Contact Us | 1-866-488-4474 |

Event Promotion and YouTube

Looking for a creative way to promote your event to the world?  Try YouTube.

With so many other social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) who serve to get information out to your members or connections, YouTube is a platform to publish video content to promote your events.

Here’s how it works (and some tips to help you along the way):

Start by creating your own YouTube channel
Your channel will serve as the central spot to publish your video content.  When creating a channel, you need to create an account with YouTube.  Tip: Use a corporate email address if you can (events@, etc) instead of a generic email address (i.e. yahoo, etc).

To help your potential delegates find you, ensure you align the name you give your channel with your company/organization.  There are opportunities to add channel tags (or, keywords) as well, so do your best to align those as well.

Make sure your fill out your profile.  Those who are searching you will be able to confirm that they have come to the right place.

Event Dates
This section (under Modules) can be used to promote the dates of your upcoming event.  When promoting an event, you can list here hey information such as a brief description, the dates of the event, the venue/location, and links to full event information & registration sites.

Create and post videos
Drive interest around speakers and sessions that will take place at your event.  To start, you can film someone within your events department, who would discuss the hot topics being covered, and any key points of the event that your delegates may be interested in.  In addition, you can continue the communication by asking a member or volunteer lead to discuss networking opportunities and social functions, and how much fun they had, etc.

If you can, ask your speakers/presenters to participate.  By submitting a 60-second video discussing what they will be presenting at the upcoming event, your speakers/presenters will be providing all potential delegates with a “snapshot” of what kinds of information they will be learning about while they are attending.

Capture your event on video
Many conferences are recorded these days.  Use these recordings as a marketing tool for future conferences, by showing potential delegates what they missed this time.

You can assign someone in your events department to be the “official” videographer – by asking for live feedback from delegates, or post-presentation interviews with the presenters.

You could also consider holding a contest, calling for delegates to record feedback, etc. on their mobile devices – as an example, the top 3 submissions would be used as a marketing tool for the next event, and maybe they could save on the registration fee for winning!

With over 3-billion daily views on YouTube, and a user-friendly platform to develop your own channel, event promotion with this media avenue, if done and managed consistently, will assist you in engaging your delegates.

Social Media for Professional Associations

Social Media
In September 2011, I attended the CSAE National Conference and Tradeshow in Saskatoon, SK.  One of the sessions I attended and that I retrieved the most valuable information from was “Social Media – Two Years Later… What have we learned? Where are we going?” presented by Larry Mogelonsky, of LMA Strategic Marketing & Communications.

Here is a quick snapshot of the statistics Larry used when showing how Social Media has grown:

Social Media Site
Two Years Ago
Today (as of September 2011)
% increase
Facebook 250 million users 695 million users +278%
YouTube 0.9 billion views per day 3.2 billion views per day +355%
LinkedIn 42 million users 150 million users +357%
Twitter 12 million tweets per day 140 million tweets per day +1166%

A quick summary:  Social Media is not a fad – it is here to stay, and we better know how to use it effectively.

This statement is what concerned many in the room – association leaders know it is important, but they don’t know either how to use the various sites, or how to integrate it in their communications strategy.

Before, you would have had to pay for advertising (via magazines, ads on TV, etc) – and while these are still important channels to market your organization, Social Media has created a free way to get your message to your audience, who in turn, have the opportunity to freely share it with their connections & followers.  In short: your members can now be your marketers.  If you create ways for them to do so.

Here are some of the key tips I walked away with from the session:
  • Give people what they want – and only what they want.  Larry advised that the information that you are sharing should be relevant to the members and non-members of your given industry.  Ask yourself before you post “Would I find this interesting?” 
  • It is a forum for personal interaction – to share ideas, information and shared values with your members
  • It is not just a marketing function.  Social Media should be fully integrated into your overall communications strategy – not just an afterthought.
  • It is a forum to actively engage in discussion that furthers the learning process for all.
In addition, here are some of the questions that organizations should ask before embarking on the Social Media journey:
  • What are you trying to accomplish with Social Media? (Are you building awareness?  Are you providing valuable information?   Are you showcasing or building your industry’s influence?)
  • How will you accomplish these goals with Social Media? (How are you going to deliver value to members and non-members?  Will you be beta-testing to user groups?)
  • What tools will you have at your disposal? (Will you have a Fan Page on Facebook, an official Twitter account, create a private group on LinkedIn, post videos on YouTube?)
  • How will you execute your Social Media strategy? (Will it be someone currently on-staff?  Will you need to hire? Will you be outsourcing?)
  • Does your website currently have an area to post timely information? (Do you have a blog or an area to post research papers/articles?)
  • Do all decision-makers within your organization understand the costs that will be associated with your Social Media strategy? (While these sites are free to join, it costs to manage or outsource)
But the main point is that social media IS here to stay.  As younger cohorts enter the workforce, membership-based organizations will be forced to accommodate how they wish to communicate.  And this increasingly includes social media.  How will you take on the challenge?

Email Marketing and Designing the Right Message for your Members

You have carefully written and edited your message, but have you considered what it looks like before you press “send”?

Knowing what your association’s members are using to view your electronic messages is an important part of ensuring your message is delivered and read by your audience.

I subscribe to many electronic newsletters.  Often I have unsubscribed because the message was hard to read, or not laid out properly.  It may have been great content, but I was not willing to struggle through reading it because it was visually very unappealing.  Likely this is because the content provider did not consider my software requirements prior to developing and sending the message.

Make a practice of inquiring about what e-mail software your members may be using to view your message.  Are they using desktop software like Outlook, a web-based tool like Gmail, or a mobile device like the iPhone?  If it is Outlook (or another desktop software) – what version are they using?  Are they using the iPhone or the iPad?

A recent Benchmarking Report released by Informz (who collected their data in order to release their report based on over 400-million emails sent by over 500 associations) found that the number of members using desktop software decreased from 67% in December 2009 to 61% in December 2010.  It also showed that in December 2009, 6% used mobile devices to open email, but a year later this statistic more than doubled (up to 13% in December 2010).  The use of mobile devices is expected to grow dramatically over the next few years, while desktop usage is expected to drop.  While the Informz report focuses on Association’s e-mail marketing, these metrics are supported throughout other industries as well.  A blog post from Jordie van Rijn, says “Mobile email will account for 10 to 30% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product and email type.”

As your members continue to get busier and as mobile devices continue to grow in popularity, it may be time to check in with your members to determine how they are viewing your information.

It can be difficult to have your message render properly in all the various e-mail software and browsers out there.  But at the very least, designing your message layout for the most popular tools used by your membership will increase your open and click-through rates, and your overall membership engagement.

Professional Associations Trends in 2012 and beyond

Revenue GenerationIn September, I had the pleasure of attending the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) National Conference & Tradeshow in Saskatoon.  During the educational sessions, I attended “Ready or Not! Association Trends for 2012 and Beyond”, presented by the Association Resource Centre Inc.

After conducting their own research, they focused on 5 trends affecting Associations – Volunteerism, Revenue Generation, Board Structure, Social Media and Succession Planning.

Leaving the session, I walked away with tons of information.  Two areas stood out for me:

Revenue Generation
As many professional associations are already aware, members are feeling squeezed, non-members are not spending as much, governments are cutting back on their funding, and membership models are changing.  So, how do you generate more revenue for your association?
  • If you can offer a professional certification, start working on a program.  Members and non-members alike will be interested in furthering their career by obtaining a designation.  This may mean additional monetary compensation by employers, or finding a better job. 
  • Produce and promote research papers in your industry.  People will pay for expert opinions – give them a taste of the research paper by making some of the key points available for a free download, and advise them that the rest is available for purchase.  Geoff Thacker & Carol-Anne Moutinho (the presenters) spoke of one association currently seeing some success when they produce research papers and offer it to members for one price, and non-members for another price (the price increase being the cost of a membership with the organization).  Some savvy downloader’s will realize this and may become members instead for additional value-added services…
  • Have speakers pay you – one of the most amazing things I walked away with was not from the presenter, it was from an attendee.  He indicated that they do their research on who would be most interested in speaking to a room full of professionals in a particular field – and charges a per minute fee to do it!  When looking for presentations to your members in a niche market, this can provide a lot of revenue!
Social Media
Thacker & Moutinho reported that using social media was going to be associations’ biggest challenge – as all are encouraged to use it, but few have been able to measure that ROI.

Associations are finding that they do not have the staff, expertise, and time to focus on social media the way they think they should.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn are the top sites that associations should be focusing on. These sites should be where associations communicate, network, fundraise and market both to their members and to the general public.

Thacker & Moutinho encouraged delegates to find the time, the staff, etc in order to create the knowledge base within your team to be active on social media sites.  Should the association not have that person currently on-staff, outsourcing may be the next step in the process.

In the end, marketing to existing members & new members will keep your association from being left in the dust… and it will increase your associations’ presence as industry experts and thought leaders.  Do what you can to keep them thinking of you!