Posts tagged ‘associations’

21 Reasons Web Video is the Key to Your Association’s Future

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By Stuart Meyer

In many ways, the history of associations up to present day has been built upon information.  Think about it, trends, best practices, education, professional development, standards, research data and more.  For many decades our members and the rest of the world has looked to our association for information.

Today, information is everywhere and associations often find themselves getting lost in the ocean of noise.  The future of associations will be assured not merely by our highly credible body of knowledge, but most importantly by our ability to be a visible constant in effectively communicating and connecting our knowledge to our crucial audiences.

Of all the traditional media communications channels, video presents the potential to be the most engaging of them all.  Yet most associations are ignoring it’s powerful importance and long-term potential.  Ready to catch up?  Here are 21 crucial opportunities you are missing out on if your association is not currently planning it’s web video and web TV future:

1)  A Deeper Level of Engagement:  Compelling video-based content can evoke emotional-based economic decisions in ways few other mediums can accomplish as it helps members identify with the faces and stories behind the association’s mission, reflecting upon their own professional belief-system.

2)  Advocacy from the Front Line:  Creates a more powerful medium for stakeholders to not just hear about issues, but to immerse them in the experience, the lives and stories behind the issues.

3)  Rise Above the “Noise”:  As with advocacy, original programming creates a window into the public-interfacing side of the association’s mission which can capture attention like no other medium

4)  Increase Brand Visibility and Equity:  A story-driven association internet TV network can become a powerful branding platform for associations given the ability to inspire hearts and minds with compelling video content and create a quasi-“celebrity” good of the order feel.

5)  The Next Best Thing to Human Interaction:  The only communication medium more powerful than compelling multi-sensory video is recurring one-to-one human interaction.

6)  Traditional Media Regularly Searches Web Video:  Original programming creates a cross-over vehicle for direct use or heightened attention from traditional media networks.

7)  The Most Powerful Integrated Media Channel:  Compelling video-based content can be the primary communication medium and used as a secondary reinforcement/supplement  to other types of traditional media.  For example, video-based point-of-view (POV) stories could be used to illustrate a publication or journal article bringing the association mission “to life”.

8)  Build Targeted Channels Around Audience Segments:  Based upon member segmentation, an association internet TV broadcast network creates the opportunity to group narrower content into a series of channels with content focusing on each audience segment, such a student-focused channel.

9)  Capture the Heart… and Mind:   Member research almost always reveals a commitment to the higher association purpose in the decision to join and retain.  Beyond practical value, utilizing compelling video-based content can strengthen members’ emotional connection to the association in a way few other mediums can accomplish.

10)  Cross-Marketing:  Channel-based series and  programming creates an enticing “entry-point” for cross-promoting all other benefits, activities and opportunities within the association.

11)  User-Controlled Interactive Video:  Video-based technologies enable content producers to embed links and additional content within the viewing experience allowing the audience to “take additional action” or engage in transactions or conversations while still watching the primary video content, including the launch of web browsers.

12)  One Minute of Video is Worth 1.8 Million Words:  The mass medium of video enables associations to make compelling connections with hearts, minds and belief-systems like no other.

13) A Conversation Starter:  Compelling video-based content storytelling is a great conversation starter for ongoing dialogue via social media channels OR media-integrated interaction.

14)  Mobile Reach Beyond Association Walls:  Channel-based video content can reach the full spectrum of members and stakeholders via minimal investment of time/attention.  Further, internet-based programs become portable for easy aggregation across a wide spectrum of platforms and sites.

15)  A Long Media Shelf-life:  Unlike the limited shelf-life of publications, journals, earned media and other media tools, channel series and programming can be utilized repeatedly over time.

16) Watch Anytime, Anywhere:  From living room internet-equipped TVs to tablets, smart phones and PCs, it’s never been easier to build media channels and distribute video-based content.

17)  Non-Dues Revenue: The association broadcast TV network, channels and programming generates new opportunities for advertising and sponsorship.  While programming requires a one-time expense to produce, it has the potential to generate revenue for years to come.

18)  ROI (Return-on-Investment) & COI (Cost-of-Inaction):  With an internet-based broadcast channel’s ability to cross-promote the entire spectrum of activities within the association, ROI models should be set up to measure corresponding activity across the spectrum, well beyond the ability of traditional PR, paid advertising and collateral… all in addition to direct response measures and video platform analytics.

19)  New Strategic Sponsorship Opportunities:  Partner with sponsors to offset or cover the entire cost of development/production and creates an unprecedented level of brand-integrated positioning for strategic sponsors.

20)  Reasonable Production Costs:  With the rise in passionate creative talent and the decrease in technology cost, production and development is affordable by comparison to print publication, PR and advocacy programs.  Internet TV broadcast network creates the opportunity to group narrower content into a series of channels with content focusing on each audience segment, such a student-focused channel.

21)  Search Engine Optimization (SEO):  YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web and Google owns YouTube.  The Google search algorithm presently prioritizes YouTube video content on page one of search results.  I have one client who received a total of three page one Google search results simultaneously for an important keyword based on a video series we produced for them.

 

SM_12-4-12_edited-2With 14 years of association experience matched by a lifetime of creative experience in music and film, Stuart Meyer is President and Founder of Social Frequency Media Communications.  Social Frequency provides turnkey broadcast digital media development, platform and production solutions for associations, non-profit and business organizations.  Stuart can be reached at stuart(at)socialfrequency.net or by visiting www.socialfrequency.net 

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January 11, 2015 at 10:20 am Leave a comment

Ad Hoc Learning – 7 Trends Pushing the Popularity of Simplified Web Video-Based Education and Learning in Associations

by Stuart Meyer

Learn as if you were to live forever”.  Ghandi

SM_12-4-12_edited-1A few years ago, I served as a contributing author and speaker on ASAE’s Decision to Volunteer research project and publication where we popularized the term “ad hoc volunteer”.  An ad hoc volunteer is one who engages in a single-task volunteer assignment as opposed to a volunteer serving a formal long-term commitment on a committee or project team.  While we uncovered the opportunities presented by ad hoc volunteer roles, including increasing levels of loyalty and personal investment, we also learned that the formal governance structure of associations needed to become better equipped to leverage the potential of ad hoc volunteers.

Today, we’re learning the desire for ad hoc association participation is not limited to volunteerism.  In simplified terms, “ad hoc participation” from a member perspective means I don’t presently have the time for formal participation but desire opportunities for informal participation as time and interest warrants.  Further transposed to the evolving media world around us, it could be characterized as the “I want what I want when I want it and how I want it” trend.

The notion of “ad hoc learning” is certainly not a new concept as just about every conference pre/post evaluation survey and focus group I’ve conducted over the years always highlights the transforming experience and value of peer-to-peer informal learning and education-based networking… that “aha” moment when we’re standing at a conference during a break having a substantive conversation with another attendee and suddenly the “light bulb” finally goes on and our professional plight feels a little less lonely.

The opportunity for associations is determining how to satisfy this “everything-on-demand” generation of customers/members as a bridge to strengthening value, engagement, brand sentiment, loyalty and deepening levels of involvement.  The question is… will we continue to make them come to us or will we find better ways to go to them.

As we look out upon current trends, the notion of learning and how we gather the information we need, it’s certainly far from a news flash that much has changed over the past 10-20 years.  The key opportunity and strategy I see each and every day in my work is to simplify learning and access to learning as much as possible as an “everyday learning” compliment to our more formal means of web-based learning.

Let’s take a look 7 key trends driving our associations toward the demand for on-demand video-based ad hoc learning.

1) Video vs. Text Preferences

In 2010, Forbes shared a series of findings relating to web-based video.  According to their data, 59% of senior executives prefer to watch a video instead of reading text, if both are available on the same page.  80% are watching more online video today than they were a year ago. Finally, more than half of senior executives share videos with colleagues at least weekly and receive work-related videos as often.  From a consumer standpoint, in 2012 Retail Touchpoints reported that consumers who viewed video were 174% more likely to purchase than viewers who did not.  Whether using informal video-based learning as a compliment to text articles or the other way around, the opportunity to deepen the experience and sharing is clear.

2) Mobile Technology and Rise in Screen Time

The explosion of mobile smartphones and tablet devices continue to require us to determine how we optimize our content/product/information/services to best suit life on a mobile device screen and situational consumption patterns.  Google has suggested that within the next couple of years, nearly 90% of web traffic will be video-based mainly due to the rise of mobile technology.  Single topic video-based ad hoc learning lends itself to the mobile experience.

3)  TEDtalks

TED, short for Technology, Entertainment and Design, is non-profit organization driven by a global grassroots movement to advance “ideas worth sharing”.  A major component of TED is their online video TEDtalk series which are typically highly topic-focused presentations delivered during TEDx events which take place all over the world.  In a nutshell, TED has conditioned us toward ad hoc web video-based learning and over the past year my company, Social Frequency Media Communications, has worked with a number of clients in producing TED-style web video series as a form of simplified ad hoc learning… ranging from virtual speaker showcases to multi-episode topic-driven video series.

4)  Time… or the Lack Thereof

Dr. James McQuivey, Vice-President of Forrester Research, has been quoted as saying “a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words”.  Produced properly, video is a simple yet powerful form of communication that is more like a sit-back form of entertainment as opposed to a sit-forward mental activity.  Where once we were only “connected” if we were sitting in front of a PC, today we are continuously connected to our devices and, increasingly, through web-enabled smart TVs.

5)  Every other aspect of your customers/members lives

Your association’s customers/members live in a world of on-demand instant gratification options and your competition is every other form of streaming media, including Netflix and Hulu.  The difference between today’s online association video practices and the early days of low-viewership poor quality flip cam video is strategy, quality, marketing and distribution.  A simple eye-opening exercise is to compare your current lineup of YouTube videos side-by-side with your glossy association magazine and ask yourself if there is an equitable commitment/investment in production quality.  When it comes to our magazines, webinars, conferences and annual meetings we leave very little to chance in terms of production, marketing and promotion.  It’s time for associations to invest the same amount of energy in web video broadcast practices as poor quality cheapens both brand and credibility where high quality serves the strengthen brand and credibility.

6)  Rise of Niche, the Decline of Linear

Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, advances the notion that “The niche is now king, and the entertainment industry – from music to movies to TV – will never be the same.”  Let’s face it, if your association’s video-based learning strategy isn’t generating series of content focusing on every possible niche topic within your profession the reality is someone else will do so.  The opportunity is great with the main risk being inaction.   Further, instead of producing a single linear 45 minute learning-based video, break it up into more “bite-size” narrow topics and present a series of shorter, more focused videos given the viewer the option to view everything or to focus only on the topics most relevant to them.  Additionally, putting the viewer in control of what they watch can also increase additional views and sharing.

7)  The Opportunity of Portability

When it comes to our association publications, we’ve always dreamed of the “viral” scenario in which each issue is carefully routed around the office getting in front of as many people as possible.  Today, online video is portable not only in the sense we can take it anywhere we go via mobile technologies but the url-based format simplifies online portability in our ability to easily share video with others either through email, text or social channels.  If video-based learning content is locked down in an LMS or only available via a live webinar, a big portion of the opportunity is lost.  For this reason, its important to treat your ad hoc video-based learning strategy as a compliment to your other formal education programming.

So there you have it, a look at the evolution and trends surrounding web video-based ad hoc learning within associations as a means to strengthening value, engagement and brand sentiment.  To see an example of what it looks like, click here to see a 4-part AAO-HNS web series which was produced by Social Frequency Media Communications.

Stuart Meyer is President and Founder of Social Frequency Media Communications, a turnkey new media innovation and production company with 12 years of association management experience dedicated to helping associations develop, integrate, produce and manage a strong web TV broadcast network and presence.  He can be reached at stuart(at)socialfrequency(DOT)net

June 26, 2013 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

“Lights! Cameras! Interaction! 5 Internet TV Strategies for a New Era of Member Engagement

Imagine your association or trade organization having its own television network full of “must-see” original series-based and niche programming which draws in a loyal audience of members, non-members and relevant stakeholders.  It begins with great storytelling.

Good storytelling is like a “window”, but great storytelling serves as both a “window” and “mirror” reflection upon your audience’s own experiences, interests and core values.  Good stories appeal to us on a rational level but great storytelling reaches the heart and soul which leaves us feeling a stronger connection and “kinship” with the story, its subjects and origin.

Despite these truths, as membership professionals we’ve spent years doing our best working within the limitations of the communications channels and platforms we’ve had at our disposal in our attempt to engage members in our messaging, stories and networking.

While video is considered to be the most effective multi-sensory form of communication, it has largely been out-of-reach for most of us until the recent evolution of web video.  Despite growing access to web broadcast channels and video platforms, one might conclude that our industry’s approach to video strategy has been somewhat primitive at best.

In the end, it’s not the format of video itself that creates a compelling story-driven experience, but rather the way in which we utilize video as a tool to tell powerful series-driven stories which create that ongoing “window” and “mirror” reflection that strengthens the way members identify and engage our associations.

Interactive internet TV technology is gaining steam and when you consider the reach of internet-based video across living room TV screens, computer screens, tablets and mobile phones, the opportunity becomes clearer.  However, it’s going to take more than a couple of flip cams to get on the right track toward producing the right series and programming.  Below are some strategies to help you get started:

1)  Develop Channel Segments: Just as we define membership segments, it is equally important to define the key audiences you would like to reach.  Audience segmentation can help you not only plan the most relevant series/episodic content but also help you prioritize creative development.

2)  Interactive Video Platforms and Tools: There are more options out there than you might think.  Emerging technologies, such as Coincident TV, are providing an early glimpse into the full potential of truly interactive internet-based TV.  This technology converts passive viewers into fully engaged active participants who are in control of the viewing experience.  This type of video technology is hardwired for social networking and enables the producer to create behavior-prompting “cue points” during the video which to convert compelling “moments” into actions.   Click here to consider the possibilities.

3) Story Format and Series Planning: We live in the age of reality-style TV, which is essentially a documentary-style form of storytelling.  Immersing audiences into the center of a story in an authentic way is not only compelling, but also a far less expensive form of production than “staged” programming.  Consider the prospect of following a member/s over multiple episodes, entering into their daily life and experiences.  The premise of the series should be rooted in the key messages, themes and goals your associations seeks to convey, only your messengers are real members telling/living real and relatable stories.

4)  Sponsor-Integrated Programming: The need to generate non-dues revenue is a trend that will likely not go away anytime soon.  Sponsors seek to create a close strategic alignment/relationship with your members.  The challenge is granting sponsors the level of integration they desire while at the same avoiding disruption and value-detraction.  Interactive original internet-based video programming offers the creative possibility of incorporating sponsors as meaningful story elements incorporating the CTV style of capabilities above.  Perhaps the best news of all, original series-based programming is not only a great vehicle for sponsors but also an excellent means by which to underwrite production costs.       

5)  Leveraging Series Stars as Association Surrogates: The cascading benefit of an effective internet TV strategy is you are creating an air of “celebrity” around the “stars” you feature as part of your series-based programming.  These association “celebrities” can become amazing surrogates and spokespersons for your association at a number of key levels.  Looking for an example, watch this example which contributed a spike in membership for the Emergency Nurses Association.

Need more examples to jumpstart your storytelling, take a look at these soon-to-be-released non-profit examples from America’s Chefs and The Exchange Club .

In the end, as you develop your internet TV strategy always keep in mind you are building a deeper and broader level of engagement with your members.

April 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm 2 comments

What Social Media Means to Associations – Beyond Mere Facebook Pages and Twitter Accounts

I’ve recently had the wonderful opportunity to deliver presentations to a variety of individuals and organisations regarding how social media is already transforming the future of associations.  Through these experiences, I’ve listened carefully to fears, perceptions and admirable admissions of a lack of functional understanding relating to what social media means to associations.

I also hear allot about Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, as if that is somehow enough to leverage the potential of the social web.  The reality is social media is more than a communication channel, rather it is a one-to-one and one-to-many conversation and relationship-building tool.  The same types of conversations and relationships we have been engaging in with current and prospective members for years.  It’s also a business strategy, just like other vital aspects of organizational operations provided it is already acceptable for staff to answer the phone and handle attendee questions at conferences.

Simply put:

The social web is an opportunity to expand your association sphere by listening, connecting, engaging and building vital relationships which expands your association sphere.

Why is this important?  Because conversations and relationships are what led to the creation of associations in the first place.  Further, social cohesion is the glue which holds together and propels our organizations.

A member’s commitment to an association is measured by the extent to which they feel a connected part of the organization.  The way members connect to an association is through some form of engagement or participation.  Before the social web, it required a greater sacrifice and investment to participate (planes, trains and automobiles), but today the social web provides an inexhaustible opportunity to connect and participate.

As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same.  The social web is simply a smarter tool with which we can adapt and greatly expand our mission.  With the right organizational foundation, we can all be ready when Facebook inevitably becomes tomorrow’s MySpace.  While the platforms will continue to change, the “rules” will always remain the same.

I designed the cluster symbol above to demonstrate the way in which a like-minded group of people bond together to form an association.  Clusters form within associations to initiate new projects and components.  Today, new clusters are forming outside the walls of your association, in almost every case not to replace you but to give rise to issues and concerns facing a trade or profession.  As associations, our goal is to reach out and create new bonds with individuals and groups working in support of our interests.  This symbol is also the official symbol of my new consulting practice, Social Frequency Media, which I started out of a deep desire to help associations transform their futures and leverage the potential of social media.  I hope you will find the above information and other postings here at Association 2020 useful.  SM

December 7, 2009 at 2:12 pm 3 comments

12 Ways Social Media is Different than Traditional Mass Media

Social Frequency_symbolThe social web has changed the media communications landscape in a way much of the world has yet to fully understand.  Simply put, the social web has created almost a reverse flow in the traditional mass media world in which user-generated content and consumer activism is reaching more audiences than brand messaging.

Those businesses and organizations who refuse to begin charting a path toward collaborative and conversational social media communications models will eventually find their high-paid mass media messages generating a lonely echo on a faint frequencies.

Fear not my friends.  Below you will find a comparison of 11 ways in which social media is different than traditional mass media which will hopefully get those right brain neurons firing in a new direction.

1)  Traditional Mass Media is passive consumer participation, Social Media is active consumer participation.

2)  Traditional Mass Media is one-way “one-to-many” communication, Social Media is two-way “one-to-one” communication.

3)  Traditional Mass Media targets isolated consumersSocial Media connects consumers who generate conversations and content.

4)  Traditional Mass Media is message-driven, Social Media is conversation-driven.

5)  Traditional Mass Media is built around perceived brand control, Social Media is built around shared control and humanizing transparency.

6)  Traditional Mass Media consists of a limited set of targeted channels, Social Media consists of a conceivably unlimited number of targeted channels.

7)  Traditional Mass Media impressions are fleeting with awareness subsiding after date of publication/broadcast, Social Media conversations and content are lasting and continually discoverable via search engines.

8)  Traditional Mass Media is brand-driven, Social Media is service and consumer-driven.

9)  Traditional Mass Media has limited reach with increasing cost as reach expands, Social Media offers unlimited reach and micro-targeting while investment remains relatively constant.

10)  Traditional Mass Media is a financial investment in paid channels and creative, Social Media is a social investment in people, conversation and user-generated content.

11) Traditional Mass Media carries varying levels of credibility and authenticity, Social Media is conveys a stronger sense of credibility and authenticity.

12)  Traditional Mass Media is like night, Social Media is like day.

While the above picture has been painted with a broad brush and is far from complete, I believe the progression of social media to date has proven these thoughts to be fundamentally true and are becoming truer by the day.  What will be your next move?

September 30, 2009 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

5 Ways to Get into the Flow of Social Media

DSC_0131Below are  5 ways to use social media to expand your organization’s sphere of engagement, interaction, particiaption and influence: 

1)  Develop a comprehensive relationship-focused social media strategy driven by the mission and strategy of your association.

2)  Conduct a social media audit to identify all groups and influencers within your association’s social sphere. 

3)  Engage regularly in social media monitoring, utilizing keyword-based search tools built into popular social media platforms or third party applications.

4)  Operationalize the use of social media as a business tool at levels of the organization.

5)  Be authentic, experiment, make connections, build relationships and cultivate brand ambassadors.

August 24, 2009 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

5 Reasons Twitter Gives Associations Much to Tweet About

TwitterSimply put, imagination and the desire to connect on some level are the forces which have fueled the social web.  Though it’s been around for years, Twitter has exploded this year because of the convergence between creative users and industrious leveragers.

If your association is looking for a little boost in imagination in determining how to best utilize Twitter, here are 5 ways to give your association something to tweet about:

1) Tracking Trends in Real Time  – A couple of months ago a situation arose in an association I am familiar with regarding a situation in which it was known that a groundswell of stakeholder opinion would arise as a very well pubilicized event was about to take place.  There was plenty of concern as to how members would react once event publicity reached fever pitch.   The association needed to very quickly gauge qualitatively and quantitatively the impact of this publicized event to determine the best response strategy. 

Twitter became a primary resource as brief 140 character or less reviews began to spread like wild fire.  Through a couple of well-monitored keywords on Twitter, the association was able to determine with a fair amount of conclusivity that opinions within the stakeholder community was divided right down the middle, trending toward a higher degree of positivity for those who had witnessed the publicized event and more intense negativity for those who had only learned of the event through secondhand information. 

Given the quick timing and ease of use, Twitter is a great tool for monitoring fast-breaking trends.

2)  Service-Based StrategiesTracking conversations that arise regarding your association’s brand or related products/services is an easy way to execute some outbound member/prospective member service.  Twitter is the quickest and easiest way to issue a public complaint about a bad experience.  It used to be when you had a bad experience, the first thing you would want to do is find someone to tell all about the injustice.  Today, all you need to do is log into Twitter and let it fly in 140 characters or less. 

While this my be a troubling scenario should you find your association in the cross-hairs of this form of “drive-by tweet”, consider this… If the individual had a bad experience and told the next 10 people they crossed paths with there isn’t much you can do to rectify the situation.  However, when someone vents a complaint via Twitter, you have the ability to pick up on it fast and reach out to turn the situation around. 

Who should be responsible for monitoring Twitter for keywords relating to your association brand?  Why not everyone based on their area of immediate responsibility and expertise.  The key is to support such behavior, by example, from the top down.  With some simple “rules of engagement” in place, you can empower your team to make the difference.  Would it be any different if your staff was on-site at your association’s big conference and they saw someone struggling?  Would you want your staff to keep their distance or move in to provide some appropriate help?

3)  Harvesting FollowersEvery follower is potentially a real and meaningful connection.  If a Twitter user has jumped on board as a follower, make it a point to reach out @apersonallevel at least once.  Take a few moments to review their list of most recent posts to get a little better idea what they are all about.  Determine how you can make the most relevant connection. 

4)  Sweet Retweets –  Once you have made a connection with followers, be sure to ask if they would be willing to participate as a “retweeter” in the future when your association is tweeting important posts.  When they retweet, their network of followers will see the post as well.  The exponential power of Twitter in reaching large masses of people becomes clearer when you consider the power of retweeting.

5)  The Human TouchWhen setting up your association’s Twitter presence, remember this… to make a personal connection requires two human beings connecting.  Personality definitely counts and can only be achieved when your Twitter presence is comprised of identifiable people as opposed to a general @ACME Association identity. 

When engaging in mass messaging via Twitter, default to the person who is your official spokesperson in the first place.  If your highest ranking officer is willing to undergo media training to handle an assortment of print, radio or TV interviews, why not add in Twaining (Twitter training). 

You can easily retain your brand acronym while Twittering at the human level.  Simply create a standard convention, such as @ACMEPresident or @ACMEstaff_John or @ACMEstaff_Jane.  Refer back to #2 for additional strategies on how to overcome @ACME Association syndrome.  SM

July 9, 2009 at 7:20 pm 3 comments

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