your content needs to be crafted to accommodate them. However, just customizing your content to be admissible to a particular social media platform is the bare minimum. If your social media content is going to be successful in engaging your young members, it also needs to speak the language of the respective platform it is published to. The way content reads on LinkedIn is very different to the way it does on Instagram. If your content isn’t fluent in the various tongues of social media, your association will seem tone-deaf and out of touch to potential readers. So, when you’re crafting content to be used on a particular social platform, make sure it sounds familiar to that audience.
- Some would argue there has never been a more socially conscious generation than the young professionals of today. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. Reality is, every generation believes themselves to be the ones who have it all figured out. So, you need to play to that. These days, the way young people follow and get involved in movements or causes is through social media. Many actually seek out a cause that they will take up as their own. Now, not every movement that comes along will be applicable to your association. However, when the opportunity arises, you should produce content that aligns with and references causes that match the core values of your association. Young professionals want to be made to feel that they are a part of organizations and communities that are socially aware and involved. When your association takes on a socially conscious initiative, share that endeavour publicly via your social media streams.
- Whether through YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, your association can host video “lives” when you want to directly engage with members and subscribers in real-time. Conducting a “live” session is actually a fantastic way to host Q&As. Young members want to get involved and feel more connected to your association – so, empower them to do that. Interacting with association representatives in real-time will make your community feel very accessible to members. This will result in greater buy-in.
There are many ways to engage with your young members – publishing appealing content on their preferred social media platforms being one of them. Whenever attempting to stimulate engagement with young professionals, the key is to place effort into speaking with them, not at them. Good communication doesn’t happen just because you know how to communicate this thing or that thing. It comes from packaging that communication in a way that can be easily consumed and ruminated upon.
While a social media content strategy is imperative to strong communication, none of it is worth anything without a community supporting those efforts. Establishing, maintaining and cultivating a healthy association community requires support. An AMS provides you with a good bit of the supportive components you’ll need. Guild’s association management system is the most comprehensive provider-supported solution on the market. If you’d like to learn more about what Guild offers, or would like to schedule a live demo, please click here.