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Time to CARE: What’s Your Goal for that Social Media Post?


Social media is a valuable tool that can help today’s associations reach and exceed their goals. To be most effective, however, individual social media posts require clearly defined goals of their own.

Before digging into the “what” of those goals, let’s start with the “who.”

Who actually develops and carries out a social media strategy may vary from one association to the next. For example, one or two communications experts on staff may be responsible for creating content and scheduling posts, but may get assistance from other staff members with ideas of posts and rely on the board of directors, a communications committee, volunteer leaders, and/or other engaged association members to be “ambassadors” who actively engage with posts (commenting and sharing with their own networks, not just liking). In other scenarios, these non-staff stakeholders may be responsible for posting content, creating content, or even developing and guiding the social media strategy.

Regardless of the “who” model your association utilizes, all associations should heed the advice that follows.

Posts that garner a lot of likes and shares can be a good thing, but for an ROI-oriented social media strategy, likes and shares should be a means to an end, not the end itself.

Each post has the potential to inspire thoughts and actions (even ones you might not immediately see) that extend beyond a “like” and have longer term value to your association. (I say “association,” but really, this applies to other organizations and even corporations.)

To capitalize on these long-term effects, try flipping your perspective from what you hope to accomplish to how the viewer will benefit from your post.

Each post should strive to increase one (or more) of the following goals for your organization:

  • Credibility
  • Awareness and Visibility
  • Revenue
  • Engagement

Did you notice that spells “CARE”?

For each post, you should be able to fill in the blank: “When people see this post, they will _____.”

Here are some examples, categorized by each “CARE” goal, of how you can finish that sentence.


When people see this post, they will _____.

  • Read one of your articles/blog posts or watch a video and come to see your association as a source of valuable content
  • Subscribe to your association’s newsletter or magazine
  • View your organization as a trusted curator of external content (this is key; be sure to balance your own content with relevant, thoughtfully selected external content)

Awareness & Visibility

When people see this post, they will _____.

  • Learn that the organization exists/get a better sense of what it does
  • Visit and explore your association’s website
  • Observe how your association interacts with other key players in the field
  • Become so excited about the association that they’ll spread the word about its value to colleagues and others in their network
  • Be interested enough to comment on, share, or start a conversation about the post, thus raising the post’s reach by becoming visible to that member’s followers/friends/connections
  • Learn news about the association, a chapter, or other members


When people see this post, they will _____.

  • Register for a webinar/conference/event, etc.
  • Download, order, or purchase a resource
  • Become a member or renew membership
  • Become curious about partnership opportunities
  • Donate during a giving campaign


When people see this post, they will _____.

  • Be inspired to get involved as a volunteer
  • Participate in one of your online member-only discussion boards
  • Discover and use a featured member benefit (career center, magazine, discussion board, etc.)
  • Start following the association on social media, and sharing your posts
  • Submit a conference session proposal; nominate a peer for an award or a leadership position
  • Be an ambassador of sorts, helping to publicize the association’s announcements and reminders

There are tips and tricks into making each of your posts more likely to reach each of these goals, but if you don’t have a goal to begin with, the tips are nearly useless. So, next time you post to social media on behalf of your association or organization, pause, think of “CARE” and define what you hope to accomplish. Because if you don’t care, why should they?

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