Strengthening your online presence: 3 things every Association can do right now

Are you scared or tired of everyone using the terms “social media” or “web 2.0″?  Do you recognize that you need to jump in to the world of social media but don’t know where to begin? Do you need to strengthen your online reputation?

The online world these days can be confusing at best – and for those with limited resources and big dreams – it is an overwhelming task to figure out where to begin. I have been in these shoes over and over-again, and have found that a simple, practical approach is best. Here are 3 simple initial steps to take that do not require a significant amount of resources:

1. Make your existing website more SEO-friendly.

While reassessing your current website for a rebuild is probably optimal, it is also overwhelming. We need results NOW. This approach will help you get better over time AND, if you do this right, you will see recognition in your Google organic search rankings.

  • Write better (SEO friendly) content for your home page and main landing pages.
  • Update these pages regularly
  • Publish feed(s) from your blog(s) and other social networking sites (Flickr, YouTube, etc) throughout the site (see below)

2. Launch a blog.

Blogs give your organization a voice, and if done right, make you more approachable and personal. More than anything, they are all about inspiring conversations around topics and issues important to you. Through this, you will help to increase understanding around your messages and topics – and eventually strenthen your brand on (and off) -line.

Pick a topic that you are most passionate about. Recruit a few passionate, inspired folks to write posts (these can be folks on staff, or part of your membership). Publish feed(s) from your blog(s) on pages throughout your main website. Encourage comments and respond to them. Cross-link to other industry or issue-related blogs.

3. Launch a Flickr and/or a YouTube Channel.

You have photos, lots of them. Photos from events, luncheons, activities. Every photo that you have should be uploaded to flickr and ‘pushed’ to your other online properties. For $24.95 per year, you have a highly functional photo repository that not only enables you to easily publish them anywhere you like, it gives your organization a “face” and exposes it to the millions of folks on the web. It works for you while your are sleeping. The same concept works with YouTube for video content.

Using this approach also makes you more efficient. You do not duplicate effort by having to post the same content (photos/video) to each online property. You have one central repository where all of this lives, and you simply publish it to your other sites.

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