Every association has vocal members – it doesn’t take complicated data analysis to find them, you know them already. They are liking, favoriting, posting, and responding frequently to your social media efforts. They ask questions in sessions and work the room at receptions. Personal accounts of what their association membership means to them is a great way to engage future members and convert lurkers into active participants. Capitalize on their enthusiasm by setting up designated time and meeting place on-site during your conference and incorporate their stories into your marketing strategy.
Recognize them and their social media participation by sending personal invitations to these active members. Ask them to spread the word and bring their friends, co-workers, and others who are also dedicated to the association. Publicize your campaign on social media and during the conference to include participation of those less active and encourage first time attendees to come and share their experiences.
Develop a script according to your digital strategy as a guideline. Ask them to describe how they got involved. How has membership helped them grow personally and professionally? Describe some great memories from past events? Some association award winners are given scholarship money to award at their discretion. Follow up by asking what they did with their award funds and how it benefited the recipient or community. Ask if they have anything to add as they might have thought of benefits that had not occurred to you. It is also an opportunity to get member feedback to improve the attendee experience next year. Follow up with handwritten thank you notes for their participation and contributions.
With a well thought out plan, this project can multi-task across the board of your marketing strategy. Have a video set-up, a photographer, and a tape recorder to transcribe quotes. During the conference, you can publish pictures and quotes in the show daily. Attendees will see these participants as ambassadors during your event and seek them out. Video clips or pictures with quotes can be broadcast across your social media channels to engage the non-attending community who are following your hashtag. This material can also be repurposed all year long on social media, your website, and finally as a marketing tool for next year’s conference.
What your members have to say about your association is the most powerful and compelling publicity tool at your disposal.