SmartBrief exhibited for the first time at this year’s ASAE Annual Meeting, held Aug. 7 to 9 in St. Louis, and when our team wasn’t on the floor meeting with current partners and speaking with potential new ones, I attended many of the education sessions focused on membership, marketing and communication.
One of the most effective session formats, which consistently drew standing-room-only crowds, featured multiple ideas from a variety of panelists — each limited to a minute or less (in some cases, 15 seconds or less). Here are 11 tips — many are a combination of two or three speakers’ ideas — from a session called “60 Ideas in 60 Minutes for Marketing Your Association in a Social Media Age”:
- Ask why members join. Have people share the reasons why they are members. These testimonials can be featured as part of your website, Flickr feed or even a video series posted on your YouTube channel.
- Offer unique discounts. Ask exhibitors to offer member-only discounts at association events — for a limited time. Vendors can build the marketing into their booths, as well as pre- and post-show marketing, to drive traffic and boost sales.
- Add social recognition. Use social products, such as branded badges, to reward and recognize volunteer and member online community efforts.
- “We missed you.” Send a postcard to non-attendees/non-members during your annual event with messaging that spins ahead to next year’s meeting.
- Tap the executive team. Get them blogging or hosting Twitter chats with members and the industry as a whole. Members and potential members enjoy the transparency.
- Create a speakers’ network. Share a portion of the revenue from meetings/webinars with speakers/content leaders who promote the events to their communities in advance.
- Go online with offline. Tweet or blog about upcoming print publications, such as research in quarterly journals — without violating your own embargo rules — to stir excitement and conversations.
- Populate your video channel with useful content. YouTube is the second most popular search engine — not Yahoo! or Bing. Make sure that members, and others, can find content from your organization there. How-to clips are popular choices.
- Brief is powerful. Produce a weekly e-newsletter — open to all readers — that includes a tip of the week. Weekly frequency is the new minimum, as it is key to any return on investment for any sponsors, as well as reader growth.
- Open your meeting. Put a live Twitter steam on your public website with posts containing the conference hashtag. Livesteam selected sessions (ASAE livestreamed this one). Have interns blog about selected sessions, with take-aways. Tag photos that attendees contribute and open those pictures to non-attendees.
- Beef up LinkedIn. You can easily add an RSS feed to your association-led LinkedIn groups that gives members something to chat about.
Image credit: Soubrette, via iStockphoto