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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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15 Things to Stop Doing at Your Association in 2015

Posted by Christina R. Green

I love this time of year; the reflective quality of a project completed (2014) and the new birth of opportunities. The optimism of things are going to be different this year.

Associations are changing. Engagement is less of a question of why and more a question of how. Social media has morphed from a what? to a I know we have to, but where do we find the time?

Yes, we’re all changing the way we connect with our members.

Here are a couple of suggestions to make sure you’re on par with best practices and not wasting your precious time.


For the love of all administrative paperwork, in 2015 please stop:

  1. Thinking all social media posts must happen serendipitously. Scheduling posts is fine. But don’t let that take the place of conversation.
  2. Posting in a vacuum. If you choose to auto-post, stop your posts should something of note happen in the world, your community, or your industry.
  3. Being all things to all people. Know your ideal member; market to that person. Forget about the rest.
  4. Jumping on every social media bandwagon. There are tons of platforms and that number will continue to grow as the number of people online does. Don’t feel the need to get swept away in everything. Go only where your members, or potential members, are and commit yourself to those platforms.
  5. Posting to post. Do some testing and find your ideal posting times on social media and your blog. Adjust your posting schedule to get the most views and shares.
  6. Creating content and letting it stagnate. The biggest way to save time and feed that content machine is by repurposing what you’re creating. Pull quotes out of what you’ve written and create images. Repost older blog posts to your social media. Create a video out of a topic from a popular blog post or create a transcript/blog post from a video. Don’t produce one-offs if you want to get the most from your content creation powers.
  7. Thinking online engagement replaces in person engagement and vice versa.
  8. Posting like your social media page is a billboard for your activities. Educate and entertain your visitors don’t just post all about you.
  9. Randomly trying things. Technology gives us member data. Use it and you won’t be nearly as exhausted.
  10. Expecting anyone is seeing your Facebook posts. One week I had 405 people engaged on a post. I thought for sure that would affect my standings and get me more views in the future. Next day I had 2. Moral: if you’re not paying, you’re not getting seen.
  11. Creating ads on Facebook that aren’t targeted. Don’t advertise to everyone. Find people that fit your demographic. Select them accordingly.
  12. Thinking a freemium membership is giving away the farm. There are ways to appeal to an Internet savvy generation without giving them everything for free.
  13. Repeating the same old benefits as a reason to join. Networking is not a reason to join. Your members can get that from LinkedIn for free. What else are you giving or doing for them? How are you solving their problems? That’s what you need to sell.
  14. Letting other people frame who you are. Sure, you can’t control what others say about your association, but if you’re not giving them a good story to connect with and repeat you’re not doing yourself any favors.
  15. Being afraid to innovate on a scale that works for you. Your association may not need to blow up the roof and reinvent itself entirely but be open to new ideas and champion change. Your members will appreciate the consideration you’re giving to your challenges and their own.

What are you working on for 2015? I’d love to hear it. Leave me a note in the comments.

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Topics: social media for associations, Association Views

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