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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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The Power of Vulnerability

Posted by Callie Walker

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend #INBOUND15, a four-day marketing conference hosted by HubSpot. HubSpot is a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts that develops and markets an inbound marketing and sales platform. The conference consisted of 170+ educational sessions and 5 inspiring keynotes – one of which stood out so much to me that I just HAD to come back and share it with you.

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past twelve years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, the Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, and I was fortunate enough to be able to hear it at #INBOUND15. 

Vulnerability is often seen as a weakness, but according to Brown, vulnerability is not a weakness at all. Rather, it is perhaps one of our most accurate measures of courage. This is particularly true of organizational leaders. 

We like to think of all great leaders as confident and self-assured – like no matter what happens, they “knew it all along.” I mean, if a leader showed any sign of vulnerability, their team would immediately view them as weak, right? 


Every leader has vulnerability, and vulnerability is a strength. According to Brown, “Vulnerability is the absolute heartbeat of innovation and creativity. There can be zero innovation without vulnerability.” 

You see, vulnerability is tied to our feelings of shame and worthiness. Yes, it can be a scary feeling, but if don’t risk anything, you won’t gain anything either. Here’s an example: If you’re a leader, you may have to have a difficult conversation with your staff members at some point. This can be extremely intimidating because it opens you up to feelings of shame and worthiness, but it can also lead to an immediate payoff for you and your entire team. 

So as an association professional, the next time you feel afraid to confront others or make a change within your organization, remember this: Vulnerability is a natural condition of the work you do – it isn’t a choice, but a consequence. So don’t fear the feeling of vulnerability, embrace it! After all, it’s a sign of your own courage and strength. 

To view Dr. Brené Brown’s entire TED talk, click here.

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Topics: association leadership, Small Staff Chatter

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