An engaged board member can be your organization’s greatest ambassador and advocate. How can you ensure your board helps elevate your brand?
In my experience at a Chamber, non-profit group and State agencies, I’ve seen all levels of board and commission member involvement. Some members may be counted on to show up at meetings or write a required check; those are integral contributions to an association. You’ll also find some gems out there; individuals with a passion for your organization who are willing to go the extra mile on your behalf. They are your ambassadors. Your champions.
These are busy people though. Gaining and keeping board members as brand advocates often comes down to making their participation as turn-key as possible. The Montrose Group offers these four tips to get your board on board with brand marketing and PR.
Ensure They’re in the Know
First make sure your members truly understand your organization’s mission. If you don’t already conduct a board orientation, get one on the calendar. Bring in representatives of key departments to share an overview of their responsibilities, and provide the members an opportunity to ask questions.
Then, arm the members with tools to help them advocate. Some organizations I know provide pocket cards with an elevator statement and other key messages—handy for the board members to distribute or refer to when the opportunity arises.
By now nearly every professional is on LinkedIn. That’s a great place for your board members to showcase their involvement with your organization.
Ask them to add their board position under the “organizations” section of their profile. There they can include the organization name (which will link back to your company page on LinkedIn), the position, and the time period of their service. In the notes section, they can add boiler plate copy about the organization, as provided by you.
In addition, encourage them to follow your company page, connect with key employees, and strategically share organization news and milestones using their status updates.
To make their involvement even easier, provide members with sample messages to share. You can do this on a monthly or quarterly basis, or to promote initiatives or special events. Make sure to provide images for interest and links to drive visitors to your website. You can even consider hosting a LinkedIn training session for the board.
For those more socially active board members, don’t forget about Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, too.
Make the Case with a Letter to the Editor
Looking to generate awareness for an important issue or respond to a news event? Well-crafted letters to the editor can help your voice be heard, especially if they are written by an influential board member with an expertise on the topic. For efficiency sake, your PR team can help draft the letter for the member’s approval and ensure publication submission requirements are met. Be sure the letter is to the point, effectively uses the board member’s “voice,” does not overtly promote the organization, and is timely.
Bonus: after they are published, letters to the editor make perfect content for social sharing. Ask your board member and his or her organization to share it, too.
Leverage Their Resources and Connections
Chances are the members of your board are a powerful and connected bunch. Associations and organizations with smaller budgets can often leverage their board’s clout beyond typical duties.
For example, does one of your board members have an in-house printing facility? See if they will donate your next batch of marketing collateral. Do they have an in-house video team? Is there an opportunity to promote your organization on the company website? Can they connect you to resources via their suppliers or vendors?
Encourage your board to think outside of the box, and you may discover ways to stretch your resources.
And a final reminder: say thanks. No matter how your board engages, be sure to express your appreciation for their time, talent and treasure.
Want more marketing and PR tips? Check out the archive on our blog.