Association sees social networking replacing online blogs
The American Bus Association (ABA), Washington D.C. marked a milestone today, May 7, 2010, with its announcement of member driven social networking success for associations, as its number of members self-identifying and officially registering as “fans of ABA” on ABA’s Facebook page has just surged past 1,000 people.
“What a tribute it is to ABA’s member base of bus and tour operators, travel partners, and product and equipment providers that they have embraced ABA’s foray into social networking via Facebook,” said ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso, CTIS. “We are so thrilled to have such an engaged, active and participatory membership base in ABA. Having more than 1,000 Facebook followers speaks volumes about the enthusiasm of our association members, their eagerness to connect with one another professionally and socially, and the value they find in using Facebook to exchange information and ideas with their peers as well as ABA’s staff that’s always ready to serve their needs. Business relationships start with relationships first.”
ABA’s association culture, which stresses member-driven programs and benefits, has always had as a cornerstone of its success the value of listening to member feedback and providing deskside assistance as though ABA staff was an extension of its member companies’ own staffs. ABA carefully monitors feedback to Facebook postings, and regularly feeds the voracious appetite for information inherent in being a Facebook loyalist.
“We view it as a badge of honor that we had no model for this other than sticking to traditional member service, and applying that proven formula to a new technological frontier online,” Pantuso added. “It’s simple, but not easy. Give members what they want. That’s what it takes.”
ABA made a strategic decision – knowing it was a risky in the Facebook frontier days of early 2009 — to end its blog to refocus on Facebook instead as the primary forum to reach members and receive feedback.
Blogs were no longer leading edge technology anymore – but the function they served was not going to go away. Instead, ABA surmised, the function of posting and engaging by encouraging feedback and discussion was going to shift to social networking.
ABA’s Facebook updates regularly on Hill legislation action, Marketplace and Product Pavilion developments, new member benefits and programs, and links to buzz-inducing news stories and other motorcoach, tourism and travel trends, ABA members flocked to become fans of the association on Facebook.