Friday, April 9, 2010

The Correlation of Social Media Usage and Membership Growth

Posted by Princess Eva Angelica at 2:28 PM
As I dive into the data from our 2010 Membership Benchmarking Survey, I am discovering some very interesting outcomes. I will be sharing some of them on this blog, but of course the full report will go to the 405 associations who participated in the research.

The power of any survey data is not in the answers themselves, but in the cross tabulations. Looking at one answer compared to another. Today I took a look at official usage of social media by associations cross tabulated with associations reporting either membership growth or decline.

The crosstabs highlight patterns or correlations that can aide an organization in making decisions. However, please remember that a correlation is not a prediction. Because organizations doing one activity display higher growth rates than those that do another does not mean that replicating that one behavior will result in growth.

There is a lot to discuss in today’s data. Here are a few comments.  First of all, there has been an explosion of the use of social media in associations. Only 8% of associations participating in the survey said that they do not officially use any social media tools.

The most popular social media application used by associations is Facebook with over 75% of associations reporting that they officially use it as an organization.

On the other hand, only 17% of associations reported that they have a “private association social network”. And those organizations who have a private social network are 28% more likely to report growth in membership compared to the average association. While groups that use LinkedIn are 13% more likely to report a decline in membership numbers.

Here is a chart that takes a look at the top responses from the survey.

I would appreciate your theories on what this data may be saying about social media and how it can impact an association. Feel free to post your thoughts.

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