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Social media puts future of industry associations at risk

Social Media platforms such as LinkedIn threaten the future of the 200-plus industry associations in Australia predicts online marketer Toby Marshall, CEO of Lead Creation.

LinkedIn SydneyToby predicts that services traditionally provided by industry associations will become redundant as the same specialist services become readily available through the internet and social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – often for free.

“The internet, and social media in particular, are game changers for associations as they increasingly deliver more for users. Compared with associations, they allow members within groups to connect more often, exchange useful information faster, and get access to more affordable online training. This is why ‘tribes’ or groups of professionals of all types have grown rapidly online. For many existing members, I believe these groups will negate the need for industry bodies within the next two years.” Said Toby.

Australian Industry associations have responded to the push of social media into their operational space, with revamped websites with more ‘community’ engagement elements, Facebook pages and LinkedIn groups, but will over time lose out to cheaper ad-hoc social media networks.

“Building communities in this way just doesn’t work,” Toby says. “The associations could take more of an opportunistic approach to social media by entering these platforms to deliver a greater range of vastly improved services at a significantly lower cost and to a greatly increased membership base.”

At the same time, Toby warns associations of the limited space for industry associations within social media. “In some specialties, there are more than five competing associations. The new technology will allow just one – at the most two – to dominate in their sector and service the members of all the others.”

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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