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Raise Membership's Voice with Crowdspeaking
Associations are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the power of social media as an advocacy tool. They represent thousands of connected, passionate, like-minded professionals who can be an influential force when their voice is amplified via social media. Crowdspeaking is one tool that has emerged to help individuals and organizations make that happen. Like crowdsourcing or crowdfunding, crowdspeaking solicits a large group of people, typically via social media, to achieve an objective. But while crowdsourcing solicits feedback on ideas or work product, and crowdfunding is a mechanism to generate funding, crowdspeaking is about tapping into the voice of the crowd. Specifically, it’s technology that allows associations — as well as companies and other organizations — to amplify the voice of their greatest resource: its membership. It allows a group to share one message, at the same exact moment, across individual social media accounts.

Online Flash Mob

Through a crowdspeaking platform, an association’s members, via a simple click of a button, agree to use their social media accounts — including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr — to send a single message from their account at a specified time. The association can send a message about a policy position, a new initiative, or anything else, from hundreds or thousands of members, thus reaching thousands more connections. The message might include a hashtag or could be tweeted at an individual or organization to reach a specific audience. It’s almost like an online version of a flash mob, where people show up in one place, at one time to make an impromptu display or statement. In this case, it’s people showing up on social media to make a statement.

With your members all speaking at once, that message begins to stand out on social media and may even pick up momentum, getting other likes and shares. Plus, since it’s coming from an individual, it’s even more influential than if it just came from the association’s feed. Further, it helps engage more members in the advocacy process.

Engaging Members in Advocacy

The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) used the crowdspeaking platform to promote their professional awareness day last November. NSGC Executive Director Meghan Carey said they had initially encouraged members to promote the awareness day through their own social media accounts, but then decided to use crowdspeaking to amplify that message. About 300 members signed up on the crowdspeaking platform to spread the message — “Join me in thanking genetic counselors for the important role they play in healthcare #IamAGeneticCounselor.” As a result, #IamAGeneticCounselor trended on Twitter that day. “We found it was an effective way to broadly share a unified message and engage our members in our campaign without asking for them to do a lot of work, all while ensuring message consistency,” Carey said.

There are various crowdspeaking platforms out there, all of which are fairly similar. Staff can research the available options to determine the best fit for the association. While social media platforms should only represent a complementary component of an association’s advocacy efforts, crowdspeaking may be an effective way to best leverage those efforts in order to engage members in important association activities, raise their voices, and promote the organization.
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JUNE 2018 EDITION
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Board Forward is published 10 times a year by SmithBucklin, the association management and services company more organizations turn to than any other. SmithBucklin has served volunteer board members for more than 60 years.

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