Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Looking for Your Best Social Media Stories!

I am thrilled! I just signed a contract to start writing regular articles for a popular blog in the events industry in 2016. My posts are primarily going to cover stories about social media for associations, which is a natural area for me to write about and share. I'm thinking many of my articles will end up being a combination of:
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Tips and tools
  • Advice

Although I think I come across great stories like this fairly regularly, I can't write about my clients only and I will need lots of fresh material. That's where YOU come in!

If you have article ideas for stories I can cover, please let me know. If I use one of them, I'll send you a $5 Starbucks card as a thank you! Even if it's just a few ideas on whom I should reach out to for interviews or some new social media tools you think are working particularly well for your organization, I'd love to hear from you. 

Email me your tips (and your preferred email or mailing address for your Starbucks gift card) and if I use your ideas, I'll send you a "thank you" treat that you can use for yourself or gift to another.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Apps that Excite Association Professionals

Today on Association Chat we are talking about the apps that are rocking association professionals' worlds.

What are the apps that make a difference in your day-to-day life? We'll explore apps that impact your business, personal, spiritual, and physical lives. Here are some questions we'll discuss:
  1. Which apps are you using to improve what you do at work?
  2. Which apps are helping you with content and marketing for your association?
  3. Which event apps have you used, which event apps are you hoping to use, and what are the features that you really want in an event app?
  4. How are these apps improving your jobs? How long have you been using the app? How did you hear about it?
  5. Which apps are you using to make your life better?
  6. Which apps bring you happiness and why?
  7. Which apps turn you off completely? Why?
  8. What kind of app do you wish existed, but doesn't?
  9. Does your association have an app? 
  10. If your org has an app, what does it do? Is it effective?
  11. If your org does not have an app, what kind of app would be valuable to your members or clients? What features would it have?
  12. What top 3 apps would you recommend to a friend, colleague, or member?
It should be a great chat - if you've never participated, definitely join in the fun on Tuesday at 2 pm ET. We meet every Tuesday at 2 pm ET, so if you missed it this week you can always catch the replay or join us next week for another chat.

For reminders on upcoming topics and just to show the chat some love, please join the Association Chat Facebook Group.

Side Notes

  1. RFP - ASAE Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference (June 13–14, 2016) - Submit your ideas by October 30
  2. RFP - Association Media & Publishing's 2016 Annual Meeting (June 27-29, 2016) - Proposals are due October 30, 2015
  3. RFP - ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition (August 13-16, 2016) - Submission Deadline is Friday, November 20, 2015
  4. Have you checked out Twitter Publish yet? Twitter announced this new tool and now Twitter Publish is available to the public - check out to start curating and to create a collection like this one:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Association Execs - What Keeps You Up at Night?

What a fabulous conversation with great people!

Next week's chat is all about apps that are perfect for association executives and industry folks. You can join in the fun next Tuesday at 2 pm EDT here: You can also join the Association Chat Facebook Group at

Association Chat is a weekly chat that takes place on Tuesdays at 2 pm ET on Blab. You can also take part in regular conversations and follow links and industry news by following the hashtag #assnchat on Twitter.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Association Chat On Camera! What's Happening to #assnchat?

For the past few weeks Association Chat has been quietly testing a new platform for the weekly Tuesday chats.

Blab is a livestreaming platform that enables a public video chat among four participants at a time. Viewers come in to watch the livestream and they can participate by leaving comments on the desktop application or below on the mobile version. Participants can ask for a seat on camera or respond to the video chat via text. If you are familiar with the likes of Periscope, Meerkat and Google Hangouts, it basically combines all three.

Blab was just launched in April of this year and it is still very much in Beta, though early power users like Joel Comm and Chris Brogan are hosting regular chats and even "Blab Ups" at this point. 

Association Chat has been a regular weekly chat, hosted mostly on Twitter, for the past six years. The chat, created by association legend Jeff De Cagna, was the basis for the popular (and sometimes provocative) hashtag #assnchat. Association Chat has had meetups, tweetups, a book club, and also comes with its own Association Chat group on Facebook.

So far the tests with using Blab for the weekly chats have shown promise. The chats are recorded (you can see replays of past Association Chats on Blab) and the engagement and quality of conversation seems high. My hope is that more voices from the industry will choose to jump in to the available seats on camera each week and share their expertise and opinions on the industry topics du jour. As always, it's the added insights from the participants that creates the value for these chats.
Kait Soloman is a regular Association Chat participant who brings value with every conversation. You can follow her on Twitter: @KaitlinSolomon3

This Tuesday's chat will focus on a more general topic, "What Keeps You up at Night?" We'll also be discussing, "what gets you up in the morning" as suggested by the wildly creative and fun Randi Sumner (follow her on Twitter!). 

Please join the conversation and community live on Tuesday at 2 pm EDT, keep up to date with the Association Chat Facebook Group, and feel free to contact me if you'd like to guest host or have ideas for topics that we should cover in a future chat (a list of planned topics are posted here, but we can always change the schedule around for hot topics!). 

People are always posting interesting articles, links, and thoughts to the Association Chat hashtag, #assnchat, throughout the week on Twitter, so you can always jump in and join the conversation that way, as well. 

See you online!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Association Chat to feature authors of "Leading Engagement from the Outside-In" on July 14th

Associations have always been “about” engagement, and in the past several years, we’ve had a renewed focus on engaging our members and other audiences. The thing is, most of us aren’t really doing it well. Could that be because we’ve been thinking about engagement all wrong, focusing on what we want members to do and how we define value?

Join Anna Caraveli (The Demand Networks) and Elizabeth Weaver Engel (Spark Consulting) on Tuesday, July 14 at 2 pm ET on Twitter (follow the hashtag #assnchat) to chat about their new whitepaper, Leading Engagement from the Outside-In, which describes a radical shift in our understanding of engagement, one based on an approach that encourages us to view the world from our audiences’ perspective, focus on the outcomes they want to achieve, build authentic relationships, and harness the power of collaboration to co-create the value our organizations provide.

Download the whitepaper at and come ready to share your thoughts on developing an outside-in perspective on your interactions and relationships with your members and other audiences. 

Anna Caraveli is CEO of the Demand Networks, LLC, author of the new book, The Demand Perspective: Leading from the Outside-In, published by ASAE, and of numerous articles. She has over 20 years of experience in non-profit membership organizations, helping them resonate and connect with new generations of members, build new value propositions, and increase engagement and revenue. The Demand Networks and her research are focused on understanding what it takes to engage today, executing new models of member relationships and helping to build engaging organizations, at the pulse of their markets. When she is not saving the world, Anna walks her dog and cheers for the Washington Capitals.

Elizabeth is CEO and Chief Strategist at Spark Consulting LLC. She has more than seventeen years of experience helping associations grow, in membership, marketing, communications, public presence, and especially revenue, which is what Spark is all about. Elizabeth speaks and writes frequently on a variety of topics in association management. When she's not helping associations grow, she loves to dance, listen to live music, cook, and blog about the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The 5 Best Resources to Improve Your Social Media Influence By 35%

We've all heard the statistics about driving engagement on social media by using pictures, but questions abound about how to use this information to really move the needle on social media outcomes. 

Every morning I walk my seven-year-old daughter to her bus stop. We talk about nature, comment on the things we see along the way, and look both ways before crossing the street. On one of these morning journeys I noticed the carpet cleaning van parked on the corner of the street. As I read past the name and busy design work on the van, I noticed four little words plastered across its back right panel: "Follow us on Twitter."

The benefit to thinking through your content strategy along with your social media plan, making sure to measure engagement along the way, will allow you to implement a clear, concise strategy. Organizations who do this will find better engagement and brand recognition than others who don’t have a coordinated plan in place.
Truth is, I didn't look up that carpet cleaning business on Twitter. It may be an expert resource on cleaning carpets with high engagement with its followers, but if it's like many businesses I see on social media, it is likely a social media parking lot for the occasional promotional post. A social media plan should be comprised of so much more than a quick, primarily reactive channel for promotion. It should combine everything you know about your audience, your objectives, your strategies for achieving those objectives, and the tools you plan to use. Add to that your content strategy and you have a strong social media plan that will help you achieve your goals while you gain valuable insights from your audience along the way.
Why is content strategy necessary for your social media plan? Because you need to have a keen understanding of your audience, the types of conversations they are interested in having, and an idea about where, online, they want to have those conversations. In addition, you need to measure those conversations and be able to translate the metrics into insights. Your content strategy will inform your decisions on what to post where. 
Images and video drive more engagement than text-only posts in social media and if you have analyzed your audience, you should be able to identify the online outposts that would maximize your use of images for your audience. Using images, visual pictures, videos, and graphs, for better information sharing has been proven to improve social media influence by 35%. Here are 5 great resources to help you up your social media game by 35%*:
  1. Blogger Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Photos You Don't Own on Your Blog by Roni Loren (January 12, 2015)
  2. Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner reminds us that, “as humans, we connect emotionally to images more than video, audio or text. People make decisions and take action quicker when promoted by images.”
  3. From a user’s perspective, photos are also the most engaging type of content on Facebook, with a whopping 87% interaction rate from fans! No other post type received more than a 4% interaction rate. (
  4. 12 Clever Ways to Use More Visuals on Social Media (Dec 2014)
  5. Unsplash - This is my favorite new site. 10 new photos every 10 days. They're beautiful. And you can use this little tool to instantly add your quotes and upload to social media in seconds.
You have to try a few of these resources out and see how they impact your social media strategy. Email me with your results at - I'd love to hear about what you're doing!
*Source: Adding a photo to your tweet can boost retweets by an impressive 35% ( - March 2014

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Association Chat: Thanking Volunteers

Thank You Charm by Beth on Flickr
How do we show our volunteers that we appreciate them throughout the year? Certainly there are the reminders on our calendars. In April we celebrate National Volunteer Month (with National Volunteer Week taking the spotlight) and in November we celebrate Thanksgiving, which is a natural time to show our gratitude for all sorts of things including volunteers.

Some associations have created dynamic volunteer programs that do a good job of making the volunteer feel appreciated on a regular basis, but how do they do that? What kind of acknowledgement are volunteers really expecting from their associations? Why is it important that associations put thought into their volunteer programs?

We'll be discussing the importance of thanking volunteers throughout the year during this Association Chat.

Questions I'll ask:

  1. What key features must a healthy volunteer program possess?
  2. Why is thanking volunteers so important for organizations?
  3. What kind of recognition do volunteers expect from an organization?
  4. In what creative ways have you seen organizations thanking their volunteers?
  5. How often should organizations thank their volunteers? 
  6. How can organizations recognize different levels of volunteerism?
  7. What would delight you as a volunteer?
  8. How can you thank a volunteer today?
  9. In what ways can you help your organization better thank volunteers in the future?
How to participate in Association Chat:
If you'd like to check out Association Chat, just remember to jump onto Twitter on Tuesdays at 2 pm EST using the hashtag #assnchat.

If you'd like an easy and relaxing experience with the chat, I like to use Nurph for easily following along. The Nurph link to use for Association Chat is

Next Week's Chat Topic: Mentoring and Your Personal Growth (in honor of national "Thank a Teacher Day!")

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Association Chat: Associations and Globalization
As the world seems to get smaller with the aid of technology, many associations have already expanded internationally or are looking to grow overseas in the future. But what makes an association a "global" organization versus a national organization with international ties? How do associations balance growth in their home countries while investing in growth internationally? What considerations do associations need to take when going global?

These are some of the issues we'll be discussing in this week's Association Chat. 

Questions for this week's chat:
  1. When should an association consider globalization?
  2. What might be some red flags for organizations looking at globalization indicating they shouldn't proceed?
  3. What are some considerations that need to be taken for leadership opportunities within an association attempting to go global?
  4. How would globalization potentially impact an association's delivery of services and benefits?
  5. What are some approaches that global associations use to make sure dues are fair for all members, no matter their location?
  6. How would marketing and communication plans be affected by an association becoming global?
  7. How might you develop strategic partnerships in other countries to support your organization's expansion?
  8. What are the keys to long term success with globalization efforts?

How to participate in Association Chat:
If you'd like to check out Association Chat, just remember to jump onto Twitter on Tuesdays at 2 pm EST using the hashtag #assnchat.

If you'd like an easy and relaxing experience with the chat, I like to use Nurph for easily following along. The Nurph link to use for Association Chat is

Next Week's Chat Topic: Thanking Your Volunteers Year Round

Monday, April 13, 2015

Association Chat: Mobile Apps for Your Association Events

This week, I'll be moderating a panel of experts on the subject of event apps for the Potomac Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (PMPI). To go along with that theme, event apps will be the focus of this week's Association Chat...and there's a lot to talk about!

Julius Solaris, author of the eBook, The Event App Bible, shares some staggering statistics from his research that indicate a wide, but narrowing, gap between what meeting planners want from an event app and what the mobile app developers are providing.

Did you know?: '59 percent of event professionals do not currently have a mobile event app, although 53 percent of those "are looking to get one" in the near future.'

This week's Association Chat will center around identifying the questions that most association executives have about event apps, working with event app vendors, and knowing how to measure success.

Here are some of the questions I plan on asking during the chat:
  1. What are your biggest concerns about adopting an event app?
  2. What are the must-have features that you need in an event app?
  3. What are some questions that every event planner must ask before settling on an event app as a solution?
  4. Who in your organization must be a part of the decision-making team when it comes to selecting an event app?
  5. How do you measure whether or not an event app is successful?
  6. How do you make certain your event app will meet with success?
  7. What kind of measurements/tracking do you want to get from your event app?
  8. How do maintain a healthy relationship with your event app vendor?
  9. How often should you evaluate your event app?

How to participate in Association Chat:
If you'd like to check out Association Chat, just remember to jump onto Twitter on Tuesdays at 2 pm EST using the hashtag #assnchat.

If you'd like an easy and relaxing experience with the chat, I like to use Nurph for easily following along. The Nurph link to use for Association Chat is

Next Week's Chat Topic: The Association and Globalization

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Association Chat: Promoting Your Association

Cutting through the noise is one of the greatest challenges facing associations today. While social media provides tools helpful for getting messages out in creative new ways, the additional outlets for communication can also be overwhelming. Where does that leave nonprofits looking for the best way to communicate to their audiences?

This week's Association Chat will focus on asking questions that will help to dig down to the nitty gritty of promoting your organization's brand.

Here are the questions I'll ask this week:

  1. What messaging do you want people to repeat about your organization?
  2. Does your org target the right messages for the right people at the right time with the right communication tool? How?
  3. Does your communication reflect the association's values? How do you ensure this is the case?
  4. How do you find out what the most important issues are for your fans, members, and customers?
  5. What times during the year do your customer and members groups think most about your organization?
  6. What should be on your marketing "kill list" to weed out needless communications?
  7. When is a time your org was deliberately controversial or counterintuitive?
  8. How does your organization use social media listening to see trends and patterns?
  9. How can you break down the silos in orgs that prevent being nimble in communication?
  10. How could your org use an influencer strategy to maximize your messages?

How to participate in Association Chat:

If you'd like to check out Association Chat, just remember to jump onto Twitter on Tuesdays at 2 pm EST using the hashtag #assnchat.

If you'd like an easy and relaxing experience with the chat, I like to use Nurph for easily following along. The Nurph link to use for Association Chat is

Resources for this week's Association Chat:

I just read the fabulous book by PR smarty Adele Cehrs, titled SPIKE Your Brand ROI: How to Maximize Reputation and Get Results. Her book inspired me to focus on promotion for this chat - I cannot recommend the book highly enough.

Storify of the chat (graciously provided by Kait Solomon)!

Next Week's Chat Topic: All About Meeting Apps for Associations

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Association Chat: Focusing on Customers and Members

Whether you call them customers or members, it is important to remember that the membership experience is a critical piece of an association professional's responsibility. We're going to spend an hour discussing how we can better serve our members and our organizations on the March 31, 2015 edition of Association Chat. How can we bring delight to our members? We will talk all about it and more during the chat.

Here are the questions I'll ask this week:

1. What is the value your org offers members? Why should they join?

2. How does the pricing of your offerings either encourage or discourage membership?

3. How does your organization solve problems for its members?

4. Has your membership changed much in the last 10 years? If so, in what ways?

5. How does the value you place on staff relate to the value placed on membership? Does it?

6. What are the biggest membership problems facing your org today?

7. What are your member recruiting strategies?

8. What are your member onboarding tactics?

9. How do you bring delight to your members?

10. How do you capture member testimonials to better share stories of success?

For a great resource on association membership, please check out The Art of Membership: How to Attract, Retain, and Cement Member Loyalty by Sheri Jacobs.

Don't forget! To participate in the weekly Association Chat, tune into Twitter on Tuesdays at 2 pm EST following the hashtag #assnchat. Want an easier chat experience? Try following along at

Next week's chat: Promoting Your Association


You can read Kait Solomon's Storify of the chat here:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Association Chat: The Digital Organization

I've been reading an excellent book by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant, When Millennials Take Over, that identifies four capacities for the future of business: Digital, Clear, Fluid, and Fast. The March 24, 2015 edition of Association Chat will focus on The Digital Organization - inspired by this great book. Is your association a digital organization? We'll discuss during today's chat.

Here are the questions I'll be asking this week:

  1. How has technology allowed your org to provide a more personalized focus on the customer or member?
  2. How has technology opened up new opportunities for more effective marketing, customer service, and even management?
  3. Does your organization focus on always improving? How does your org support innovation?
  4. Does your organization use technology to better communicate internally? How? What tools do you use, both analog & digital?
  5. How does your org use social media to improve customer service? If it doesn't, why not?
  6. How does your org's focus on the customer compare to its focus on the employee? How is it similar? How is it not?
  7. In your role, how would you choose to next invest in technology for your organization?
  8. Do employees have room to experiment in your organization? If so, please share how. If not, how might it work for your org?
  9. What role does collaboration play in a digital organization?
  10. What role does HR play for organizational reinvention based on a digital mindset?
Everyone is welcome to participate in Association Chat on Tuesdays at 2 pm ET/11 am PT. An easy way to follow along is to check out which automatically follows #assnchat for you. 

Next week's chat: Focusing on Customers and Members


UPDATE: For a recap of Association Chat: The Digital Organization, check out Kait Solomon's Storify capturing tweets from the chat.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Challenges with Member Experience Facing Associations

What questions do you wish you could answer over again?

Today I had the pleasure of talking with Todd Greer of Synervision - The Leadership Foundation for their weekly interview series. As usual, as soon as the interview wrapped, I immediately felt remorse for what was left unsaid. I have no right to claim that my brain is failing me, but sometimes I swear I am failing my brain.

One of the big questions Todd asked me was about the challenges facing organizations today; especially as it pertains to experience for their customers or members. I can't even remember what over-excited words spilled from my lips, but I know I felt like I had somehow missed out on sharing what I wanted to say. Here's what I'd say if I had the chance all over again.

What Challenges Are Facing Associations As It Pertains to Customer Experience?

1. Understanding Data

I think one big challenge organizations face in building the right member experience is in figuring out how to use the data associations already have.  Most organizations are obese with data, but there is often a disconnect in how to use that information to improve the experience of the member.

2. Missing Critical Touchpoints 

Associations might say, "We know our audiences…we have professionals, students, and institutions. We've got this covered." But how are those organizations creating meaningful experiences that create demand when someone, perhaps a non-member, does something like buying a book from them? Is a relationship created, or is it merely a financial exchange? What does that experience feel like to the customer? 

One association I talked with recently is looking at changing their membership model. They have a nice diagram and explanation for the different audiences they are looking to engage with, but the most important part – creating the onramps to the organization for these audiences – the connection and interaction points, the touchpoints, for how to better engage them all need to be identified and then built upon. My hope is that that organization will put as much time and effort into getting those experiences right as they have their business diagrams.

3. Cultural Shifts 

Look at the way our society has changed with technology advances over the past 10 years. I could focus on social media only, but that is a small part of the bigger picture. It's a digital society that has brought with it new shifts in the way we look at simple things like ownership. We now live with the realities of a sharing economy and collaborative consumption. People now have the ability to share their own possessions and activities– their homes, their cars, their books, their drives, their clothes, even their pets – with strangers in exchange for money or as a bartering type of experience and this is creating a new economy that tax laws and the government haven’t caught up with yet. 

In the interview I actually went a little crazy talking about the sharing economy (couldn't help it), but I asked how associations are looking at this kind of thing. What if a member could trade their membership with someone from a similar or competitive association? Why couldn’t they? Why shouldn’t they? I think people are afraid of uncertainty. To me, asking questions like that should be a requirement for association professionals. That's right. I'm for hire.


What kind of questions do you wish you could have a second shot at answering? How do you feel about the challenges I listed? What other challenges can you think of?