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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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6 Social Media Tips for Association Professionals

Posted by Callie Walker

Social Media Tips for Association Pros.jpg

By now, you probably know the importance of having social media accounts - to engage prospects/members, to give your association credibility, etc. But let’s say you do have social media accounts in place and...nothing. No one’s engaging with you! Is there something wrong with your account? Are you doing something wrong?

Well, that lack of engagement could be due to a number of things, but to help you maximize the impact of your association’s social media accounts, here are a few tips to consider/implement:

1. Identify your goals first

Before doing anything with social media, you should start by identifying your goals. What are you trying to get out of your social media pages? Don’t just lump them all together when doing this, though. Identify your goals for Facebook, for Twitter, for Instagram, etc. Whatever platforms you’re using, you should have goals outlined for each.

Knowing these goals can then help you determine “next steps” for each platform. For example, if one of your goals for Facebook is to engage your members and potential members, then you can start brainstorming specific tactics to help you accomplish just that.

Tactics for that goal might include… 

  • Asking questions to elicit more direct responses - For example, “Who’s registered for our 2017 Annual meeting?” or “What are you most looking forward to at our 2017 Annual Meeting?” (Note: Don’t let the fear of people not responding hold you back. If you start doing this often enough - and asking the right questions - people will start to engage.)
  • Posting pictures of your members engaged in association activities - If people see pictures of themselves, they’ll be more inclined to like, share, and comment on them. Plus, if you can start doing this on a regular basis, people will start checking your page regularly - to see if they’ve shown up in any pics!

2. Respond to everything (both positive and negative comments)

Social media is all about engagement, and engagement is a two-way street. If people comment on your page or mention you in a post or tweet, then it’s up to you to respond to those comments/posts. Now for the most part, many of those comments/posts will be positive, but every once in awhile, you might get a negative mention. If that happens, respond to those comments as well. Don’t let them sit idle, and whatever you do, don’t delete them! Other people are watching, and you just have to handle the situation with grace. (In this case, it’s all about the customer service!)

3. Use hashtags

If you’re not currently using hashtags with your posts (on Twitter and Instagram in particular), you may want to. This is how you’re going to reach an even larger audience - people who are interested in the topic, but don’t necessarily follow your page (or even know you exist, for that matter).

Two quick notes about hashtags:

  1. Always search a hashtag before actually using it - You want to see how other people are using a particular hashtag before associating your content - and organization - with it. You may have the best of intentions when it comes to a word or phrase, but you never know how other people are using it until you actually check.
  2. If you’re using SEVERAL hashtags (particularly on Instagram), consider adding those as a separate comment, rather than including them in the actual caption - Often, companies and organizations use a lot of hashtags to build their social media following (this mostly applies to Instagram). That said, several hashtags can often come off as “spammy,” so to avoid that, consider adding those hashtags as a comment on your original post. That way, when users are scrolling through their feed, their only see your hashtags if they click “View comments.” The Visit Savannah, GA Instagram account does a great job of this:

Visit Savannah.png

4. Use high-resolution images

High-resolution images add credibility to your association - instantly. When people visit your social media page(s), the profile picture and cover photo are among the first items they see. You want those to be high quality, so people will interpret that as an extension of your association’s professionalism.

5. Optimize your profile(s)

Regardless of what platform you’re using, you want to make sure your profile is optimized, and that means filling out all of the appropriate sections - the about section, the website URL section, the contact section, etc.

Quick tip here, particularly for Twitter: If your handle is an acronym for your association, that’s totally fine, but make sure to type out your association’s full name in the about section. This helps with SEO so people can actually find your association’s Twitter account (via Google and within the actual platform, itself).

6. Use what each platform is preferring

Every social media site has an algorithm, and the algorithm determines what shows up in people’s newsfeed. That said, you want to be “on the side of the algorithm” because you want your content to actually show up - you’re not just posting that content and information for nothing!

Put simply, you need to do what each social media site is preferring. And right now, what many of them are preferring is video. For Facebook, it’s Facebook Live. The more you post that type of content, the more likely it is to actually be seen.

Want more tips for maximizing the impact of your association’s social media sites? Check out our free guide to social media below! It’s filled with best practices for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more!

The Small-Staff Guide to Social Media  How to engage your members (and prospects) using social media Download this guide

Topics: association management, social media for associations, member engagement, Small Staff Chatter

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