10 Things Associations Can Say With Video, In Honour of YouTube’s 10th Birthday

My, how time flies.

It seems like just yesterday that a young YouTube was entertaining us with Charlie Bit My Finger and Double Rainbow Man while making our mouths water with all the marketing and awareness opportunities it presented. And now YouTube is 10-years-old.

The video-viewing platform has aged well and is still be a terrific option for associations looking to engage with its members. In fact, we have put together 10 examples of how your association can talk to members through YouTube in honour of this milestone. Here they are:

“Look How Our Staff Helps You Every Day”

It’s easy for your members to see your association as a series of circles on their calendar. April is the month to pay dues. July is the summer networking event. November is the yearly conference. YouTube is a great way to show people that your organization is more than just the sum of these flashy events. One way to do this; create a “Day In The Life of Our Office” video. Show members what your staff do every day, what projects and services they are working on and how they define success for members and the association as a whole.

“Here’s How You Can Get The Most Out Of Your Membership”

Members usually have a tough time justifying the expense of membership if they aren’t using the services that come along with it. Sometimes, the reason for this is they don’t know what services are best and how to access them. Underline the value of membership and help members develop their careers by creating a video or a series of videos that highlight lesser-used services or a package of benefits and showing members how to get the most out of them. It will be a small investment with a potentially huge return.

“Our Annual Conference Is Pretty Awesome for Members”

Your annual conference is awesome; you know, your staff know it and your planning committee knows it. Members might not know it, yet. Similar to membership, conferences are often a big expense that people can’t justify without knowing what exactly their getting. Next time you go to your conference, come prepared with a camera. Film all the different aspects of your event, capture what sets your association apart and interview attendees. Put it all together and showcase the sights and sounds of your conference. It will help your association make a more vibrant pitch to members who are on the fence.

“Check Out How Valuable Exhibitors Think Our Trade Show Is”

It’s getting tougher and tougher to convince potential exhibitors that paying for space at your trade show is worth it to them, especially with social media opening up quick and inexpensive opportunities for businesses to reach clients. Nothing will help persuade them to make the investment like hearing the return on investment from a competitor. Create a testimonial-type video with a number of exhibitors mentioning the benefits of your association’s trade show. Interview attendees about the value of the trade show as well. Businesses may not listen to your association, but they will listen to customers.

“This One Member Is Pretty Awesome For These Reasons”

Everyone likes to be recognized. Your association is in the unique position to give exceptional members some attention. In doing so, your organization is setting itself apart by providing members a spotlight in a competitive industry or by simply being known as an organization that rewards loyal, hard-working members. If you hear of a member who has done something interesting or has achieved a big goal, ask them if you can profile them with a video. Tell their story and show other industry members how much more exposure they can gain through your association.

“Learn A Little Something About Our Board Members”

Your Board of Directors is a large influence on your association. The decisions it makes affect every aspect of the membership experience. If your members don’t know your Board, they can’t understand or believe in the choices they make. Creating a video introducing your Board to members is a great way to make your association’s governance more relateable. Videos are an especially handy tool for when a big, association-changing decision is made. You can write press releases all day explaining the logic behind the choice, but hearing it directly from the top (your Board) helps members get used to it faster.

“Look At Our Advocacy Efforts And How They Benefit You”

Associations can set themselves apart through advocacy. The logic behind effective lobbying is “strength in numbers” and this is what associations provide. However, the value of advocacy is often abstract for not easily quantified. Therefore, showing members how your association has their back on important legislative issues with video can add proof to your organization’s claims of value. Create quick clips of your association’s trip to government, film a press conference to make it easier for media to access and interview members on the issues that matter most to them.

“Here’s What We’re Doing For Young Members and Students”

It’s great to recognize long-time members, but it’s also crucial to attract the next generation of professionals to ensure the long-term health of your association. Create a video showing how young members can thrive by joining and participating in the organization. Film events your association provides for young professionals, showcase the awards available for students or interview a younger member about why they feel your association is valuable and a great tool to climb the ladder.

“Check Out This New Member Service, It’ll Help You Out”

Here’s the scenario; your association has just come out with a new service for members and all the staff is excited to launch it. There’s only one problem; your members don’t know anything about the new service. A video will add to your marketing and awareness efforts by explaining to members how to get the most out of this new service. Videos are a useful tool for this purpose because it can provide a explanation for members without overwhelming them with page after page of words while helping them with the addition of visuals, including charts, graphics and point form guides.

“This One Veteran Member Is A Star Of The Industry, Hear Us Interview Him”

Veteran members are a great source of compliments for your association. Your association has probably been a valuable resource for this member which is likely the reason they have stayed with you for so long. Film a short interview with this veteran member and talk with them about their accomplishments. Ask them about their commitment to the association and how it has helped them develop professionally. Hearing the value of your organization from a trusted colleague in the industry will help convince potential members that it’s worth following their lead.

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

There are two types of members when it comes to membership drives; those your association wants to retain and those your association wants to recruit.

While this is simplifying things a little too much, it does highlight a significant point for associations and their membership strategy. 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.

Social media is one communications tool that associations can effectively use to connect with different demographics during a membership drive. Just like other media, online platforms don’t follow the one-size-fits-all motto. That’s why we’ve taken a look at the five people your association encounters during a membership drive and how to draw them to your organization through social media.

The Loyal Member

Everyone likes a little recognition, especially members who have invested in your association time and again. Social media give your organization a perfect platform to offer these members something in return.

Your association can profile a long-time member on its blog or in a video. It’s also a great idea to post about loyal members on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms during a membership drive. For example, tweet that a member has been a part of the association for 30 years and one interesting fact about them. Not only does this show loyal members that they are appreciated, it also highlights your association’s culture of recognition and shows others that they will be rewarded if they stick with the organization year after year.

The Lapsed Member

These are the members that your association has an on-again off-again relationship with. They were members for a bit, but haven’t paid the dues in a year or two. They’ve seen what your organization can do and didn’t find it worth their while. This where social media can team up with other communication tools and win back the hearts of lapsed members.

To create an effective social media strategy around lapsed members for membership drives, you first have to find out why they left in the first place. Using surveys or good old fashioned telephone calls can help you pinpoint the issues that created a rift between your association and lapsed members. Once you have this information, build your social media strategy around showing lapsed members how your organization has improved. For example, if lapsed members say they didn’t get enough out of events/conferences, create how-to videos on best practices in networking and getting the most value out of your association’s events/conference. Share these videos on several platforms and make lapsed members reconsider.

The Long-Time Non-Member

There are some people who aren’t members and have never been. These are the people that associations crave during a membership drive, but are often the hardest to attract. The reason for this reluctance usually focuses on a perceived lack of value that membership provides an individual. Social media, specifically infographics, can be a strong force in reversing this type of thinking.

Infographics jazz up the cold, hard numbers in an easily-readable, informative format, which makes it ideal to prove value to skeptical potential members. Crunch the available numbers on the value of benefits, programs and events and repackage them to create a positive overall picture of how your association helps members. For example, create a chart comparing the yearly spending of non-members vs. members, calculate the total savings and input it into the infographic. Infographics can be shared on almost any social media platform, which makes it a great way to reach a lot of people in any given industry and dispel any myths about a lack of value.

The New Non-Member

These are the fresh-faced individuals who are new to the industry and who your association will have to woo with a great first impression during a membership drive. Most of these potential members are part of a younger generation and are focused on networking to create a good foundation for their career. This makes for an interesting opportunity for your association on social media.

LinkedIn is a popular social media platform for young professionals looking to network and make a mark in an industry. Creating a LinkedIn group, posting articles and starting conversations is a great way to include young professionals and reinforce a culture of accessibility, customer service and learning. Moderating Twitter chats are another way to connect young professionals to industry veterans through your association and establish your organization as the go-to resource for career development. Writing blogs about relevant issues for young professionals can also highlight your association’s commitment to those who just entered the profession.

The Business Member

Industry professionals probably make up the bulk of your association’s membership, but business members (those who provide services to your main membership group) can be a crucial part of your revenue strategy and membership drive. Social media is a great way to convince potential business members to invest in your association.

One of the best ways to showcase the association’s value to business members is for companies to hear it from other companies. This means a simple guest blog can work wonders. Write a blog post that includes an interview with a current business member or, even better, recruit a loyal business member to write their own post. Focus the post on the benefits available to business members and how to best access these benefits. You can also present value in an infographic about trade show stats, sponsorship opportunities and other services.

Let’s Face It, Social Media Might Be A Loss Leader For Your Association, But It’s A Leader Nonetheless

First thing’s first; social media can have a great return on investment for your association. It might not always be the traditional, financial, X-number-of-retweets-equal-Y-amount-of-revenue. It could have a money-focused tinge to it, but where organizations are going to see the biggest impact is in the formation of first impressions.

Let’s get the terminology out of the way right now. For those who don’t know what a loss leader is, it’s a product or service offered by an organization that doesn’t directly increase profit, but gets people in the door and investing in other areas. For example, companies will sell printers at a loss in order to stimulate sales of their ink cartridges. Social media can act much the same way.

Here’s the scenario; a non-member is on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/etc., and sees a colleague retweet/share/like a post from your association. The content they see from your account interests them or is a helpful resource. This may be their first impression of your association in action or their first impression of your association ever. They may connect with your account, see the value of the organization and invest in a membership, service or event. In that way, your association may bring in a handful of members through the great first impression it presents on social media. After all, people go online these days to meet information and its sources.

It’s great that social media brought new members into the fold, but let’s be honest, the revenue gained from these new members does not equal the money spent on it. However, word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. If one person has a great experience with your association, they will tell colleagues, clients or staff. This may lead to further investments in membership and increased revenue. This great experience started with a great first impression; a warm, helpful greeting as a non-member enters into your association’s house. This warm greeting is called social media.

Let’s face it, social media might be a loss leader for your association. You might spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on it every year and not see that money come back to your organization in the form of direct revenue. That’s okay. It’s a service that your association offers to help members. It’s a tool to shine a spotlight on your association and its benefits. It’s an avenue to engage members and non-members alike as well as start a conversation with sponsors and policy makers. All those elements combine to bring people into the door, to drive traffic to your website and its registration page and give your community a chance to voice their positive feedback in a public forum.

Loss leader isn’t a dirty word. Yes, it implies your organization might lose money on this particular activity, but it also implies that it’s a leader. Social media can help lead your association on the right path, it can help guide members and non-members to the most helpful resources you have and it can give a boost to other areas of your organization’s revenue strategy.

How Social Media Can Help Your Organization Prove Its Value

Bang for buck, return on investment, your money’s worth; it doesn’t matter what you call it, the importance of value to your clientele cannot be overstated.

Whether it’s members, donors or customers, it’s crucial for your organization to highlight its value to them. After all, they’re investing their hard-earned cash on your products and services.

Most organizations do provide as much value as they can, but it’s figuring out how to show this value that can be difficult. Words can make believers of some, but sometimes that doesn’t cut it. Visuals can be a powerful source of proof, but even those fall short sometimes. Videos can oftentimes act as the looking glass onto value. The great thing about social media is, you don’t have to pick just one of these mediums, you can combine all three!

Words

The written word is a powerful tool for your organization to underline the value it provides to its community. Fortunately, there is no shortage of opportunities on social media to use words creatively and effectively for this purpose.

Twitter may only allow you to write 140 characters per post, but even though each tweet is one drop in the bucket, it fills it up fast. Live-tweeting an event or initiative is one way words can have an impact on your community’s perception of your value. For example, if your association is advocating by conducting a lobby day, live-tweeting the process puts all the work the organization is doing into perspective. When, at first, a member may see a advocacy as a vague term holding little value, clear, brief and specific details, as they happen, will give members something more tangible. It also allows members to have more say in the process, adding value to their membership.

What Twitter does in 140 characters, blogs can do more in-depth. Having a blog section on your organization’s website allows for stories to be told about the work your organization is doing and how it is adding value to peoples’ lives. For example, conducting an interview with a customer, member or donor about their experiences with an event, benefit or product doesn’t just tell the rest of your community how valuable you are, but shows them with the words of someone who is relateable and has the same goals and needs as them.

Visuals

Visuals, like photos or infographics, can drive the value point home to many members of your community. Visuals are engaging and help put meaning to the words and phrases people hear over and over again.

Infographics are great tools to use when you have a lot of nifty data that proves your value, but you don’t exactly know how to present it to your community. Data is powerful, as many of your members, customers or donors want to quantify how your organization is of value to them. Instead of running through a list of numbers, infographics make these figures visual and engaging. For example, if you want to show how much a professional will save as a member as opposed to a non-member, charting it out with an infographic will draw the attention of individuals and make it easier for them to see your organization’s value without having to wade through long lines of text or large strings of calculations.

Photos can also act a way to highlight how your community’s contributions have resulted in something concrete and valuable. Posting albums to Facebook, images to Pinterest or snapshots on Instagram allows people to see what they getting for their money or time. For example, posting photos of your organization’s trip to build a school in a foreign country or deliver products to a local hospital gives donors a clear vision of how they are helping and where their investment is going. It also allows them to comment on and share in the experience even when they are not physically there, which also provides value.

Videos

Videos are to pictures what blogs are to words; they offer organization’s a platform to deliver more in-depth explanations and bring smaller chunks of information to life. This allows you to tell the story of your organization’s value in a more useful and engaging way.

We have explained in-depth about the advantages that how-to videos can give your organization when providing and explaining value for your community. Along with how-tos, short video interviews with members or staff showcase your organization in action, gives a look at the effectiveness of your products/services and highlights the work being done by staff or volunteers to make your organization the best it can be. For example, making a short video of a “day in the life” of a staff member shows your community how your organization is striving every day to make their lives better. The personal angle, along with engaging visuals and relevant detail helps your community get a better perspective on the value your organization provides.

Shorter snippets, such as the 6-second Vine videos, can also be used by association, non-profits and small businesses to show value. While these videos don’t necessarily give your community a lot of detail and information, they act as a teaser and provide your audience a sense of potential for value. For example, if your small business is having a sale, a Vine or Instagram video of some of the merchandise on sale will pique the interest of your audience and show them the potential value of their visit.

The Five Types of Videos That Will Better Engage Your Association’s Membership

There’s a reason FaceTime and Skype are popular communication apps; it’s always better when you see the face that matches the voice.

The above statement can help association’s learn a little something about connecting with members. Every organization has a voice they strive to speak with and that voice is developed over time through newsletters, advocacy, magazines, websites, events and similar communication initiatives. When association’s do it well, members come to recognize and trust this voice. However, putting faces to that voice can be a key piece in raising your association to the next level. Videos are a great way to accomplish this goal.

Videos can come in all shapes and sizes. So which videos are the right ones for associations? We’ve put together a few examples that can help you cover important angles of your organization and better engage members.

Highlighting Members and Their Achievements

Members are the lifeblood of any association. Without members, there is no organization. Every benefit, every event and every project is based on helping members grow and be successful. But you knew all of that already. Videos can help your organization highlight members, their contribution to the industry and society and draw attention to your association’s part in that success. A video will give your members a platform to speak about their accomplishments. It will also help people realize that you are focused on helping professionals excel. A video is important as it puts a face to the name and it allows others tell the community about the importance of your association instead of it coming from the association itself, which can often be tuned out.

Event Previews and Recaps

Events serve two main purposes; to give members a chance to learn and network and to capture a big percentage of your association’s non-due revenues. Drawing people to events is never a cakewalk, especially if you are a national association that has to persuade members to spend money traveling and attending. Videos can help your organization engage members and play a part in promoting key events.

An event preview video can come in the form of a digital tour of the venue, presenters talking about their sessions, or a long-time attendee talking about the value they get from the event. An event recap can be a bit more fun and creative, showing all elements of the event. It will appeal to an attendee’s nostalgia and encourages promotion of future events through word of mouth.

Welcome to the Office

Long-time members, new members and potential members of your association all want to know that the people working for them are dedicated, passionate and focused. Your staff are the ones working behind the scenes to ensure the organization is living to its promises and creating the best experience for members. A video can help put this into perspective for members and can go where words often cannot when describing the importance of the association.

Videos that introduce members and potential members to the association can focus on a Day-in-the-Life theme to highlight exactly what the staff does to improve the organization, or it can an introduction of the staff with them explaining what the association means to them. These sort of videos are a warm welcome to new members, familiarizes existing members with staff and provides a human element to the organization for potential members.

How-to Guides

The value of a good how-to cannot be overstated. Your members come to your association because they want to achieve more in their careers and help grow the industry. Your association is probably giving them the tools to accomplish this, but they may not be clear on how to use these tools most effectively. This is where how-to videos come in handy.

A how-to video can help members access the right programs/benefits for their goals, it can help them take advantage of the initiatives your association has instituted and it can help guide them through processes that may seem complicated at first. For example, if one of your association’s benefits is a certification program, a video showing the steps involved in achieving this certification and how to complete them can be advantageous to members who may be confused by the process. This will help members receive greater value for their money and will allow your association to see a greater return on investment.

Association News and Accomplishments

We’re guessing that your association achieves a lot. It has probably helped its members’ profession rise to new levels and redefined what it means to be part of the industry’s community. But does anyone really even half of everything the association has achieved? Maybe or maybe not. With a video, the answer leans more toward a for sure.

Videos are a great way to tell a story about the latest developments on your association. You can illustrate how the organization met with politicians to lobby on its members’ behalf, or showcase a new technology that members can use. Videos are an engaging way to showcase what can seem like mundane news because their images are engaging and capture the attention of members. So next time you need some more awareness of your association’s news, try a video on for size.

The Pros and Cons of Private Social Media Networks for Non-profits

Private social networks have been around for a while, but have recently become more popular with both brands and individuals. This growing trend in private communities has meant an uptick in the diversity of platforms and the features they offer.

This growth is definitely worth paying attention to if you’re in the non-profit and association world. These private platforms have untapped potential for organizations looking for any advantage they can in providing value to their communities. But with great reward comes great risk and there are many things to consider before jumping onto a private network.

So before your organization leaves its Twitter account or Facebook page for a newer, hotter platform, check out the pros and cons for starting a private social media network.

Pro: Private social networks protect the benefits of membership. The old saying, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free, is a main reason people might not be joining your association. If a non-member is able to get the same value as a member from your social media efforts, it only adds to this rationale. Having a members-only social network gives more incentive for non-members to join to get access. It also provides more value to existing members and makes them feel like part of an exclusive group.

Con: You can’t connect with people who aren’t members. The whole purpose of a private network is to restrict your audience to just those investing in your organization. This makes it pretty much impossible to use your private network to highlight or promote member benefits or your organization’s events to non-members. Having a loyal membership is amazing, but your organization may stagnate if you aren’t trying to bring new members into the fold.

Pro: Only people who are passionate about relevant topics will join, which will probably lead to great content quality. If your non-profit only allows those who are passionate about a cause or industry onto your private platform, the content you share, and is being shared by others, is going to be high-calibre. Everyone in the group benefits when the content is better and your organization gains a reputation of providing accessible, informative material for members.

Con: Your content may be better, but at what cost? Operating private networks, along with any other social media accounts your organization might operate, takes a greater commitment of time and money. Some of these networks also cost money to set up, especially if you build a custom platform. While the return may justify the investment for some non-profits and associations, not all organizations have the resources to find out.

Pro: The content you share on a private network can be more targeted. Your organization already has a group of people who are interested in your industry or cause by their very participation in your non-profit and in your private network. Reaching out to these people can be more targeted as you know their interests, passions and career arc. You may even receive more engagement, as there is a more personal feeling on private networks than other types of social media.

Con: It takes extra effort for your audience and yourself. Chances are, your audience is already on the “open” social networks, like Twitter and Facebook. Signing up for a private network, accessing it and checking it daily can turn into an unnecessary hassle. The same can be said for yourself. Not only do you need to take the time to create a great account, but you also have to promote the fact that this private community exists, which means more time and money without any guarantee of success.

Kinds of Private Online Communities

1. Private-Public Platforms

These are the platforms that most people know and love, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs. These social networks are most often public, but also provide the option to make your account private. You have an invite only LinkedIn group, a locked Twitter account that filters followers and a blog that is only available through a members-only portion of your website.

2. Stand-alone Private Platforms

These are the social media networks that are built to house private communities. There are many of them, most geared toward specific uses, such as professional associations or even teachers and their classrooms. A few of the more popular ones include Path, 23Snaps and Everyme.

The Good, the Bad and the Useless: The Latest Social Media Features and the Pros and Cons for Non-profits

Social media can do many things for non-profit organizations. One of those things is keep you on your toes.

The different platforms are always introducing new features and tweaking existing ones in order to provide users with the best, most engaging experience. Associations and other non-profits need to keep up to date on these changes in order to maximize their effectiveness on social media. After all, some of these changes could mean a huge boost to your organization. However, others may be bad or just downright useless for your organization.

To help you decide which is which, we’ve put together a list of some of the most recent new features on the major social media sites and broke down the pros and cons for each one through the eyes of a non-profit.

Twitter Mute

What Are We Talking About: The mute feature allows Twitter users to silence chosen accounts they follow. In other words, if you don’t want to see any tweets from someone, you can mute them and poof, they’re gone from your Twitter feed.

Pros: The mute feature could de-clutter your Twitter feed. If you connect with a Twitter user who doesn’t post relevant content, but tweets often enough to distract you from focusing on other, more relevant accounts, you can erase their presence and gain some control over a messy feed. The person can still retweet, favourite and reply to your tweets and they do not know they are muted. This could help non-profits spend less time sifting through tweets and more time sharing the best content and interacting with its target audience. It’s a more polite way to take people off your feed than unfollowing them.

Cons: You could lose touch with your community. There’s a reason you connected with someone on Twitter and most of the time it’s because they were a member of your community, shared great content or were active in your cause. If you get into the habit of muting those you follow, you could miss out on great content, tweets about your organization, a post about an important issue your organization should address or a chance to interact with a post that highlights a member’s achievements.

Pinterest Q&A

What Are We Talking About: Pinterest is testing a new Q&A feature allowing users to post questions on a pin and notifying the user who pinned the image of the question. The intent is to make Pinterest more engaging and connect users with more people and more information.

Pros: This feature has the potential to increase engagement on Pinterest. A Q&A will, in theory, make it easier for your non-profit’s community to connect with your organization and vice versa to get more information, have better conversations and build longer-lasting relationships. Answering questions is a great way to provide an added service to members of your community and further establish your organization as a helpful, transparent and beneficial source of information and action.

Cons: There aren’t many drawbacks of this feature specifically from a non-profit’s point of view. The feature may fail, just as a similar Facebook service did. You may also get some negative or spam questions, but that risk arises on any social media platform anyways.

New Twitter Profiles

What Are We Talking About: Twitter recently rolled out new-look profiles for users that includes a different profile and background photo display and the ability to pin a tweet to the top of your profile in order to highlight it.

Pros: The new features allow Twitter users to make profiles fresh, creative and unique. The new, larger and more versatile banner could help non-profits stand out from the crowd and convey their goals to the community in a way that is engaging and informative. Being able pin a tweet of your choice to the top of the profile could be useful for organizations looking to highlight a call to action, recognize a standout member of their online community or remind members about an upcoming event without tweeting about it a dozen of times a week and falling prey to the mute feature.

Cons: It takes time, patience and some creative know-how to bring your profile up to date. This isn’t necessarily a con as much as it is a minor inconvenience. However, if your non-profit doesn’t have the resources to dedicate to updating your Twitter profile, your account could end up looking outdated and, worse still, could lose out on the benefits of the new features.

Facebook Nearby App

What Are We Talking About: Facebook debuted the Nearby Friends App last month and was the first significant addition to its mobile platform in over a year. The feature lets users see which of their Facebook friends are in physical proximity to them. It provides a map that places a picture of your friends in the location they are in.

Pros: This feature doesn’t provide many major benefits to non-profits at the moment. To see the location of your friends, they need the app turned on as well, which may mean the chances of finding members close to you only get slimmer. They may be an opportunity for organizations to alert their community of a nearby event or initiative if they notice that many of their friends are living, working, etc., around a certain part of a city.

Cons: Again, there aren’t many cons that come to mind when exploring this app. If you’re looking at broad stroke, the app could cause your community to question their privacy settings. However, this feature may border on useless for many organizations and with less power, comes fewer drawbacks.

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Keeping up with the latest and greatest (and not so great) features being offered by social media platforms can help enhance your overall online presence and communications strategy. Exploring these features and seeing which ones could help your community, and which ones won’t, will allow your organization to rise above the rest.

Let us know in the comments of any other newer social media features you use or that could be beneficial to non-profits and associations. And remember to stay social!