“The chamber is just so stuffy.”
“Only young people go to their events.”
“That association? They just want your money.”
“The benefits aren’t worth it.”
It can be so frustrating when misconceptions and negativity about your association or chamber are swirling around. Yes, because that makes member recruitment and retention that much more difficult...but it can hurt your heart a little bit, too.
Keep that chin up! Sometimes you have to let the negativity brush off your shoulders and move right along. But for the things that require a little more attention, here are some things to think about when combating negative perceptions:
Always be the first to tell your story
Telling your story first allows you to get ahead of any misconceptions, and put facts front and center. That’s best practice, generally speaking, when it comes to big news - good or bad.
But, I think the same can be said for telling your organization's story on a day to day basis. Whatever your story may be, work on weaving it into all of your communications - at meetings, one-on-one with members, over email, on social media, everywhere! The goal here is for your story to be top of mind anytime a member (or prospective member, or business partner) thinks about your organization, leaving no room for the misconceptions to take over.
Don’t shy away from it
Speaking of social media, the fact is you WILL get negative comments here and there. It can be tempting to ignore (or even delete) them - but don’t!! In fact, embrace those comments and use them as an opportunity to show the human side of your organization in your reply. (And maybe put a stop to the spread of incorrect information, too.)
Besides, nothing is ever really deleted from the Internet. And the way you handle public negativity speaks volumes about your organization as a whole. If it’s something more in-depth that needs to be taken “offline,” reply to the public comment saying you’ll send a direct message...and then do so!
Use what your members say about you
Are you gathering reviews from members? Administering membership and event surveys? Positive feedback directly from members themselves is far more powerful than any positive words coming from the association or chamber. People trust each other far more than brands, so as much as you can (without it being too much) you want to use quotes and testimonials to support what you’re saying about your organization and membership.
It’s not a fun topic, but negative perceptions are something we all deal with! It might even be worth adding something into your staff onboarding process, just so everyone feels equipped to handle it.
Need even more tips and best practices on what to include in that staff onboarding process? Download our free guide: