When it comes to making a change in your district, the most powerful tool you have is your community. The ways in which you can mobilize your community has evolved with the introduction of the internet and social media, but many of the traditional methods still remain useful.
Trade associations, like everyone else, have made the move to the digital world. Recruitment, education, events, donations, and industry news are all now shared online through their websites and social media accounts. Many members register through the association’s website and rely on this website for the latest news and updates regarding the association and the industry itself. With this being the case, it is vital for your trade association’s success that your website be secure, up to date, mobile first, and user friendly. Below we discuss the importance of each of these aspects, and what you can do to make sure your association’s website meets these criteria.
- Have a clean, up-to-date website
One of the first aspects that should be considered with your trade association’s website is if it is clean and representative of your association. Outdated websites look clunky and can be hard to navigate for users. If your site is not already on WordPress; we highly recommend making the switch over. Over 34% of the world’s websites are built using WordPress including major industries such as Disney, Sony, and The New York Times. WordPress is the best content management system on the market. It’s ease of use, functionality and affordability make it one of the best CMS systems in the world. A variety of themes, plug-ins, and design elements allow for your WordPress website to be created to your specifications. It is easy to make a site that is user friendly and simple to navigate. Websites built on WordPress look professional, clean, and go far in making sure your members have a positive user experience.
- Keep your website safe and secure
In the digital realm, security is of the utmost importance. Your members’ data as well as your reputation may be on the line if your website falls victim to hacking. There are many negative effects an attack on your website could cause. Identity theft, slow speed, having your account suspended, and a complete crash are a few of the big things that can happen; all of which can tarnish or even ruin your reputation. A lot of the time, for WordPress sites, these attacks take place when themes and plug-ins are not regularly updated. Updates are usually released to better the security of a theme or plug-in and leaving yours out of date leaves your website open to bad actors. An easy way to prevent this and stay updated is to have a maintenance plan, this is someone who regularly updates all of your plug-ins and themes, creates backups, and performs security scans. These plans are affordable; and save you time and money in the long run if something were to happen to your website.
- Having a Mobile-First Website
One of the most important aspects of your website is that it is mobile first. This simply means that it is optimized to be viewed on mobile devices without losing quality or functionality. Most people view websites now on their smartphones and mobile devices and your website needs to show up looking just as good as it does on a desktop. Not having a mobile first website will not only effect how your visitors see your website on their devices, but also how Google will rank your website. This, in turn, affects where your site falls on the search engine result page (SERP) which is the page you see when you search for your association or related industry key terms on Google. If you are unsure if your website is mobile friendly, simply attempt to look at it on your phone. Make sure to test all of the menus and features to make sure they work and load quickly. You can also run a mobile test with Google here.
- Strong, Timely, Thoughtful Content
When you have a secure, mobile first website that looks amazing, you need to fill it with strong and engaging content that will bring visitors to your site and help drive your membership. Content can take a number of forms including blogs, videos, photos, podcasts, infographics, case studies, white pages, and reviews. It is suggested that you have thought-leadership content that relates to your association’s industry and will be of interest to your audience. Regularly releasing relevant content will not only keep people interested and visiting your site, it will also help your Google rankings. For associations, it is also good to continue to provide your members with good content, so they feel they are getting the value they deserve for their membership. It is even possible to make some content members only or paid content to add the additional value to members. A good content marketing strategy will keep your association’s website timely and relevant.
All of these aspects work together to make sure your association is well represented by your website and has a strong online presence. This helps your membership retention and recruitment, credibility, and overall value. Arc 3 Communications provides everything you need to build, operate, and maintain a professional association website. We also are able to create and put in motion a content marketing strategy that will work for your association including content calendars, content creation, and content program analysis. Our maintenance plans assure your website is safe and secure and all of your themes and plugins are updated. This also includes backups of your website and performance scans to make sure your website is running smoothly and quickly. For help optimizing your association’s website, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 678-348-6024.
For more information visit us at www.arc3communications.com.
When it comes to making a change in your community, the most powerful tool you have is the community itself. How you can mobilize your community has evolved with the growth of social media, but many of the traditional methods still remain most useful. In fact, all of these tactics should be used together to bring awareness and organize your community to support your issue and gain the attention of your elected officials. This article will explore what is known as “slacktivism,” a form of social media engagement regarding a cause, and traditional tactics to bringing attention and action to an issue.
In our age of social media, many issues become viral social media campaigns resulting in shares, comments, likes, and views but most of the time, little else. This isn’t to say “slacktivism” is entirely useless, in fact, it does raise awareness of an issue and can even inform people and get people talking about the subject. The problem lies in that these campaigns alone rarely result in action being taken. People comment, like, and share or sign an online petition and feel accomplished, like they have done something to help the issue when, in fact, it takes much more effort than that. This is why the term is a combination of “slacker” and “activism” because not much effort goes into participating in these online interactions and involvement often ends there.
This does not mean that online advocacy is useless, as previously stated, it can work wonders in raising awareness and spreading a message further and faster than many traditional forms of information sharing. It becomes hindered when it ends with this social media step. When people hit share and feel they have done enough and then move on. In turn, if it goes on to spark action and mobilization in the non-digital world, then it can be measured as a useful tactic. Online advocacy should be viewed as a tool, and not a complete solution to driving your issue.
The traditional ways are still the most effective for mobilizing your community. Traditional methods are complemented and enhanced by the online and social media aspects we have in the digital age, but the tried and true forms of raising awareness and prompting action still hold strong. As stated before, engagement efforts must be utilized offline in the community itself to see real results. Writing letters and direct mail, volunteer phone banking, going door to door, and organizing local precinct level meetings are proven ways to reach the people of your area and really add voices to your cause. These tactics allow you to know that you are reaching the population you intend to reach and also allow you to form relationships that will benefit your cause in the long run. These traditional strategies combined with an online strategy will help mobilize your community. The effectiveness of your traditional and online strategies, however, hinges on a properly developed and crafted message. It is vital that your message informs and is credible and factual. You also want to be prepared to answer any tough questions that may be raised regarding your position and help alleviate any concerns among elected officials, the media and the public. Having a message that is factual and based on credible personal stories and sources goes a long way in building support.
When bringing attention to an issue, both new and traditional tactics can be used together to mobilize your community, gain support, and ultimately bring about desired policy and legislative changes. Digital advocacy and social media campaigns are persuasive and bring awareness, while traditional measures bring people to concrete action within the community. A balance of these different tactics will help result in successful campaigns. These strategies used with a strong message, grab people’s attention and provide them with enough facts to make an educated decision to act. A community mobilized behind an issue is an extremely effective force in getting a legislative or policy change. In fact, it’s near impossible to get things done otherwise.
Need more advice or help?
For more information, visit us at www.arc3communications.com or contact Patrick Burns at email@example.com. We look forward to working with you to achieve your goals and help your voice be heard to bring positive changes to your community.
Thank you to our friends, strategic partners and most especially clients who have helped to make Arc 3 Communications’ first year a tremendous success. We look forward to a prosperous 2013 full of innovation and interesting work in public relations, interactive marketing and public affairs.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Patrick L. Burns, President, Arc 3 Communications
Our founder and President, Patrick Burns was recently selected to be a Delegate from the Sixth Congressional District of Ga. to the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. The Republican National Convention will meet from August 27th to 30th at the Tampa Bay Times Forum where delegates will ratify the party platform and nominate a candidate for President and Vice President. The presumptive GOP nominee is former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney with the candidate for Vice President not yet chosen. Patrick is one of three delegates to the Republican National Convention from his home county of Cobb and one of three from his Congressional District. The Georgia Delegation to the Republican National Convention will be staying at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Patrick’s selection as a delegate was recently mentioned in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Marietta Daily Journal.
The Democratic National Convention will be held from September 3rd to 6th in Charlotte, NC. The first three days will be at the Time Warner Cable Arena with the final day being at the Bank of America Stadium. The delegates at the Democratic National Convention will also ratify the party platform and nominate a candidate for President and Vice President. The presumptive nominees for President and Vice President are Barack Obama and Joseph Biden respectfully.
Patrick is honored to have his 24 years of involvement in politics and campaigns recognized by the opportunity to be a National Delegate. Patrick served as an Alternate Delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City which nominated President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Patrick is looking forward to seeing old friends; attending the convention speeches and platform meetings; and voting to nominate the GOP Presidential ticket. Patrick will also be spending time on bloggers row and live tweeting from the convention floor.
Among the many exciting things at the convention, Patrick will also have the opportunity to check-in on his mobile device on the convention floor and earn a Republican National Convention badge on Foursquare issued by Time Magazine. Time has also issued a Democratic National Convention badge for Foursquare users who check-in on the convention floor in Charlotte.
Patrick has promised to provide updates to the Marietta Daily Journal and other local media about the many happenings at the convention. Congratulations on your selection Patrick!
This month marked the 2nd annual celebration of Foursquare Day on April 16th. The day honors the social media platform Foursquare and its users. Hundreds of cities around the world held Foursquare Day events from Kennesaw, Ga. to Portland, Ore. to Istanbul, Turkey.
What is Foursquare? Foursquare is a location-based social networking platform for mobile devices. Users “check in” on their mobile phone at different places visited, from restaurants to parks, museums and retails stores. Foursquare rewards users for checking in with badges, points and mayorships. Users can choose to have their check-ins, mayorships and badges posted on their Twitter and/or Facebook accounts.
Foursquare also allows users the ability to leave tips about a venue. People can leave tips about their favorite dishes, things to do, and how to get a discount. Users can also track things that they have done by clicking “I’ve done this” next to a tip or can add something that sounds good to their to do list. Lists are collections of tips and venues created by users. Lists range from the Best Museums of New York City to Gone With the Wind. Each is created by a local expert, giving unique insight into the best places to visit in a city
To get users interested in the social media app and to keep them checking in (and thus providing more data to the recommendation engine), Foursquare has developed a unique set of “games.” The badges, points and mayorships are ways in which users can compete against friends. The mayor is the person who’s checked in the most times at a venue over the past 60 days.
Foursquare has grown into a community of over 20 million people worldwide with over 2 billion check-ins. Half of Foursquare users are in the United States while the other 50 percent are international. Over 750,000 businesses are using the Merchant Plaftform.
So, how did April 16 become 4sqDay? Back in 2010, Tampa, Fla. optometrist Nate Bonilla-Warford realized that 4² = 16 and that April 16 would be a perfect day to celebrate Foursquare. He got together with some friends and started putting together a worldwide movement. Other cities quickly joined in and parties were held all over the world that first year. It’s grown since then to include cities in every corner of the globe.
Foursquare Day is a worldwide movement and the social app is being embraced around the world by political leaders and the media. All major media and news outlets currently have a Foursquare brand page. In August of 2011, President Barack Obama joined Foursquare and other world leaders including Prime Minister of Great Britian David Cameron and French President Nicholas Sarkozy followed suit. All of these leaders are using Foursquare to check-in to places they visit. The Republican candidates for President, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry joined Foursquare before the start of the first presidential caucus in Iowa. NBC News and Foursquare have teamed up to map out the 2012 presidential election. Visitors are able to see where candidates are making campaign stops in real-time, and where they’ve been throughout their entire election campaign.
In addition to checking-in at events, the gamification aspect of Foursquare is being used by politicians and the media in creative ways to engage the public in the political process. For instance, French President Nicholas Sarkozy recently rewarded campaign volunteers with cookies for checking into his campaign headquarters. Time Magazine will reward attendees to the respective Democratic and Republican National Conventions with a badge. NBC Politics recently established 3 badges for checking-in to Presidential campaign events.
In the same way that Foursquare makes buying a cup of coffee a competitive event, political operatives and the media are trying to harness the power of games to collect data and engage potential voters, readers and viewers. Foursquare and gamification can actually be a powerful tool for identifying and engaging the public. As the over 16,000 participants in Foursquare meetups around the world can attest, social media married with gamification is a powerful tool for mobilizing people and driving results for your organization.
At this year’s SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas from March 9th to 13th, one of the most popular apps was the ambient social location app, Highlight.
SXSW is one of the most innovative and trendiest shows of the year in the tech community. Often referred to as spring break for geeks, it has been the place for the launch of some of the most notable platforms in social media. Twitter was launched at SXSW in 2007 and Foursquare was launched there in 2009. Often what is launched successfully at SXSW becomes a household name in the tech community overnight as it is adopted in mass by tech early adopters. These early adopters then set the stage for introduction into the general consumer audiences.
In the midst of discussions ranging from the speed of change in interactive to reinventing the agency to social ROI, the most talked about trend at SXSW was the ambient social location app. This form of mobile app shows the user people that are around them using the app and what their interests and social profiles are. The ambient social app identifies your location and alerts you to the people around you, showing their social profiles such as Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare. The most well-known ambient-social location apps are Highlight, Glancee, Banjo and Sonar.
These ambient social location apps all competed for attention at SXSW. The most talked about app at SXSW was Highlight, started by Paul Davison of Silicon Valley. Davison was able to explain clearly and concisely what his product did and make a big splash at SXSW. His public relations team’s effort was a good example of how despite all of the flashy digital tools for the dissemination of information, messaging still matters. Influential tech journalist, Robert Scoble was so impressed with the Highlight team’s message and product that he became an advocate for Highlight during his week at SXSW. Scoble befriended 900 people on Highlight and defended the app when it began to receive criticism from some SXSW attendees. Twitter and Foursquare received similar criticism in earlier SXSW shows, but have certainly met success since their launches. Twitter currently has 465 million users and will reach 500 million users this month. Foursquare currently has 15 million users.
Highlight is a mobile app available on the i-phone market only. Upon downloading, the app tracks your location in the background and sends you a push notification when someone else using the app comes within 50 yards of you. You then have the opportunity to say hello and talk about shared interests and a recording of that meeting is saved on your Highlight account. Highlight often identifies people of shared interests at a geo-location and promotes networking and connectivity.
The other apps in the ambient social location space are Glancee, Banjo and Sonar. Like Highlight, these social discovery apps alert you to others of shared interests at your geo-location upon their arrival.
Glancee tracks your location in the background and links to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. It will show people who are using the app and their shared social graph interests and Facebook picture.
Banjo also tracks your location in the background, but aggregates geo-location data from Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook and Twitter to provide a map of people near you. The user is able to see on a map, pictures of others near them and their respective social profile data.
Sonar uses Foursquare to show you people nearby and utilizes a ranking system to give weight to people who most share your interests. Sonar also has the ability to integrate with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and provide contextual data.
Ambient social location apps are following in the footsteps of Foursquare in their geo-social nature. However, unlike Foursquare they are leveraging the ambient nature of human interaction encouraging greater connectivity and social discovery based on location and shared interests. These apps accelerate individuals desire to discover who at the cocktail party is worth getting to know and most apt to share their interests and goals.
Like Foursquare, ambient social location apps will be adopted by the tech-savvy early adopters in metropolitan areas, university towns, and high tech areas. However these apps may be slow to reach a broad consumer audience. It may be years before they reach the type of adoption numbers that Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have reached with consumers.
However, just as elite influencers such as reporters, congressional staff, technologists, marketing and public relations professionals were early adopters of Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, the power of these ambient social location apps will lead to their quick adoption by this group of people. It will enable elite influencers to better network at events and locations and share ideas and learnings. They will be better able to network and meet the people they need to know.
As tool for a campaign, marketing or public relations professional trying to organize an event and drum up last minute attendance, an ambient social location app alerts them to individuals in the area and allows for them to invite these folks to the event via notifications. For a reporter doing a story who is looking for individuals to interview in the area, these apps alert them to potential sources for their story and allows them to contact them.
Though ambient social location apps will not garner quick and immediate consumer success, they should be considered as an important platform to influence elite opinion and organize grassroots efforts. In 2012 and beyond they will have an increasingly important role in molding and shaping elite opinion and those that influence the public and consumers.
I am pleased to announce the launch of Arc 3 Communications, a full service Atlanta based agency that provides public relations, interactive marketing and public affairs services to businesses, trade associations and non-profits throughout the Southeast.
After almost a decade at one of the oldest independent public relations agencies in the Southeast and with over 20 years’ experience in media and public affairs, I have made the decision to create a new type of agency that meets the needs of clients in the evolving media world.
Arc 3 is able to offer integrated solutions to clients that are customized by specialists who truly understand the nexus of media, technology and public affairs. We bring together public relations, interactive marketing and public affairs specialists from media, politics, the arts, non-profits, and business together into the same agency.
In today’s dynamic media and public affairs environment, Arc 3’s integrated services are more efficient and cost-effective than traditional agencies and provide greater return on investment for clients. While other public relations agencies are slow to change, Arc 3 is at the forefront of media and technology.
Arc 3 Communications provides a multi-disciplinary, diverse set of services ranging from media relations to social media to grassroots mobilization. Our comprehensive cross-platform approach integrates traditional media, social media and mobile with public affairs strategy to achieve client objectives.
Arc 3 has thinkers, solvers and doers. Our innovation, insight and integrity have created trusted, long-standing relationships that benefit our clients and achieve exceptional results.
When starting my career over 20 years ago in a world of pagers, payphones and rolls of quarters on the campaign trail, I never would have imagined the transformation that has occurred in media and public affairs. However, despite all the changes one thing has never changed- personal relationships.
I have been blessed to start a new company because of the help of friends, colleagues, mentors, and clients over the years who know that business is about long-term relationships and a commitment to a better marketplace.
At Arc 3 Communications, we look forward to the opportunity to build on our success and help you achieve results. Please contact us for a free initial consultation. We look forward to the opportunity to be of service to you.
Patrick L. Burns
President, Arc 3 Communications
For more information on the launch of Arc 3 Communications, please click on Arc 3 Launch Press Release