4 Ideas For Promoting Your Association’s Conference On YouTube

Your association’s conference is a big deal. YouTube is an often under-appreciated social marketing tool for organizations. When you combine these two, they create a promotional machine that is greater than the sum of it parts. Here are just a few ways your association can use YouTube to draw more attendees and increase engagement prior to your conference.

Highlight Your Event’s Hidden Gems

Hidden gems; every conference has them. These are the smaller programs, initiatives, offerings or elements of an event that associations add to the schedule in droves, but never quite get the same play in promotional material as the bigger features. It may be a job board beside the registration desk or a special networking lounge or free books or any other under appreciated feature.

Create a video explaining these smaller perks that attendees can expect to get at the conference. Videos are more engaging than blocks of text on your conference or association website as they give attendees a visual look at what you are trying to promote. Grouping all these hidden gems together into one presentation will help elevate the event from just an ordinary “meat and potatoes” conference to a high-calibre, world-class opportunity that people will not want to miss. It highlights added value and helps attendees extract maximum return on investment.

Interview A Past Attendee

You can tell your audience your association’s conference is great until you’re blue in the face, but some people will just end up seeing you as a sort of used car salesman; only interested in separating them from their money. Hearing about the benefits of a conference from someone your members trust and can relate to is much more effective in drawing their attention and boosting attendance.

Creating this of video requires you to find a certain type of member/attendee. They have to be relatable, respected among their colleagues, been attending the event for several years and want to be vocal about their beneficial experience with the conference. Once you have found this ambassador, create a video based on an interview you had with them about their experience with the conference. Ask them about the benefits, the practicality of the programming, the networking advantages and so on. Hearing it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, will convince some skeptical members to give the conference a try.

Create A Video Scavenger Hunt

Every likes a good game and that is why gamification has become such a gigantic part of events and online marketing. A scavenger hunt is one way to leverage people’s love of mystery, reward and challenge to get them excited about your conference. One of the best parts about a scavenger hunt is that the clues can come slowly and over time, keeping the conference on your audience’s mind over a long period.

This is one idea that you can be very creative with, but one way a conference-focused video scavenger hunt could be created is to unveil new clues once a week for 3-6 weeks leading to the conference. The totality of the clues could lead to attendees finding a specific object or person at the conference, which would give them a chance to win a prize, maybe even free attendance at next year’s event. Not only does this capitalize on almost everyone’s love of games, but it establishes a series of frequent connections between your audience, your association and the conference, which increases engagement, visibility and a buzz that others will want to be part of.

Make A Trailer For Your Conference

Movie trailers are watched millions of time on YouTube, discussed, analyzed and create an overload of anticipation. Now think about what all that could mean for your conference; to have people talking about it, interacting with it and anticipating it before it happened. A trailer for your conference will tell your members what the event is all about in a fun, engaging way while highlighting key elements that will make people for likely to attend.

Creating a trailer for your conference would involve following the tried and true formula for the traditional movie trailer. It would include offering a plot, giving a glimpse of the people involved would leave a bit of mystery and anticipation with you at the end. Include speakers, attendees and staff in the video. If people see someone they know or recognize a speaker for their expertise, they will get excited about the prospect of hearing them speak. Talk about the programming and what attendees can expect, but leave a small cliffhanger in the video. All this adds up to a novel experience for your audience that they will want to be part of.

How To Turn A Negative Into A Positive When Someone Bashes A Conference Speaker On Social Media

If you’ve read any of our past posts on integrating social media into events and conferences, you’ll know that we’re big advocates of live tweeting/Facebooking/blogging/etc. Opening the door to different elements of your association’s event can help increase your reach, engagement and value among your target audience. For example, when the keynote speaker is talking to attendees, help those who couldn’t be there in person follow along by throwing out some key facts, stats or quotes on Twitter. It’s a great way to show the social media universe you care about them.

But what happens when you share a thought or two from a speaker and it doesn’t sit well with your online audience? We’ve seen it happen and it’s a reality of the game; when you open yourself up to engagement, feedback and adulation, you also open yourself up to criticism.

Conference speakers are almost always experts in their fields and are well-respected in the industry they are involved with. However not everyone is going to agree all the time and more outspoken users of social media will no doubt voice their opinion loud and clear when they disagree with a viewpoint. This can downgrade your efforts on social media, the event and the speaker and make it an unpleasant experience for all. Don’t let this potential scenario scare you away from using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other platform at your event. In fact, there are a few ways you and your association can turn the tables on harsh critics and make this unfortunate situation a win-win.

The best way to turn a negative comment into a positive is to mould it into a learning experience, one that promotes meaningful conversation and dialogue. Instead of ignoring the comment or shutting down the person who is commenting, start a conversation with them. Thank them for their thoughts and ask them why they feel the way they do or what alternative view they could offer. Be polite and invite the person to express their views in a constructive manner, rather than an outright dismissal of the speaker’s ideas.

Nothing on social media every happens in a vacuum. Other people are likely to see the critical comment and jump in with their own thoughts, perhaps even the speaker themselves. Attempt to be a moderator without taking sides. Instead, attempt to foster positive discussion and help everyone involved realize that differing views can lead to a new perspective or solution on a problem. It’s also ideal to provide people with context to the discussion taking place. Someone who doesn’t have the full story of the discussion can end up saying something volatile because they don’t have all the facts. This can be done especially well on Twitter as the platform allows you to “quote” past tweets and attach them to one of your own, thereby tying the two messages together and providing context.

The process above is an ideal outcome to a negative comment about a presenter or speaker. Unfortunately, there are some who like to take their critiques too far. This happens when the person doing the critiquing makes it personal, uses offensive language, is uninterested in a constructive discussion or veers to another, less salient point in an attempt to keep the conversation negative. In this case, always stay polite and professional if you chose to respond. Your members, attendees, speakers and partners will see your professionalism and attempt to keep the situation civil and productive which will eliminate a negative perception of your organization or the event. Always put your best foot forward and the majority of your audience will respect you for it and realize a good customer service experience when they see it.

How Associations Can Measure The Impact Of Social Media Marketing On Their Events

One of the biggest reasons associations use social media is for event promotion. It’s not hard to see why. Events are a big deal for member organizations. They make up a large portion of revenue and are one of the sole touch-points an association has with a large group of members over the course of a year. It certainly makes sense for organizations to throw a big part of their communications, including social media, behind such an element.
With this in mind, it’s important for associations to know which type of communication is working best and how to build a strategy around promoting events to maximize the resources available to them. This means that the results of an event marketing strategy on social media must be measurable in some way. The question of how to measure the impact of Twitter, Facebook, a blog, etc on conference registration and participation is crucial for the success and sustainability of associations, which is why we’ve tackled the subject in the paragraphs below.
Go With The Flow
If you are attempting to measure the impact of your association’s social media efforts on event promotion, the best place to start is by tracking the flow of online traffic. Raising awareness of your event among your target audience through social media is one thing, but converting these people from informed members to event attendees is the tangible outcome you are ultimately striving for. In order to know if this conversion is happening, you must figure out if the content you are posting online is driving traffic to sites where conference registration is taking place. One you discover how effective this path is from social media content to registration, you can start to formulate conclusions as to the success of the online communications strategy.
Tracking the flow of traffic can generally be done using Google Analytics. Accessing Google Analytics can be done yourself or by contacting your association’s website provider/management team. This tool tracks how website visitors entered the site and how they navigated around the site. Using this information, you can discover how many people came to your event’s registration page through Twitter, Facebook or blog links. More traffic to the registration page means a higher conversion rate for your social media and a higher return on investment.
Stick To Your Guns
Tracking the flow of web traffic is the primary way to tell if your social media efforts are having an impact on the success of an event, but there are a few ways to take the data your are already collecting from your online accounts and parse them to draw a better picture of your results. These pieces of data are generally used to analyze how your event is doing (or did) with engaging attendees and encouraging participation. Knowing your social media’s level of success with this task is crucial to determining if your event achieved enough buy-in to be sustainable in the long-term.
There are several specific pieces of data you can examine to discover the impact of social media on the engagement and participation of event attendees, many you may already be tracking as part of a regular reporting regimen. If your event has a hashtag, measure the number of times it was used, clicked on and what was said with the hastag. You can also track how many times your association’s posts with event-relevant content were favourited, shared or commented on. Lastly, tracking the number of target audience members (such as members or potential members) that become followers of your social media accounts in the days during and immediately after the event can help you determine if the event will have any long-term impact on the way people perceive the value they are extracting from the association.

Here’s How We Think Associations Are Going To Use Social Media In 2016

We counted down our top 10 posts of 2015 last week, so it’s only fitting that this week we look to the future and make some predictions about what the major trends in social media are going to be for associations in 2016. So sit back and relax while we try to push you ahead of the curve.

Social Will Be A Bigger Part Of Events

Events are becoming a larger portion of revenue for many associations as due structures change and the role of organizations evolve. However, members and people in just about every industry are craving something more than the regular, old annual convention. They want new formats, engaging sessions and increased value in every area of conferences. There is a definite demand for something fresh and social media is the most likely tool to supply attendees.

More associations will put a greater emphasis on their social media strategy when planning events in 2016. Not only will they up their efforts in tweeting, posting to Facebook and creating other online content, they will come up with new ways to utilize the quick, accessible and inexpensive platforms. Social media walls, gamification, contests and sessions conducted over social media (Twitter chats, periscope-streamed conferences, etc) will all be part of this revolution. Lastly, associations will pay more attention to measuring the effect of social media on registration and attendance at events in 2016. Not only will this include tracking the traffic to conference websites and the conversions that follow, but it will also constitute a huge shift in the way associations pitch the value of sponsorship to prospective supporters.

Video Will Continue To Gain Momentum

Whether it was the addition of longer video to Twitter or video-streaming platform like Periscope and Meerkat bursting onto the scene, 2015 saw a boost in video’s potential on social media. In 2016, this potential will be fully recognized. Video can now be done cheap, easy and is very inviting to not just the younger generation, but every demographic. Video will become more popular with associations, especially as they attempt to be more engaging and become more accessible and open with their content.

Videos will become the new blog for associations in the next 12 months. Instead of, or supplemental to, blogs, organizations will create videos that address the issues that matter most to members and use this content to promote their value. Associations will utilize YouTube channels much more to discuss new legislation, best practices, how to maximize membership, quarterly updates and other subjects with members. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook will all have use for associations as platforms to share smaller videos with the aim of driving traffic to the organizations’ websites. Periscope and Meerkat will also be integral parts of conferences, webinars, chats, and smaller educational and networking events as associations reconcile increased openness with the long-term benefits of growing their exposure.

Promoted/Sponsored Content Will Become Big

Promoted and sponsored content on social media is nothing new to most marketers and companies. The act of paying to increase the reach of their message or getting paid to post about content created by a third-party is one of the new norms in the business world. Not only do promoted posts get your organization front and centre in a day and age where algorithms are making it more difficult to get noticed on social media otherwise, but sponsored content provides a boost in revenue that makes paying for ads possible.

Associations will finally jump on the promoted/sponsored content bandwagon in 2016. Paid social media campaigns are easily out together and are scalable to the amount of money organizations want to spend, making it perfect for associations who have small budgets but want to dip their toe in the water of maximizing their marketing dollars. Sponsored content is the next no-brainer for associations. They are already relying on sponsors for event money and magazine and website ads; it makes complete sense to give companies a platform to create content and pay to have that content, such as a blog post or video, posted to the association’s communications outlets. Although organizations have to be very careful about how much they do this, it can offer sponsors added value and bring in much needed non-dues revenue for the association.

Year in Review: Our Top Social Media Posts for Association Professionals in 2015

Year-in-review lists are pop up all over the place at this time of year and we thought we’d jump in on the fun. Here are our top 10 posts about social media, associations and big data.

Four Types Of Culture Your Association Wants And How Social Media Can Help You Get Them

The Post In One Minute: Creating the right culture at and around your association is important to growing membership, retaining the members you have, fostering trust and encouraging innovation. Social media can help your organization create a culture of knowledge by connecting people in the industry with information from the association or other sources. It can also create a culture of customer service and community by connecting members with quick answers to questions and by sparking conversation between colleagues. Finally, it creates a culture of excellence by making it easier to recognize members for their accomplishments and highlight the association’s role in their success.

The Post In One Sentence: “Good association culture is not a new thing and social media alone doesn’t create a culture of success, but it can highlight it, underline it and put an exclamation at the end of it.”

5 Ways to Integrate Social Media into your Association’s Next Membership Drive

The Post In One Minute: Membership drives are important as this is the time when most associations put the bulk of their resources into recruiting and retaining members for the upcoming year. Integrating social media into this process requires associations to break down their target audience by need/want and tailor their social media content to those necessities. The article outlines five different member segments; the long-time member, the lapsed member, the never-been-a-member member, the new-to-the-industry member and the business member. The piece explored the different perspective of each group and how to use social media content to connect with them on their level to highlight the association’s value.

The Post In One Sentence: “It’s vital that organizations think about their different audiences when it comes time for a membership drive and tailor their communications to each segment.”

Grading Your Organization’s Social Media Efforts: The 5 Cs of Success

The Post In One Minute: Analysis is a constant in life. Just like you have to frequently check your mirrors and blind spot while driving, it’s crucial to keep yourself updated on the success (or lack thereof) of your association’s social media accounts. This article outlined the five Cs by which you can start to grade your social media efforts. Consistency (how often you post) was first, followed by creativity (how original and engaging is your content). Completeness (the degree of detail in your account’s design and layout) came next and then calculation (how often you measure your goals and progress towards them). The last C we covered was crowd (who your audience is made of and how many are in your target demographics).

The Post In One Sentence: “Whether you’re a veteran or a relative newcomer to any (social media) platform, grading yourself on strategy and results is crucial to growing, improving and benefiting your organization as a whole.”

How Social Media Can Help Your Association Attract The Next Generation Of Members

The Post In One Minute: Yes, we know, you’ve heard the term ‘Millennial’ so many times, it’s starting to lose meaning. But recruiting this younger demographic is important to the sustainability of your association. Surveys say that Millennials value education, networking and access to professional articles, publications and best practices above all else. The bottom line is, Millennials love information. Social media is a great way to connect this younger generation with the information they crave. When your association is doing the connecting, it becomes valuable to these young potential members, making it likely that they see long-term value in your organization.

The Post In One Sentence: “Once (Millennials) realize the value of your organization as a way to gain information, they will be more likely to invest in the association’s other offerings to members, such as events, webinars and mentorship programs, which can be a great way to increase non-dues revenue.”

5 Places To Find The Best Content For Your Social Media Accounts

The Post In One Minute: Rooting around on the internet for social media content can be quite a chore for the busy association professional. We tried to help a little by uncovering five places where great content might be hiding. The first resource was hashtags, which help you connect to the content your audience finds most valuable. The next was the other offline communication channels your association puts out, like magazine and newsletters. The article also pointed out that your association can take trending topics or the latest news story and find an angle that is relevant to its members. Your association can also ask its staff or board members for any interesting tidbits they might know about. Lastly, the article says to not be afraid to create your own content. Make a video, write a blog or create an infographic and then share it all over the place.

The Post In One Sentence: “There’s a common phrase used to explain a basic principle of social media that says content is king; however, the platitude doesn’t mean a whole lot if the throne is empty.”

Integrating Elements of Gamification Into Your Association’s Social Media Strategy

The Post In One Minute: Gamification is an oft-used buzzword these days, but the concept of using games to engage people in an initiative is a long standing one. Including elements of gamification your association’s social media efforts can have a profound affect on the involvement of your target audience. The first element you can include is mystery which can be achieved by asking an association-oriented trivia question or initiating an online scavenger hunt. The second element is reward, which can be achieved by starting a social media content (such as nominating topics for a webinar and voting for the best idea) and giving a prize to the winner. The last element was storytelling which can be achieved by following around a first-time attendee at your conference and dedicating Instagram to their experience or even just live-tweeting an event.

The Post In One Sentence: “The opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression.”

Four Micro-volunteering Opportunities For Association Members On Social Media

The Post In One Minute: Micro-volunteering is all the rage among associations and their members, especially the younger ones. As work life becomes busier, members aren’t so keen to put more on their plate by volunteering for time-consuming committees or long-term projects. Social media offers a chance to give members an opportunity to do small, manageable tasks that help their professional development and the association at the same time. Members can moderate a Twitter roundtable or Twitter chat, be a “guest-manager” on one of your social media accounts for a day, cover an event through your association’s platforms (live-tweet, live-blog, Instagram, etc) or take part in “social media tag” which means giving a shout out to your association and passing it on.

The Post In One Sentence: “Moderating a Twitter round table is a perfect way to include a senior member in a micro-volunteer position, capitalize on his/her clout among other professionals and add value for members by sharing the expertise of the moderator.”

Three Ways Associations Can Increase Value for Sponsors Through Social Media

The Post In One Minute: Sponsors and the money they bring in are an integral part of an association’s short-term and long-term success. Social media can be a key cog in boosting value for sponsors, making it more attractive for these contributors to keep giving and for new ones to start a partnership with your organization. Your association can highlight the benefits of a sponsored program in a quantifiable way with an infographic, thus attracting more attention to the sponsor. Creating a unique hashtag for a sponsored event or initiative that mentions the sponsor is another great way to continually boost the profile of a sponsor. Lastly, teaming up with a sponsor to do a social media contest is a great way for everyone to win and to broaden the reach of the sponsor’s brand.

The Post In One Sentence: “By telling stories on social media about a sponsor’s contribution, you are giving them more exposure to your association’s members, industry stakeholders and the public, broadening their reach and encouraging others to interact with their brand.”

The 80/20 Rule And Why It’s Crucial For Social Media Success

The Post In One Minute: Here’s how the 80/20 rule on social media goes; 80 per cent of the content you post should not be a direct sales pitch and the other 20 per cent should be a direct pitch. No one wants to hear about how awesome your association is all the time, they want to see why you’re so awesome. The best way to show this value is by providing valuable, engaging content that your target audience is going to want to see every time they come online. Find the content that your members are wanting to see and post it. Once you have their attention, feel free to sneak in a little promotional material from time to time. People will respond better when they know that your organization is not only focused on extracting money out of them, but also providing an great experience they can engage with.

The Post In One Sentence: ” People are more willing to visit your Facebook page, share your tweet or like your Instagram post (thus increasing exposure) if the bulk of content is something that engages them and doesn’t attempt to embark on a one-sided sales pitch.”

What’s Wrong With This Picture?: Analyzing a Benchmarking Report About Associations and Social Media

The Post In One Minute: Marketing General Inc. released a benchmarking report in November detailing the social media efforts of associations. Among the interesting takeaways we pulled from the report were that blogs were being underutilized by organizations (only 26% maintained a blog). Furthermore, associations were relying too heavily on the number of likes, follows, etc., to tell them if they were having online success when they should be looking at other, more significant data, like interactions and impressions. Lastly, we concluded that too few associations were posting properly on Facebook with almost less than a third of organizations posting between one a day and one a week; otherwise known as the Goldilocks Zone (because it’s just the right amount).

The Post In One Sentence: “Measuring the impact of your social media efforts on (likes, follows, etc) alone would be like a doctor looking at a patient’s outward appearance for five seconds before declaring them absolutely healthy, only to realize later that the patient has some terrible disease only visible upon further examination.”

How Twitter’s New Polling Feature Can Help Associations Boost Their Marketing Efforts

Twitter has recently undergone a minor facelift, refreshing its look a bit, adding some new tools and rejigging old ones (turning the ‘favourite’ button into a ‘like’ button) in the platform’s ongoing attempt to appeal to social media users.

One of the more interesting parts of this refresh is Twitter’s addition of a polling feature. Facebook users have long had access to a survey-like tool that allows them to measure whether friends want to play board games or drinking games at their next party and Twitter seems to have finally caught on to the usefulness of this type of feature.

Not only is the new Twitter Poll tool fun to use and experiment with, it could also be quite useful to associations. If you’re interested in boosting your organization’s social media strategy and strengthening its efforts in other areas, check out the three ways Twitter Polling can help:

It Can Give You More Data

Content might be king on the front lines of marketing, but data reigns supreme when it comes to building a sustainable, successful strategy for associations. Twitter polls can act as a tool to collect stats and numbers that your organization can use to improve its various initiatives, events and services and attract members.

There are a variety of ways in which associations can get more data from Twitter polls. After all, you just have to ask a question, sit back and see how your audience responds and then act on the information provides. For example, you can ask your followers what part of their job keeps them up at night and provide some options. The answers will help you get a better sense of what problems your members are facing, which will help your association work towards providing solutions (and “solutions” is another word for value). You can build your conference education, webinars and benefits program out of the responses from this question.

Just remember, sample size counts. You can ask the question several times in different ways to make sure you get a total response representative of your membership. Encourage comments and discussion around the results as well to get a broader outlook on the issues your members care about most.

It Can Boost Member Engagement

Member Engagement is the holy grail of association marketing. It’s nice to have lots of people join the organization, but if they aren’t involved, engaged and making the most of their membership, its hard to prove the association’s value, which threatens retention rates. Twitter polls are just one more small way to increase member engagement and bring awareness to the association’s value.

First thing’s first, the very act of asking a question encourages members to get involved by answering. It is an easy way for people to engage with the association without having to fill out a long survey, volunteer on a committee or attend an event. It is the epitome of micro-volunteering. The next step in this process is to act on the responses from the poll. If you ask in a poll what subjects should be the basis of a conference education program and then take the suggestions from your Twitter audience, members will feel like they have made a difference and have a voice in the direction of the association. When people see results from their engagement, they are more likely to keep on participating and finding value in their investment.

Your association can also increase member engagement by simply highlighting some of the services it offers with a Twitter poll. Ask your audience which service they find most helpful. Some members might not even know these services exist. Knowing a service exists will make it infinitely more likely that members use the service and engage with the association.

It Can Provide More Content

Data and member engagement are useful tools for your association and will help it benefit in the long-term, but sometimes you just need to help your members have fun in the here and now. Twitter polls can provide your organization with some great content to use across its multiple communication channels to make flat, clunky-looking content more visually appealing.

Twitter poll questions don’t need to be completely serious all the time. Ask your audience a fun question about their job or the industry. Take their responses and create a visual display of the data for the organization’s e-newsletter, magazine or website. Post the results on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media platform and ask for comments or stories. You may even get an idea for an article or author (or both) from the responses that you can add to your communication channels.

In the end, you have to be able to mix the promotional efforts, attempts at gaining member insight and a fun element to use Twitter polls effectively. The more content you can produce without utilizing a great deal of resources, the more cost-effective your association can be at engaging its community and providing value that will go a long way to retaining members.

How Associations Can Use Video Streaming To Provide More Value and Increase Engagement

Videos have become a largely effective tool for generating engagement on social media platforms. YouTube is churning out tens of millions of views and a new viral video every day and it’s been proven that Twitter and Facebook posts with videos get more engagement than those that don’t on average. So videos are great, but people are always looking for the next big thing, and video streaming might just be it. This mode of online networking has exploded in popularity recently and changed the way people are communicating through their computer and mobile devices.

If you’re unfamiliar with video streaming services, they are online applications that allow users to connect with people or events in real time through live video. For example, Skype is one of the most well-established video streaming services that allows users to have a conversation using video via their computers or mobile devices. Since video streaming has taken the social media world by storm in the last year or so, we’ve taken a look at three of the most popular services and how associations can use them to increase their value and engage with members.

Periscope and Meerkat

How It Works

Both apps allow users to live stream video through their mobile devices so their Twitter or Facebook audience can see what they are recording in real time. In the words of Periscope’s website, the company wants people to be able to “…(discover) the world through someone else’s eyes.”

What It Means For Associations

There is a world of possibilities open to associations through the use of Periscope and Meerkat. The most obvious application for associations is the ability to live stream conferences, networking events or other big get-togethers and educational offerings. However, these events are a big source of non-dues revenue that members pay big money to in order to get exclusive content or access, so providing it all for free might ruffle some feathers. It may be wise to stick to live streaming certain portions of these events, such as the opening ceremonies, award ceremonies or the entertainment on party nights.

Another way associations can use Periscope or Meerkat is to connect members and others in the industry to information that makes the association valuable. For example, a live stream of a big announcement can turn a simple press release into a virtual news conference. The live streaming services can also be used to help members “attend” the Annual General Meeting or get an inside look at a committee meeting.

Blab

How It Works

Blab is like Skype on steroids. Or maybe it’s like a Twitter chat on steroids. Actually, it’s a bit of both. The live video app allows users to sign in with their Twitter credentials and have a video chat with participants. While the video portion only allows for four people to talk at one time (which are chosen by the moderator), there is a live-chat portion that allows for questions, comments and feedback to be posted by others.

What It Means For Associations

Blab has the potential to be the next step in the evolution of Twitter chats. We’ve covered how these online, real time chats can be used by associations, but Blab takes it to the next level. With video, participants don’t need to limit their character count to 140 and can make a more in-depth point on a topic. The app’s popularity rating element, wherein participants in the conversation can give “feels” (a virtual thumbs up if you will) to the video participant they feel is making the best points or has the best content, is a great way for associations to connect eager members to a source of all-important networking. It rewards members who participate, have something good to say and it gives more exposure to their awesome point of view.

Blab is also a great way to have a virtual round table discussion. Round tables are a mainstay on conference programs, but Blab gives associations an option of hosting multiple round table discussions between the large annual events. The added benefit of Blab is that a round table on the app would take the average, in-person round table that is only passive for attendees and turn it into a huge opportunity for engagement. Instead of simply sitting and listening to four people speak, participants can ask questions, provide instant feedback and rate the participants.

Google Hangouts

How It Works

Google Hangouts was one of the first services to break onto the video streaming scene. It allows for live chats using video and typed text for up to 10 people. Users can connect using their computer or mobile device through their Google accounts (Gmail, Google+, etc).

What It Means For Associations

The most useful way associations can use Google Hangouts is to replace smaller seminar sessions or webinars. Many associations plan educational offerings throughout the year to connect members with information on topics that will help them progress in their career or industry. Google Hangouts allows associations to avoid the overhead expenses associated with these seminars, such as renting a meeting space and providing meals to attendees. Recruiting a speaker to give a Google Hangout talk on an important subject is a great way to provide education and generate some non-dues revenue.

Another way associations can use Google Hangouts is to coordinate volunteers. Managing volunteers is especially hard for those organizations that cover a larger geographical area. Google Hangouts allows for the volunteers to connect with one another and talk about their contributions to the association in real time while providing that all-important networking element. This works particularly well if your association is trying to explain visual elements to volunteers, such as where they need to be during an event or what the new website layout looks like so they can give feedback, comments or ideas.