This article was originally published in the Association Adviser blog on Naylor.com.
You might not expect an association that focuses on underwater operations to be groundbreaking when it comes to their social media and content marketing, but that’s part of what makes ADCI so interesting.
When Naylor editor Sean Garrity first took over the Facebook account for the Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI), they only had around 100 followers. Anyone who has ever tried to drum up Facebook followers on a business page, especially one not related to fashion, beauty or entertainment, knows the pains of such an endeavor. Today, ADCI has more than 1,500 followers. Garrity has had similar success with their LinkedIn account, which now has 1,473 followers.
- If you want to find loyal followers, you have to fish in the right sea with the right bait.
- Once you find your audience, sustain them by providing relevant content on a regular basis.
- Keep track of industry news so that you don’t miss a chance to share past content when it becomes relevant again.
In 2008, the Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI) partnered with Naylor for help producing, marketing, and monetizing their publications. Over the years, ADCI’s media brand evolved from a print-only publication to a full suite of print and digital media products. This evolution was the focus of an Association Spotlight article covered by Association Adviser back in 2011. But their evolution didn’t stop there.
In late 2012, when Content 360 was still in development, ADCI was the first association to sign up for the pilot program. Content 360 is a content strategy program that is designed to increase communication effectiveness for associations. The program provides associations with a dedicated editor to develop a consistent voice across media channels. Sean Garrity had already been serving as the dedicated editor for all ADCI media produced by Naylor since 2008, but under this new content model, he also began to oversee their social media channels (LinkedIn and Facebook) as well as write the scripts for ADCI TV. Association Adviser caught up with Garrity to find out how he did it.
Association Adviser: We know that gaining followers on Facebook can be a real challenge. Tell us about the success you’ve experienced with the ADCI page.
Sean Garrity: Yeah, I think a lot of people just use Facebook socially to connect with their friends, and they don’t want business news encroaching into that. But I think people respond to the type of content we share through the ADCI page because it has to do with safety and different communications that are important to people with an interest in the industry.
I’ve developed a new strategy recently where I’m sharing their content with other industry trade groups on Facebook in a way that directs those followers back to the ADCI’s page. Those that find the content relevant will “Like” our page before leaving, and this has started to grow our following exponentially.
AA: And you’ve had similar success on LinkedIn. Are you using the same types of posts?
Sean Garrity: The stuff that I share on LinkedIn sometimes differs because I share things with different groups than I do on Facebook. The clients that hire diving contractors have a lot of different groups on LinkedIn, and I’ll share different content with those guys because they don’t really care about a new regulation for commercial divers, or things like that, what they want to know is: “How are we gonna get this job done safely?”
This is really what the ADCI’s main message is, it’s all about safety and communication and making sure that clients know that if you’re an ADCI contractor (general member) that you’re going to be the best company qualified to carry out whatever underwater operations you’re hired for.
AA: So tell us about ADCI TV. What is the main focus of the videos that you produce for them?
SG: The main series that launched in late 2012 was a client education series, which allows diving contractors to show their clients what’s at stake in performing some of the underwater operations and the importance of hiring qualified and experienced contractors to carry out the work and dive in their facilities. These are the videos that I’m sharing on LinkedIn.
The goal of the ADCI is to promote safety throughout the industry. Even if you’re not an ADCI member, we still want you to adhere to these standards and make sure that you and your clients are aware of how to conduct safe diving operations. So these videos act as an outreach to clients to ensure they’re educated.
All ADCI general members are subject to an audit upon joining the association to ensure they adhere to the ADCI’s International Consensus Standards for Commercial Diving and Underwater Operations. This works as an assurance to clients that ADCI contractors are qualified because they’ve been vetted through the association and that they carry all the necessary insurance, etc.
“This industry leans heavily on ADCI for guidance on safety and training information that keeps their members safe on the job and our goal is to provide them with that information in as many timely and easily accessible formats as possible. We have greatly increased our social media presence so that members are able to get their hands on this information quickly and as it becomes available on platforms that members use regularly.
ADCI has done an excellent job of working with Naylor to come up with the best vehicles and messaging to get this information distributed out to the membership. They are always so open and willing to try new strategies, which makes it a very successful experience for the entire ADCI/Naylor team.” – Kaydee Currie, marketing specialist for ADCI
AA: What about Underwater Magazine? We know that it’s ADCI’s flagship publication, so is that something you’re sharing online as well?
SG: Yes. The digital edition has an email distribution list of 5,000 (which is a third of the print edition), but the reach is far beyond that since I’ve started sharing the magazine online. For instance, just one of the Facebook groups I share it with has 20,000 members.
I’ll share past issues, now and again, like if there’s something in the news that relates to a story that we covered in a previous issue. For instance, a couple of years ago, we ran a story on Amelia Earhart and the use of high-tech ROVs and AUVs to try to find fragments of her plane.
And just a couple of weeks ago they found a piece, so that story is back in the news. This gave me an opportunity to share our story again, so people are directed back to UnderwaterMagazine.com.
There was another story where a tugboat sank off the coast of Nigeria. As it sank, it tipped over and was then submerged 100 ft below the surface. Two days had passed, and everyone was presumed dead. Some divers went down to do recovery, and while they were down there, one of the divers felt someone tap him on the shoulder…there was a guy that had been surviving in an air bubble for the last 48 hours, alone in the pitch black.
It eventually made the Today Show, but we had the story months earlier. So we scooped the Today Show and were then able to share that content again with the resurgence in interest.