Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful marketing channels available. Why? Because it’s a process built on the testimonials of people we trust. Now if only we could find a way to generate more word-of-mouth marketing to help grow our brands…
Surprise, this capability is already at our fingertips! As an association marketing and communication executive, you have a unique advantage over most FMSG brands. Members view associations in the same way they view luxury brands – credible, desirable, worthwhile.
Put simply, people are happy to be associated with the right industry association. Your members tend to be proud of belonging to their professional community, and they are often willing to promote their accreditation in an effort to build their personal brand. The trick is to offer them a helping hand.
All you need to do is equip your members with user-friendly tools and educate them on ways to enhance their own profiles. In turn your brand will automatically reach a wider audience of relevant professionals. It’s that straightforward.
Here is a list of handy tools that are very easy to develop.
Post-nominals and Member Logo. While most of associations have post-nominals that members can add to their names, developing a visual Member Logo may also be a good idea. We live in a visual world where pictures say a thousand words, so promote your membership logo and encourage members to promote their credentials.
Tip. Ensure the Member Logo is easily accessible, educate your members on how to use it, and create practical templates, examples and policies. How can your members use the Member Logo? They can add it to their email signatures, websites, CVs, business cards, tender documents, commercial proposals and even stationary. You only need to create clear rules.
Special logos. You can also develop special logos for your own accreditation, certification and even separate courses. Don’t forget to include a special logo / email signature for winners of your awards program, as people are inclined to promote any important recognition they receive.
Useful text templates. Create some catchy copy that your members can easily include on their websites, tender documents and any other materials featuring promotion of their membership. For example, “As a member of AAA Association, in my practice I comply with the Industry Code of Professional Behaviour”. Integrate the copy in the Member Logo or simply explain your member where and how they can use it.
Comprehensive LinkedIn profiles. Yes, LinkedIn can sometimes be confusing, but nevertheless it’s the most effective social media platform for professional associations. Encourage your members to include information about their membership / accreditation to their LinkedIn profiles. Not only post-nominals, but also information with cross-links, so that people who don’t know your brand can quickly access your company page (assuming your association has a LinkedIn company page).
Examples of how professionals can promote their membership via LinedIn include:
- Add post-nominals to their name
- Add Member Logo to a profile Summary as a picture
- In the ‘Organisations’ section, write ‘YOUR ACCOCIATION 20XX – present’ to add your association logo on profile to link to your LinkedIn Company Page
- In the ‘Certifications’ section, your members can add not only certification courses, but also their professional membership level e.g. ‘Full Member’, ‘Accredited Member’, ‘Fellow’, etc.
EDUCATE YOUR MEMBERS
Perhaps you already have a Member Logo and other tools available, yet you’ve noticed they are not being frequently utilised. In many cases your members don’t know about this tool, or won’t share it with their peers, simply because they’ve never considered doing so. It’s up to you to change that mindset.
Remind your members about this clear opportunity to build their personal brand. At the end of the day it’s your responsibility to educate your members and help them enhance their careers. Your website, new member information packs and renewal emails should all feature clear instructions on how to promote membership. Get your staff and committee members to lead by example, encouraging all members to spread positive messages about your association.