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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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Engaging Your Members In Minutes A Day - Part 2: Doing

Posted by Christina R. Green


In Part 1 of this series we detailed how effective engagement is a personalized experience. There’s no such thing as a magic cure-all for unengaged members. Figuring out what appeals to your members and brainstorming on ideas of how to get there will help you engage them more efficiently in the limited time you have.

This post provides ideas on how to engage your members in minutes a day.

If you only have a few minutes, you can:

Take a Picture and Post It

Images generate more shares on social networks than text posts. Look around you. What can you share with your members? Take a photo, post it and ask a question surrounding it. For instance, a funny item on a desk could be captioned with “What’s on your desk right now.”

Brighten Your Member’s Day

Remember the report on your members’ activity levels? Pull someone from the middle and select one of her social media profiles and/or blog, find something you enjoy (preferably something she created) and share it with the world. This type of compliment goes a long way in establishing (or re-establishing) a connection.


Use the same steps you did in sharing member content above and select a different person/people. Comment on something from their streams or on their blog post. Give them something more meaningful than “Great.” Add value to the conversation. Ask them their opinion.

Ask Them to Contribute

If you have a blog or a newsletter and you’re looking for content, find a member (or several) and ask them to contribute. Tell them why you’ve selected them such as I read your piece on ___, or I know you’re an expert in ____. Ensure they know you mean this as a compliment to their knowledge and not as a burden.

Create a Survey

Create a fun survey. Keep it short. Use a topic that everyone has an opinion on or an experience with. It does not have to be industry relevant. Getting members participating is more important than the subject’s tie-in to your industry.

Ask an Open-Ended Question

Place an open-ended question on one of your social media profiles or on your online community. Again, it does not have to be industry related.

Seed your Content

Since no one wants to be the first to answer a question or enter a comment (unless they’re getting credit for it or it’s on a monstrously popular blog), be the first to answer or encourage someone else to do it. Periodically skim your online community and comment on posts and answer questions. Not only are you adding content, membership sees you taking an active role in the community.

While you cannot build an engagement plan merely on bursts of micro-engagement, they do go a long way to keeping members engaged when you are at your busiest. If you share these ideas with your staff and ask that they take a few moments for the same, you might be surprised the effect it has on your members. 

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Topics: association leadership, member engagement, Association Views

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