Membership has its privileges

Tara Coomans, Social Media Club national co-membership chair provided us with more on what being a member means to her:

Social Media Club was founded before there was an Instagram, a Snapchat or Google+. In digital world terms, we’re OG.

Social Media Club (SMC) was founded in San Francisco by Kristie Wells and Chris Huere because they saw a need for an professional organization which provided guidance to those working in the then-wild west of social media.


In the spirit of social media, the organization they founded was open to all and designed to help everyone who participated in social media spread the “If You Get It, Share It,” ideal.

Today, Social Media Club is the only global 100 percent volunteer-run professional organization in the world. There are over 300 active chapters globally, each with their own personality and voice designed to serve their local community.

I joined SMC in 2009, since then, I have been a member of two different chapters, served as Chapter President and the Global Board of Directors as Membership Chair. As an SMC member,  I’ve had a chance to meet people around the world, both in person and online. As an SMC leader, never once have I ever picked up the phone or sent an email to a thought-leader and had it ignored. As an SMC leader, I’ve both been mentored and mentored others in leadership, social media and digital media. As important as these types of connections can be, I’ve found the members of the chapters to be the pure gold of my membership. No matter what city I’m in, I’m not a stranger. This is why I became Membership Chair.

In 2016, SMC membership will be expanding more ways for you to connect, share your voice and grow as a social and digital leader. We’ll be offering member-only digital events with industry leaders, archived for members-only. We’ll be building an additional way for members to engage on the new SMC website including blogging and community opportunities. If you’re looking to grow your social presence, your community impact and your connections, there is no better place to do it online.

While SMC continues to evolve its membership benefits globally, and chapters like Kansas City continue to offer benefits to members, for me, it’s never been about the laundry list of “benefits.” For me, it’s always been about the people.

People who have become partners, collaborators and yes, friends.  People who “get it” when I share it. People who I can share a laugh with when yet another “promise from Mark Zuckerberg” rears its ugly head on Facebook. People who “fill out my corners” and help me out whether I need a referral, and idea or a resources. It’s the people. Around the world. It’s my SMC family.

How do I put a value on these relationships? I can’t. I think it was Gary Vaynerchuck who famously asked “What’s the value of your Mother?” with respect to the value of social media, well, that’s how I feel about Social Media Club.

So when people ask me why I joined or why they should join, my question is usually: what are you looking to get out of it?

Because SMC has “benefits,” but it’s my experience that people value relationships more and SMC is a great way to build, enhance and develop relationships. If you’re not looking for trusted collaborators, mentors, partners, or to develop your own thought-leadership then SMC probably isn’t for you. And that’s OK.

We’re cool with growing with the right people. Who get it and share it with each other.

About the author:
Tara Coomans (@taracoomans) is the co-membership chair for Social Media Club. Tara served two terms as the first elected president of the Hawaii Chapter of Social Media Club and remains active on the Board of Directors. She is a professional communications and marketing strategist. Tara specializes in helping companies identify and integrate today’s digital marketing and communication strategies into marketing, PR and customer service.