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Lack of active participation in social media may be your greatest risk. Your association may not have a formal social media strategy but many of your employees and members (especially chapters) are already participating through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, FriendFeed or Ning, just to name a few. People are conversing about your association – if they aren’t talking about the association, then you have a larger problem.

Without a social media strategy, you have abdicated your brand by allowing others control the conversation. The conversations are occurring, so your reputation is at risk and the potential harm increases by your lack of effective participation. Your goal is to engage the right people in the right communities with the right conversations. Your association may have a blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn group or Twitter alias but if you are not listening in the right places to the right people all you get is meaningless chatter. Without a social media strategy, your rewards, if any, will be limited and the potential for a disaster is high.

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