Every day, social media managers at corporations, organizations, and associations worldwide grapple with the challenge of engaging individuals via social platforms.

In a recent study, Software Advice (an online resource for association management technology reviews) sought to gain insight into the problem by exploring the ways in which American professional and trade associations utilize Twitter to engage and maintain contact with their members. The resulting report offers some best practices that similar associations “can use to develop high-impact Twitter campaigns.”

Using data from Guidestar and other publicly-available resources, the Software Advice team built a sample of associations that turn to Twitter as a mechanism for engaging members; they then collected tweets from a total of 50 professional and trade associations over the course of four weeks. This data was supplemented by survey data from over 200 association social media management personnel.

Here are the top five takeaways:

1. Use of data in Twitter posts is important to member engagement.

2. Most of the surveyed individuals use general-purpose software to gather engagement data. Those in the second-largest category rely on specialized sources, such as association management systems and/or social media management software.

3. The relevance of tweeted content to members is key, and the most common tweets are those that contain information “that benefit members’ professional goals and challenges.”

4. Sixty percent of associations in the study’s sample tweet between 2 and 5 times per day, suggesting the importance of regular contact.

5. Twitter engagement best practices can be boiled down to four steps: analyze, measure, adjust, and engage.

See more here.