How Can Your Association Use Twitter?

By Don Cooper, The Sales Heretic™

Is your association on Twitter? If not, you’re missing out on a valuable communication tool that can help you stay in touch with your members more frequently, with minimal effort.

Twitter is a “micro-blogging” service that enables you to post messages (“tweets”) of up to 140 characters at a time. While that may not seem like a lot, it’s amazing how much information you can convey in such a limited format. And there’s no limit to the number of times you can post in a day.

What could you possibly communicate to your members via Twitter? Consider some or all of the following:

Event Announcements
You can never have too much publicity for an event. So post event information along with the link to your registration page. And one of the great things about Twitter is that you can post announcements for your events as often as you like. Even daily!

Event Reminders
Just because someone’s registered for an event, doesn’t mean they’ll remember to go. And many people wait until the last minute to register, which means they often forget entirely unless they’re reminded. So post Tweets like:
    • “Register now for next week’s . . .”
    • “Only 2 days left until . . .”
    • “Don’t forget—tomorrow is . . .”
    • “Today’s the day! Looking forward to seeing you at . . .”
    • “Our staff’s about to head over to . . .”

Event Cancellations
If you’re forced to cancel an event because of weather, low registration or any other reason, Twitter gives you one more way to alert people so they can change their plans.

Sponsor Information
The more publicity you can give a sponsor, the more valuable the sponsorship. Twitter enables you to post something about your event sponsors quickly, easily and—most importantly—frequently.

Association Staff News
Not only can you use Twitter to announce hirings and promotions, you can also provide updates on projects that various staff members are working on. This will give members a better idea (and a better appreciation) of what each staff person does.

Breaking Industry News
Your association is often among the first to learn of breaking news in your industry. Use Twitter to keep your members informed as well.

Member News
Every day your members have news to announce. They’ve won a contract, introduced a new product or service, hired a new employee, done some volunteer work, or any of a thousand other things. Report such news and you become an additional publicity outlet for your members.

Legislative Updates
If your association monitors legislative activity, whether at the local, state or federal level, provide updates on industry-related issues while the government is in session.

Member-Only Specials
Many associations have Member-to-Member discount programs. If yours does, use Twitter to post such deals on a regular basis. You help your members get more exposure and save more money.

Award Nominations and Winners
Use Twitter to announce the names of people and companies who have been nominated for awards. After the awards ceremony, post the names of the winners.

Contest Updates and Winners
Whenever you’re sponsoring any kind of a competition, provide regular updates on the progress of each of the competitors. Then, of course, Tweet the winners.

Fundraising Updates
If you conduct fundraising campaigns, either for your association or for another organization, post your goal, your campaign end date, and your daily and cumulative totals.

Trade Show Promotion
In the weeks and days leading up to your trade show, post Tweets regarding:
    • The number of available booths left
    • Information about your pre-show exhibitor training
    • Reasons to attend the show
    • Information about the exhibitors
    • Sponsor information
    • Date, time and location of the show
    • Seminars that will take place during the show
    • Post-show mixer details

Links to Member Web Sites
Every day, post the name of a member company, a short description of what they do and a link to their web site. If you have a larger membership, post two, three or even ten companies a day. This becomes a new member benefit, creating additional value for your members.

Links to Member Blogs
Many of your members now have blogs which provide valuable insights, ideas and information. Tweet a different link each day and you’ll serve both the blog writers and readers.

Links to Industry-Related Information
If, in your online wanderings, you happen to come across an article, blog, survey, study, interview or video you think would be valuable to your members, post a link to it.

Discount Codes
To encourage your members to follow you on Twitter, and to reward the members who do, you might periodically post exclusive discount codes that your followers can use when they register for an event or make a purchase. Or alternatively, post a link to a registration page with an exclusive Twitter-follower discount.

Announcements
New program? New member benefit? Directory deadline? Sponsorship opportunities? Volunteers needed for a project? Tweet it!

So if your association is not Twittering yet, go to www.twitter.com and register for your free account. You don’t need to be technologically savvy to set up your account and start Twittering.

Once you’re ready to go, e-mail an announcement to your members that your association is now on Twitter. Add the phrase “Follow us on Twitter at (web link)” to all your e-mails and post it on relevant pages of your web site. (By the way, you can follow me at http://twitter.com/DonCooper.)

Then start applying the above strategies to provide your members with valuable information on a daily basis. Your Twitter following will grow, your member satisfaction will increase and your event attendance will improve. All of which boosts your bottom line.

What are you waiting for?

© Don Cooper, The Sales Heretic™. 

Don Cooper—The Sales Heretic™—helps salespeople, business owners and professionals dramatically increase their sales. He conducts seminars, trains sales and customer service teams and speaks at annual meetings, conferences and conventions. Contact Don at 303-832-4248 or visit www.DonCooper.com for more articles, tips and tactics.

Don Cooper, The Sales Heretic™ 303-832-4248 E-mail Don