As social media becomes more popular and the number of users on each platform increases, it’s essential you understand the social strategies to implement in your own association. To help you keep up with the trends to follow in 2018, we’re taking note from a recent article published by Kissmetrics, a marketing automation platform.

Start early, start now

Like mentioned above, trends are constantly changing. To stay ahead of the game, research top trends (like you are now!) and implement them as soon as you can. “…Getting in early allows you to harness its power without too much competition or noise. Write something off as “just” a trend, and you may be late to the party of the year,” (Kissmetrics). If you’re not convinced social media is a must in your strategy, you are far behind. The number of users on social is constantly growing. See what other companies are saying about their success with social.

Credit: The State of Social 2018

Regardless of what category you fall into, realizing that your members are using social media for an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes a day should be reason enough to fit social into 2018’s strategy.

Listen and engage

Everyone and your mother is on social media these days. It’s not enough to just be on social media. You must listen, participate, and engage your ideal members online. Niel Patel of Kissmetrics also emphasizes the importance of responding to your audience. Even if it’s a negative comment like a customer service complaint. “60% of consumers that post a complaint on social media expect a response in less than 60 minutes. You’ve got one hour to notice and respond. And if you don’t, 88% of them are unlikely to buy from you again or recommend you to friends and family,” (Patel).

Live stream and video

According to HubSpot, video marketing isn’t losing any steam in 2018. In fact, it’s only growing faster. Whether it’s online streaming, learning videos, etc., average users spend at least 1.5 hours watching videos each day. Why the sudden increase in popularity? Video content is easy to consume. Even a 30-second clip can be enough to convince consumers to purchase a product, join a group, or, in your case, apply for an association membership.

Want to get your association’s information in front of more people? Create a compelling video that your members will want to share on their social networks. See how the Animal Humane Society uses “a day in the life” to recruit new members to their team. Who wouldn’t want to work with furry friends all day?

In terms of live video, consider this stat…

80% prefer watching a live video from a brand than reading a blog post, and 82% prefer live video over any other type of social media post – Patel

Live videos enable you to show prospective members what things are like behind the scenes, at an event, day to day at the office and more.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has also been on the rise for the past few years. While some say this market has had it’s heyday, there’s actually a lot of evidence that influencer marketing will be a popular channel for years to come. While your association may not use influencers in the traditional method, we can apply the same strategy using your members as the influencer.

Establishing a successful social media strategy takes trial and error. The industry is constantly changing – just when you think you’ve got it, Instagram changes their algorithm, Facebook’s releases new feed rules, times to post shift to lunchtime versus morning, or Snapchat steady decline in popularity.

Social media isn’t going away. Instead of stressing about the changes, do your research, listen to your members and test strategies until you’ve got it just right.