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5 Out-of-the-Box Ways to Engage Members on Social Media

When I first joined Twitter in 2009, I was a 19-year-old concert junkie who thought it was the COOLEST thing to have a direct line to my favorite bands and their members. That summer, the Vans Warped Tour production team used the social media network to ask concert goers to volunteer for a couple of hours, in exchange for a spot on stage during the set of their choosing. Um, excuse me? 28-year-old me is still reeling over how cool that was. And without a tool like Twitter, it would’ve been nearly impossible to pull off.

Using social media as a way to engage an audience in unique and unexpected ways has been a no-brainer to me ever since. These platform’s very existence depend on interaction. And as a member-based organization, fostering a sense of community is in your roots. That will always be true, no matter how communication channels change over the years. The real-time, highly visible nature of social media is just what associations need to create meaningful and continuous member engagement.

Here are a few thought starters:

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Maximizing Meetings of All Shapes and Sizes

Posted by Sarah Hill

I don’t need to tell you that meetings are a big deal. They are where networking happens, business is done and important matters in your association are decided. Here’s a short guide to making sure everything runs smoothly.

 Meeting, meeting, who called the meeting?

Small Staff Meetings

Set the agenda, a time and a place. Smaller meetings can be a little more casual and personal. Take advantage of that! Engage your small staff with a little chat before or after business is handled. It’ll increase camaraderie and make these more frequent meetings less of a chore in the future.

Large Group Meetings

Map out with a smaller group the topics you need addressed, and then delegate different people to lead each topic to avoid audience boredom and presenter burnout. Make sure your venue has enough seating and that it’s in an arrangement that works so nobody’s talking to anyone’s back or snoozing in the back without being noticed.

Annual Meetings

The larger the meeting, the more important an agenda is and the longer a meeting will tend to be. Consider smaller groups for more focused tasking: not every member of your association will be interested in marketing efforts, for example, and while they probably all could be informed of the budget only a few will actually make big decisions. It will also help with timing if more than one smaller group can meet at a time.

Don’t forget:

Internet access

People take notes all kinds of different ways, and if your members are taking notes in their Google drives it will be frustrating for them to not have internet access. This may not be worth the trouble to provide it, but if it’s easy then go ahead and flick that switch. Internet access also allows members to interact with each other via social media right away, perhaps even to talk about the meeting topics.

Presentation materials

If part of your meeting involves visual aids, make sure you choose a venue equipped with you’re a/v requirements like a laptop, projector, or easel, markers and paper if necessary. Don’t forget to print off your slides or handouts for your guests beforehand, as well. If your meeting doesn’t involve visual aids, consider including them if they will enhance your presentation.


Nothing makes for an unproductive group more than a hungry one. Consider mealtimes if your meeting will be longer than a couple hours. Bring in snacks if your budget allows, or schedule a break so people can go grab a snack. Be sure to point them in the direction of the nearest vending machine or cafeteria.

Every meeting, and association for that matter, is different. Keep these things in mind, though, and you're sure to have a powerful, productive meeting.

Topics: association management, small staff association, event planning

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