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Using Twitter for Events – Part 2: Mastering your Tools

This post was written by Gwynydd Murray, Client Care Specialist with Greenfield Services.

Using Twitter for Events – Part 2: Mastering your Tools
Social media is an inexpensive tool for sharing information before, during, and following an event. With the right plan and the right message, organizations can bring in more patrons and keep those already on board informed.

As reported by eMarketer Inc, showed American nonprofits are spending more time using social media to get their message out than they did in the previous year.  While there are a number of useful and popular sites - from experience - Twitter is the most efficient tool in communicating a very specific message to a desired audience. The study also outlined that Twitter is used by nearly three-quarters of American nonprofits and is used most for multiple posts per day.  Despite these numbers being from a US-based survey, social media trends are comparable north of the border.

In addition to my previous article about Preparation, to aid in the best possible use of Twitter for events, the next aspect to consider is the available Tools and what you should consider having on hand.
The most basic tool that anyone can use while Tweeting about an event on site is a smartphone (with a camera and internet access). I’m not going specify any brand or model, because you just need to be comfortable with it and know how to use what you’ve got to its full potential. There is no question though, there is a difference between camera quality and internet connectivity – an improvement on the basics could be necessary.

In my original post, I said that practice and preparation make perfect. Know what your phone is capable of and get familiar with any useful apps available. You can use Twitter within the browser, or you can find the Twitter app, which allows you to post photos and connect with other Twitter users. Hopefully, you have already connected with associated Followers and should have an already assembled collection of correct @handles and #hashtags. If you cannot pre-program the app you’re using, this is where a hardcopy list would come in handy.

Once you’ve got your mobile companion in-hand, the charger should never be far away.  Some of you may be saying “Of course.” Others may figure “I can usually go days without charging, a few hours in the Trade Show should be a breeze.” You may have the best battery, but I would err on the side of caution because Tweeting from an event is one of the biggest workouts your phone is going to get. Merely using the camera and browsing the internet will use a substantial amount of energy. Switching apps and using multiple media is almost guaranteed to drain the battery before the day is even done (believe me; I didn’t think it would, and it happened to me a few months ago!). You really do not want to watch those little bars depleting and have to rush, which means not doing due-diligence to the whole process.

In addition to the phone, a laptop or iPad can make things easier and provide access to different programs and resources. I realize this can be a tall order and may be overkill, depending on your circumstances.   A bigger screen will make it easier to see the quality of the photos and will also allow for editing. A laptop would also allow using a digital camera to download better photos. With these types of tools, it also helps to be able to use Wi-Fi (don’t forget to get the password for the venue) to check the Twitter feed and do internet searches with ease.

All-in-all, Twitter itself is a great tool for promoting and presenting events. Familiarizing yourself with the basic tools available to access this app, will make the process easy for anyone who is interested.

Image courtesy of

Where to Look for Member Engagement

Where to Look for Member Engagement
If you’ve been curious about how to gather begin measuring the impact of your organization’s social media presence, you’re not alone.

We’ve been looking at a series of three white papers on social media marketing and measurement produced by Avectra, a software vendor based in the United States. The papers point to measurement as one of the biggest challenges in the social media programs that are becoming more and more prevalent across the association community.

“Associations have generally struggled to measure the bottom-line results of social media marketing efforts across the immense social universe their members now participate in,” Avectra noted in the second white paper in the series, Beyond ROI: The True Value of Return on Engagement.

That’s partly because “the very nature of social media calls for different measurement methods than, say, a direct-mail campaign.” By measuring “return on engagement,” as well as conventional ROI, organizations can get at “the qualitative connections and relationships that result from social outreach,” which “can lead to quantitative results that connect directly to the association’s objectives and bottom line.”

Asking the Right Questions

With social platforms generating an ocean of data, it’s important for associations to measure the online activities that give them the best indication of members’ engagement, interests, and concerns. The Avectra paper points to some strategies that involve aggregating individual responses on social media and tracking them over the time.

  • By monitoring (and responding to) online conversations and interactions, you get a sense of your profile and credibility with members and identify any gaps between what you thought you were saying or doing and what they heard.
  • By mapping members’ profiles across multiple social platforms, you understand how they connect online—with you, and with each other—and get a clearer picture of the services, products, and issues that will interest them most.
  • By taking a consistent, active role in members’ online discussions, you position your organization as a helpful, deeply committed resource and gain the credibility to issue calls to action when you need to mobilize the community.
  • By evaluating your social media campaigns, you produce a steady stream of data that will help you sharpen your message and extend its reach.

The Resources to Do the Job

That’s the theory—and for more and more organizations, a strong social media presence will be the key to long-term survival. But for many of the Canadian associations that responded to Greenfield Services’ 2012 Pulse Report, the challenge is more basic: As we noted in an earlier blog in this series:

  • Three-quarters of the organizations were treating social media management as a part-time task, assigned to a staff member with other responsibilities.
  • Only 4.6% of survey respondents came from offices with full-time social media managers.

And it isn’t easy, or realistic, to try to manage and measure a full-scale social media campaign off the side of your desk.

That means the first step to social media success is for association executives to recognize the opportunity that is just beyond their reach, the allocate resources accordingly. Communication and member engagement models are changing fast, freeing up budgets that can be reassigned as established approaches lose their impact. The future belongs to the associations that can make the transition, and it’s never too soon to begin searching for the social platforms, outreach strategies, and measurement tools that best suit your needs.


Are You Using Social Media to Engage Members?

Are You Using Social Media to Engage Members?
If you’re a membership-based organization and you’re not using social media to listen to members, build their sense of engagement, and measure their commitment, you may be about to trip over one of the most significant trends reshaping associations.

In the second of three white papers on return on investment from social media, Beyond ROI: The True Value of Return on Engagement, U.S. software vendor Avectra points out that the whole member relationship has been turned on its head.

“In the past, member engagement was typically transactional, such as registering for the annual conference, or responding to a holiday-themed direct-mail piece, or volunteering to work on a committee,” the company stated. “Today, social media tools and technologies allow members to connect and engage when, where, and how they want to,” and that means “the rules of member engagement have changed.”

The “exciting opportunity,” as Avectra says, is for associations to listen, adapt, and build deeper, long-term relationships based on the takeaways their members find most useful. The question is whether organizations are making the transition—and if they are, how effectively they’re measuring their own progress.

Scrambling to Get it Right

Greenfield had similar questions in mind when we produced the 2012 Pulse Report. From the responses we received from Canadian associations, we saw that more than two-thirds identified member engagement as a top priority, but many of them were scrambling a bit to get on with implementation.

  • Two-thirds of respondents’ organizations invested less than 10% of their operating budgets (excluding staff salaries) in membership marketing.
  • Fewer than three in 10 placed strong emphasis on new product or service offerings.
  • Fewer than half saw it as a top priority to demonstrate the ROI that would give members a compelling reason to renew.

Avectra’s three white papers point to social media platforms as ideal tools for building and measuring member engagement—but like any tools, they have to be used as directed.

Setting Yourself Up to Succeed

“Whether your association’s goals are higher renewal rates, better lead generation, improved member services, or meeting annual fundraising objectives, you need to optimize member engagement,” the white paper notes. And “social media offer you an opportunity to share your mission, remain relevant, solve challenges, and reach your organizational goals.”

But you won’t succeed on social media if you spend your time broadcasting your message and collecting thousands of surface contacts who have no genuine connection to your organization. “The true value of social media investment comes from figuring out how many of those followers—or fans, or connections, or private online community members—are engaged in ways that align with your association’s goals,” Avectra states. “Then, you can determine how to use these data insights to help achieve your business goals.”

In a past post, we talked about Avectra’s approach to social CRM (customer relationship management) and its philosophy of “thoughtful, strategic, authentic engagement” with members. Next week, we’ll look at how you can turn those principles into a practical plan to measure member engagement.


2013 Benchmarking Study Now Open

Mini Greenfield
Greenfield Services Inc is pleased to announce that the 2nd Annual Benchmarking Study of Membership Marketing & Engagement Practices in Canada is officially underway! Our 2012 Pulse Report had almost 150 responses to the initial survey, with an additional 100 downloads of association executives interested in the results!

Because of the success and discussions this research had created, we have decided to make this an annual study.

We recognize that it has not been quite a full year since we launched the initial survey. We are launching it a few weeks early this year to make the timing is appropriate for the future of this annual study, and to make sure results are available in time for the 2013 CSAE National Conference this September.

Many of my conversations with Association Executives still focus on concerns with engagement, and how recruitment, e-communication and social media strategies can help move the needle of success. We would like to benchmark where your organization currently stands with membership practices in general, so that we can compare this year’s results with 2012, and see what other issues can be addressed.

I invite you to join your industry peers by providing your input by following the link below. The study takes approximately 35 minutes to complete. Your input is very important and it will be kept strictly confidential. Results will be reported in aggregate and will not identify any specific response or respondent. 

The survey is open until Friday, May 31, 2013, with results being available in August 2013. All respondents will receive a copy of the report, once available. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly, I would be happy to chat further!

Meagan Rockett
Director, Client Solutions
Greenfield Services Inc.
866-488-4474 ext 4517