If Social Media Strategies Were Superheroes

We believe that social media lets associations harness all sorts of super powers, which is why we wrote this blog post imagining what it would be like if social media platforms were super heroes. We’re back it again, but this time, we’re showing you what it might be like if specific social media strategies were turned into their fictionalized doppelgängers to highlight how successful these methods could be to your membership organization.

Member Interviews On YouTube


Wonder Woman


Super-strength, speed, durability, and longevity

How They Use Their Power For Good:

Wonder Woman is the perfect embodiment of this member engagement strategy. Take some time and film interviews with various members. You can target members who have accomplished something big recently, a long-time member or a member with some unique insight into a certain element of the profession. Putting together these interviews and posting them to YouTube has the ability to strengthen the bond between success, quality information, your members and your association. The videos are sure to be shared amongst your members at super speed and the content can be shared multiple times across multiple channels, making for a durable use of your resources.

Video on Instagram




The ability to shrink to minuscule size and grow wings

How They Use Their Power For Good:

Video is one of the best ways to capture engagement and expand the reach of your association’s content and with Instagram, it’s even better. Instagram videos are designed to be small and compact (just like Wasp!) while also being versatile and strong. A well-made video on Instagram has the power to grow wings and take flight among your association’s target audience. You can create content about anything from a quick glance at a conference’s trade show floor to teaser trailer for your organization’s event to short videos of members explaining why they love the association in 10 seconds or less.

Infographics On Blogs


Captain America


Enhanced strength, endurance, agility, speed, reflexes, durability, and healing

How They Use Their Power For Good:

Captain America is loveable not just for his greater-than-normal abilities, but also for having all the values that society knows, trusts and holds dear, especially in times of crisis. Infographic blog posts have that same effect on people. They are trustworthy, reliable and can even help heal broken relationships with members. The agility and flexibility of infographs (traits they share with Cap) lie in their ability to take boring, old numbers and transform them into a story that shed light on the value an association can give members. Infographs can also give a new, engaging perspective on old issues that might persuade lapsed or unhappy members to come back into the fold of your association.

Proud Stats On Twitter


Captain Marvel


Flight, enhanced strength, durability and the ability to shoot concussive energy bursts from her hands.

How They Use Their Power For Good:

For those of you who are confused, so-called ‘proud stats’ consist of taking facts and figures about your organization and its industry and transforming them into a concise, fun, engaging and shareable point of pride for members. If you’re coming up empty on what that may be for your association, consider asking yourself, “Why does (insert industry here) matter to my city/province/country/world?” Once you’ve answered that question, find some numbers to back it up and put it out there for the world to see. Similar to Captain Marvel, these optimistic tweets can take off on Twitter as members see it and share it. They also have the ability to send a burst of energy and pride among members (Captain Marvel, anyone?) and have those members tie this great feeling to your organization.

4 Ways Associations Can Promote Their Magazines On Social Media

Associations and magazines are almost inseparable. The vast majority of membership organizations produce and distribute monthly, quarterly or bi-annual publications with articles, updates, editorials, profiles and other content in order to educate and engage their audience. The history of many magazines stretch back decades and, in some cases, more than a century.

However, the humble, but powerful trade magazine has encountered a huge identity crisis over the last two decades as digital age has evolved. Google, social media and free information has led to less interest and less value in trade magazines, meaning fewer ad sales and messy bottom lines for some organizations.

This is isn’t a eulogy to association magazines, but rather a call to adapt. By harnessing the power of digital instead of fighting against it, these publications can once again stand tall in the eyes of members. Here are four ways associations can promote their magazines on social media to increase reach and viewership in order to prove to advertisers and board members that publications are a valuable tool for success.

Video Follow Up Discussions

An article in your association’s magazine doesn’t need to be the end of the road for that topic. After all, most articles are limited by space and have the views of usually only a handful (or less) of people. Don’t get us wrong, the magazine’s articles are no doubt comprehensive, engaging and well-written, but often times people have questions or there are other views or details that can be added to the issue addressed in the publication.

This is when videos come in very handy. After the magazine has been released, pick one to three articles and do a follow up video as a companion piece to the original article. Do an interview with the author or subject of the article or bring together an expert panel to talk about an issue addressed by the original article and film the discussion. If the article is a profile of a member or a company, visit them and do a day-in-the-life video. Put the videos on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and any other platform your association uses along with links to the article, information about the magazine and a prompt to contribute to the discussion in order to drive traffic and increase the exposure of the magazine.

Polls And Quotes On Twitter

Let’s be honest, when your members are browsing the paper or online version of your magazine, they often look at the headlines and maybe the first couple sentences before deciding if it’s worth a read or not. Most of the time, it’s not worth the read and the reader keeps flipping through the publication, missing engaging content and dealing damage to key performance metrics that advertisers pay attention to.

Twitter is a great way to give your association’s readers a second chance to discover the quality content lurking inside its magazine. The platform is a key way to improve on that misleading and unimpressive first impression your members may have of articles. For example, post a poll on Twitter related to one of the articles in the magazine, along with a link to that article. A poll will generate interest and discussion while giving a brief and interesting synopsis of the article, which increases interest and readership. Another tactic is to post an interesting quote or snippet from the article as a tweet along with a link to the article. Readers may have missed the intriguing bit of the article and be convinced to give it another chance.

Facebook Albums

Many recipients of association magazines open up their publications to see waves and waves of text starring back at them. Although those words are of high quality and often accompanied by pictures, they usually don’t jump off the page and grab the reader and can often overwhelm people. When they become overwhelmed, readers often shut down and give up on an article and the whole magazine.

This is why emphasizing the publication’s images on social media can do wonders to readership levels. As the saying goes, pictures can say 1,000 words. They can also convince your members to read 1,000 words or more. Create a Facebook album on your association’s page for each issue of the magazine that comes out. Represent each article or section of the magazine with a solid, well-planned photo that tells the story in an image. In the description/caption, include a short synopsis, summary, snippet or headline and a link to the article. An image will draw people in and pique their interest much more often then a flashy headline or an insistence to do so. It will also allow readers to browse the contents of the magazine much easier, giving them an incentive to check in and read up.

Instagram Contests and Activities

Associations can sometimes go months without releasing another issue of their magazine, which means that they are out of sight and out of mind for members. This results in a rocky relationship with the publication and creates the risk that its relevance will disappear among members.

That’s where a good Instagram contest or activity can save the day. For example, you can have a contest for each issue asking members to submit a photo. The best one can grace the cover of the next issue of the magazine and can be entered to win a Best Cover prize at the end of the year, as voted on by members (once again, via Instagram). Another idea is to post an industry-focused problem or a photo on Instagram and ask members to submit an answer to the query or a funny caption for the photo. These submissions can then be put in a special Member Section or Social Media Section in the next issue of the magazine. Not only will members race to see if their submission is put in the magazine, but it will also create a chance for fun content and will keep the magazine top of mind during the interim periods between issues.

3 Out-of-the-Box Social Media Ideas For Associations

There’s a reason people walk up to the smiling Starbucks barista and ask for their usual; it’s familiar, reliable and gets the job done. Social media content is much the same, especially for associations and their members. Following a consistent format for tweeting, Facebook posting, blog publishing, etc can be a great way to convey important information, build a following and provide value to your organization’s target audience.

However, consistency can become a rut really easily. Sometimes the transition from reliable to boring isn’t even perceptible until it’s too late and your association’s members have tuned out.

Good thing we’re here to help you avoid this trap. We’ve put together three interesting projects that associations can try with their social media to inject some variety into their online strategy and keep members engaged.

Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank

If you’re not familiar with the popular TV series Dragon’s Den (Canada) or Shark Tank (U.S), the concept sees eager entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to wealthy investors in order to gain investment. This stakes are high, which makes for great TV and the reality factor changes peoples’ lives.

Your association can take a page out of the reality show book by doing its own version of Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank. Tell your members to make a short video with their best idea for improving the association or improving the industry and post it to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Pick the top five best ideas and pit them against each other with members voting through social media on which one is the best. At the end of the contest, give the winner a prize and try your best to implement the idea. Not only does this project give you an opportunity to improve the organization, but it generates engagement from all corners of the association and industry. The stakes are high, the reward is promising and the process is engaging.

Association Champion Bingo

We’ve already covered the idea of social media Bingo for association events and conferences. This idea broadens the concept so it can applied to more members across a wider time frame and make a bigger impact.

Formulate a series of tasks members can do on social media that help the association or draw attention to its value, services and programs, such as write a blog post for the organization’s website or tag the association five times in a tweet. Place these tasks into a Bingo board and share it will your followers. Emphasize that completing each task gets the member closer to being classified as an Association Champion. When members submit a full Bingo card, reward them with a prize and profile them on your various social media platforms. This project allows members to engage with your association is a variety of ways while also giving members an opportunity to work towards something as well as participate in micro-volunteering initiatives.

A Crowd Sourced Mini Book

Some of the most valuable and interesting insights come from putting a group of talented, passionate and engaged people in a room and letting them collaborate. This isn’t always possible for associations to do when their members are dispersed across cities and provinces. However, with a little creativity and time, it’s possible to present your members with a book authored by themselves and their colleagues using only social media as a product of their ingenuity and expertise.

This project might take time, but keep in mind the end goal and go slowly. Start with questions for your membership on your association’s various social media platforms, such as, describe why you are passionate about this industry in one sentence or what’s most valuable lesson you’ve learned during your career in the industry? Ask for pictures of the profession on Instagram or Facebook, request blog posts from professionals in your field and conduct open Twitter interviews with members. Take all the images and text and out it together into a small book that can be put online or published and attached your trade magazine, handed out at conferences or made available for order online. Not only is this a great way to generate engagement on social media over time, but it allows members to both share their expertise and gain the insight from dozens or hundreds of other professionals they may not get at networking events or educational get-togethers.

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.

Four Ways To Think Like Your Audience To Create Better Headlines and Titles

In today’s marketing environment, a handful of words can make or break your online communications strategy. We’ve officially entered into the era of clickbait and always judging a blog post by its cover. This means titles and headlines are one of, if not the most important part of constructing an effective piece of content to centre your efforts around.

Is the title too wordy? It will never fit in a 140-word tweet. Is it too bland and matter-of-fact? No one will click on it and land on our website. It’s not a list? How will anyone know if they have time to read it all?

These factors might seem downright silly, but they are based on very real thoughts that people have. In a world saturated with content, deciding which to look at and which to disregard means taking everything into account. Marketers need to understand what their audience is looking for and how to entice them to click on that blog post or follow a link to their video on YouTube. We’ve put together a few tips to get you started on the road to understanding your audience and developing better starters for your content.

If They Have A Problem, Offer A Solution

You need to know what will make your audience’s life better. They will prioritize content that adds value to their life over other mildly interesting information or purely fun pursuits. Once you know what problem they want solved, create content around that issue and tell them in the title, headline, tweet, etc., that this problem will be solved by your post.

For example, if you are creating content for an association, find out a problem your members are having and write a blog post about it or even find a third-party article and tweet about it. Create a headline or tweet that captures both the problem and the promise of a solution all in one. Your audience will recognize the opportunity to get some advice on an obstacle they have been facing and will be more willing to click on the link to your website, comment or share the post.

Time Is Money So Tell Them How Much They’re Spending

An audience, any audience, appreciates full disclosure and that includes telling them how long your content is going to take to read, watch, etc. If they know your video is short and sweet, they can watch it while they take a 10-minute break or at their lunch. If your blog post is 2,000 words and an in-depth profile of one of their colleagues in the industry, they might decide to bookmark it and read it after work. However, if they are unsure about the time it takes to consume the content, they might leave your website feeling jipped or give up after a few minutes and never return.

This dilemma can be solved with a few tweaks to your titles, headlines, posts, etc. First of all, lists are a great way tell people how long your content is. For example, if your title says, “5 Ways to Get Better At Your Job,” they may have time to read it here and now, but if it says “35 Ways to Get Better…” they might leave it until tonight. You can go a step further and do what some sites like Mashable are doing and add an approximate read time on the title. This will tell your audience exactly how long it will take them to read your blog post, article, etc. so they don’t waste time. They will appreciate this small service immensely.

Give Them A Challenge

I dare you; the three words that made any activity irresistible when you were a kid. In reality, this mindset doesn’t go away as you grow up. Everyone enjoys testing themselves, even if it’s a challenge that’s a little more cerebral than stuffing as many marshmallows in your mouth as you can. If the content you are creating warrants it, present the information as a challenge to your audience.

Injecting a little fun dare into your headline, title or post involves knowing what your audience will see as an invitation to test their know-how, wit or skills. For example, if you are creating an infographic about crazy facts and stories for fans of a particular pastime or sport, go ahead and create a title such as, “Check Out How Many Of These Crazy Hopscotch Facts You Know And See If You’re A True Fan.” This is a challenge for your audience to prove to themselves that they know everything there is about hopscotch and prove themselves worthy of calling themselves a fan. Sometimes a challenge is irresistible and this will lead to more clicks, views and engagement.

Speak Their Language

Each group of people, while it’s based on geography, age, occupation or other factors, has its own way of talking. Using the words and phrases in your content’s title that your target audience can relate to and uses in every day life is an important part of drawing their attention and keeping it. When they see language they use and understand, they feel more comfortable and confident that the content they are clicking on, reading, watching or participating in is legitimate and important to them.

To understand what language to use to draw your audience in, it’s important to mirror the words they use and the language that other popular communication outlets use in your industry or area of interest. Check to see what buzzwords are being used among your target audience in Twitter chats, Facebook statuses or the comment sections or articles or YouTube videos. Read professional trade magazines or popular websites that cater your target demographics. Lastly, review your past content and see which posts generated the most engagement. Use the language from these posts’ headlines and titles and create similarly effective content in the future.

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.

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.


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.