Bookmark and Share

Strengthening Social Engagement

How a century-old trade organization is connecting with readers on social media, and key takeaways for any publication

Rebecca Post is Editorial Director at Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), a trade organization that provides resources to industrial fabric professionals and publishes four print magazines and two digital publications. A growing focus for the hundred-year-old organization is integrating social media into the editorial process. Post spoke to MMPA about IFAI’s goals and processes for increasing its social media presence.

Why is social media important for IFAI?

Our social media is all about driving people to our website. The purpose of our trade association is to educate our readers on trends in the industry and be an innovation driver. If you look at our social media messaging, you’ll see we’re curating information in the industry. It’s not just information about IFAI. We’re trying to keep the whole industry abreast of what’s happening and be a trusted resource.

Who is your audience on social media?

Businesses, subscribers to our magazines, advertisers, and students who are planning careers in textile.

What social channels is IFAI active on?

Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is a standard for everybody. We’ll use LinkedIn for when we have job openings open, and our editors post articles [from their personal LinkedIn accounts].

How do B2B social media practices differ from B2C?

It can’t look flakey. We need to look like a trusted source. We represent the industry. We also lock a lot of our content, too—something lots of publications struggle with is how to monetize online content. If we feature branded content for the publication, it’s unlocked for one month, so that when people get that social media update, it’s not locked. We drive people to open content.

What tips do you have for other B2B companies looking to grow engagement on social media?

  • Keep the messages short and punchy. If we can have an image, that helps. We try to use “act now” or “heads up” language.
  • It needs to be super intentional that your editors are well connected with creating social media. It’s one more duty for editors, but social media is content marketing, and content marketing depends on the freshest, most relevant information. And that’s where the editors live.
  • We put social media [duties] in the editorial department. But it has to be carefully coordinated with marketing.
  • Look ahead. Your social media calendar should be built out a few weeks. Then when you go back and look at activity you can see how different messaging performed.
  • Set a cadence for posting times. We’ve had a goal to release social media three times a week.