Social Media– Friend or Foe for Associations?

Social media could be perceived as a threat to many associations.  It provides for real-time networking, access to friends of friends, and allows people to meet a lot of their needs 365/7/24.  That can be a tall order for any association to meet, don’t you think?

I read the book, Networlding, by Melissa Giovagnoli and Jocelyn Carter-Miller in 2000 when it was first released.  The authors explained the difference between Networking and Networlding: “Both revolve around the concept of forming relationships.  But the resemblance ends as soon as you understand that Networlding requires clear intent, compatible values, reciprocal exchange and support, and mutually developed, mutually beneficial outcomes.  Here are the differences between networking and networlding:


  • Haphazard process of making contacts to achieve short-term and often one-sided goals
  • Opportunity-specific
  • Forming connections for the present need or short-term opportunity
  • May be seen as selfish activities (me-focused)
  • Exists on a more superficial level by using a scattergun approach to develop many contacts


  • Purposeful process of collaboration that achieves mutual goals
  • Opportunity-expansive
  • Forming relationships and opportunities intentionally for a specific relationship
  • Completely selfless endeavor (you-focused)
  • Working together within spheres of influence to help others achieve their highest goals

Do you feel the difference?  The concept of networlding is about leveraging the “6 degrees of separation” and was introduced long before there was Facebook or LinkedIn!

Associations are the original networking communities. Online social networks are part of the new reality of the speed in which information is shared which requires new ways to communicate with others who share common interests.

In the white paper presented by Avectra, the major point is made that associations can leverage online communities to develop Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management) which will connect prospects, members and former members to the association, if used strategically.  There is a business value to Social as explained in the paper:  Associations “need to leverage new strategies and technologies that focus on creating member value and benefits such as enabling valuable online peer-to-peer support for information, resources, solutions and business ideas, while creating engaging, meaningful and valuable relationships with your members…”

Learn more about how you can build a business case to leverage social media to:

  • Improve membership value
  • Boost membership renewals
  • Increase your membership base
  • Build stronger relationships with members
  • Increase event participation
  • Promote advocacy and thought leadership

Read the white paper, Social CRM for Associations: Because Every Interaction Matters.

Stay tuned for our next blog on how to leverage Social CRM to Solve Common Real-World Business Problems!